17 August 2011

Movie Challenge Day 5 - A Film That Reminds You of Someone: Some Kind of Wonderful

OK a little behind on blog posts; the weekend was a little hectic. The one's I missed were Day 3- A Film You Watch to Feel Good (Rocky III) and Day 3- A Film You Watch to Feel Down (Old Yeller). Rocky III rather than I or II becuase it was the first I ever saw in the cinema; Rocky IV with the Soviets run close for that one. Old Yeller, is of course, the classic "sad" movie. But on with today.

Some Kind of Wonderful. Full movie in the above link.

This is a John Hughes high school movie, one that frequently gets overlooked because it came out in 1987 after a whole series of these movies. It follows the same basic plot of all of Hughes's movie. Basically, a lovestruck outsider who wants a popular person in school; typical romantic high school movie. However, the twist is a that this time, the outsider is a guy going after a girl. Essentially, it's Pretty in Pink with the sexes switched. 

Actually, it's a pretty good movie. If anyone wants to remember the 1980's, this is essentially the film to go for. The music, the clothing, the cliques, etc. It reminds me of high school (I graduated in 1988). And this brings me to the reason for my choice. 

This film doesn't remind me of any one person, but it does remind me of my friends in high school and the way everything was: the "romantic" crises, hanging out at Monaco's, detention, the clothes. It's just very nostalgic for me. Feel free to check this one out; it's really quite good and fun.

13 August 2011

Movie Challenge Day 2

Day 2. Your Least Favorite Film. The Good German. 

This one took some thought. But this is what finally popped out for me. 

I really wanted to like this film /it had a cool gimmick; it was filmed on back lot sets using vintage camera equipment in B&W just as if it were shot in 1945. It had a stellar cast: Clooney, Blanchett. The plot seemed reminiscent of an early Cold War Casablanca. But then it all fell apart.

The acting was horrible, wooden. Was I watching Portman and Christensen in Attack of the Clones trying to act romance? No, I was watching two seasoned, accomplished actors trying to act romance. There was no real chemistry, no "magic" between them. It was horrible!

What really blew it for me is the scene where the "bad guy" of the film, Tobey Maguire (!), has Clooney on the ground kicking him and whining, "I'm the bad man!" repeatedly. In what possible universe could Tobey beat up Clooney?!! Dear God, I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.

Probably what killed this movie for me is the fact that I watched on the same night that I watched Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. Those two make this one seem, well, cheap and tawdry. Well, regardless this one is my least favorite film.

12 August 2011

Movie Challenge Day 1


Ok, I've decided to do the 30 Day Movie Challenge. Each day, you're supposed a post a picture of a movie based on a list. I'm going a step farther. I'm also going to watch each movie and then blog about it. Loads of fun!

Anyway, Day 1 is "Your Favorite Movie." After thinking about it I have to go with:

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Version.

This movie sis my favorite for several reason. Peter Jackson did a great job creating Middle Earth. The locations look real, the detail is astonishing. For instance, Bag End has soot marks, not just over the mantle of the fireplace, but over the candle sconces on the walls. The clothes look worn. One of teh problem with many fantasy movies (Eragon comes to mind) is that everything looks too new, clean and unused. This is true of science fiction as well. Compare the Star Trek universe to the Aliens universe. Which one "feels" real?

PJ has hit criticism for two things that stand out to me in the movie. first, Tom Bombadil is gone. I can understand why, though; in a movie this epic, some things have to be cut otherwise, it would become unenjoyable to watch. The extended version is pushing the limits of watchability as it is. I have no problems with this deletion for that reason. It can be argued that Bombadil highlights one of the features of Middle Earth (i.e., the role of quasi-deities therein), but is it necessary? Probably not.

The other is poor Glorfindel. If you've not read the books, Glorfindel is an elf lord sent out by Elrond to find the hobbits and Strider when they are travelling between Bree and Rivendell. PJ replaced Glorflindel with Arwen. Fanbois seem to take this personally for some reason. First of all, the romance of Aragorn and Arwen is covered in the appendices of LotR. However, added that to the screen broadened the appeal to a wider audience. Heck, even the Bakshi cartoon in the 1970's replaced poor Glorfindel with Legolas.

On to other things. Fellowship is the perfect D&D movie, in my opinion. There is a quest, a dungeon crawl, a big fight. The fight in Balin's tomb reminds me of how chaotic our dungeon crawl melees are supposed to be. We have to pause and go round by round; in reality, that confused melee is what it looks like to the characters: a vicious struggle for life and death.

What really makes this movie King for me is the feelings that it produces. The idea of teh shire, a place where hobbits live in safety and harmony, the children chasing Gandalf shouting for fireworks, the sadness of the Fellowship after Gandlaf "dies," the noble sacrifice and honor shown by all...it all evokes a certain sentimentality in me. I have long believed that this movie was so successful because of 9-11. At the time, our country had suffered a tremendous tragedy and the movie spoke to us about honor and sacrifice. it resonated with us.

I didn't include the entire trilogy in this, and not because I didn't want to watch them all in one sitting, either! The other movies are good, but...PJ starts to diverge from the source more. We get Legolas riding a shield down stairs in Helm's Deep like it';s a boogie board, shooting the arrows the whole way. The battle scenes become even more over the top. the message remains the same, but it gets a touch more Hollywood.

Well, that's all for now, kids. Tomorrow is "the Movie You like the Least." Until then!