Movie Monday: Did You See and Agree?
It’s Monday! I saw a movie! Let’s discuss.
I’m getting ready to start my writing for the day and wanted to grease the wheels a bit. It’s kind of like doing Fingerpower and running my scales before practicing my piano pieces. Also, I used to talk about movies occasionally on my old blogs back in the day (the mid-aughts). Mr. Roger Ebert and I agreed most of the time. I called him my movie soulmate. I’ve been lost without his guidance and have sat through many a crappy flick… But I’ll soldier on.
Today! I’m offering Movie Monday. In an effort to at least have a clue what some people are talking about (albeit months later), I re-signed up for Netflix. That’s right, I’m Netflixing again. No, I don’t stream. I’m old school — one DVD at a time. So far, I’ve watched a few Oscar contenders from this past year. Let’s review:
First, there was Boyhood, a movie for which I had high hopes that were quickly dashed. I still hadn’t forgiven Richard Linklater for the real-life-like topper Before Midnight on the fantastically romantic Before Sunrise and Before Sunset trilogy. After Boyhood, he has one more strike before he’s out.
Follow the same cast and the same boy for 12 years, shooting a week a year until it’s done. Cool concept. And normally, I love his way of showing simple moments, conversations, the space in between, the passage of time. Speaking of time passing, is it over yet? The movie is almost 3 hours long; unfortunately, it felt like 12 years. It also felt like every other movie about growing up as a boy with all the typical cliches. Show me the story that ISN’T about that same kid and I’ll be impressed. Surely, not EVERY boy grows up the exact same way.
Then there was Birdman, the best movie ever, according to some critics. Was it good? Yes. The best ever? No. Some people I know didn’t even get that it was supposed to look like it was shot in one take, so if your concept was really important, Mr. Director, you may have missed the mark a bit. Michael Keaton was awesome. I just didn’t really care for the story, which was somewhat mediocre and has been told a zillion times. Are we in his head? Is this really happening? Point of view, schmoint of view. And I’m getting tired of meta — you know, a movie tells a story about making a movie, the play within the play, etc. Somebody! quick! Just tell me a good story without that or a gimmick!
I decided to get off the Oscar train and checked out Chef, an indie flick that was lauded by critics and features a food truck, which is all the rage these days. Cute teddy bear Jon Favreau gets crushed on by Scarlett Johansson AND is the ex-husband of Sofia Vergara because, sure. Pretty food pics, though, but I can see that in Neil Patrick Harris’ Twitter feed. The story: bad father/husband finally does what he loves and stops being a d*ck. Boring.
I’m back to Oscar contenders with my next-up flick: Whiplash. It features the long-laboring-before-being-recognized J.K. Simmons, who I’ve loved in many things. I hope this movie knocks my socks off. Or maybe I’ll have to consider knocking off my Netflix subscription again.
For Ebert’s sake, aren’t there any more really GREAT movies?
OH! I almost forgot. Nerd alert! You can watch movies FREE through Hoopla. I saw Welcome to Me THE DAY IT OPENED IN THEATERS on my computer. Behold the power of my library card! Seriously! I put in my card info and the movie streamed for free. I was happy, too — if I had paid $14, I would have been a wee bit miffed. It was good, but not great. It was sad. I’ve heard it described as a dark comedy. It had comedic moments, but I wouldn’t call it that — it was more dark than funny. But I applaud anything that tries to tell a unique story. This did that. And the cast was chock-full o’ talented people. So check it out… literally… through your library, fo’ free! (Click here: Welcome to Me. You’re welcome!)