Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him - After watching the "Them" version, I had really high expectations for the "Him" and "Her" versions. I've read that the separate versions are stronger entries to the story, and that the "Her" version is the strongest (I still haven't watched it. I think I need some time to pass before I give it a go). Honestly, I didn't really like the "Him" version. It was boring, and I think if I didn't watch the "Them" version, I would be confused by the story. It's jarring to only see one side of a story that is about the disintegration of a relationship. I still really like the concept, though. Plus, the story is beautiful. I like that it provided more insight; specifically, how she encouraged him to have an affair. I mean, that changes EVERYTHING! If you push someone away so many times that they actually go away, then you deserve the heartache (sorry, a bit harsh, but that's honestly how I feel). The biggest plus of all, is that there is more James McAvoy in this version (in glasses and a white t-shirt, no less. I think my heart actually stopped beating for a second).

2. They Came Together - Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd together in a movie, pretty much guarantees that I will enjoy it. I feel like they've already starred as a couple before, but I can't think of what movie. They definitely feel like a natural couple, though. This is a really smart satire of a romantic comedy. It follows the exact same plot of any movie in the genre, but consistently points out all of the ridiculous cliches. Some of my favorite moments include:
- "How do you sleep at night?" "I usually jerk off then I can sleep pretty soundly"
- "Fiction books" as the common interest that brings them together
- Picking up the lamp in the middle of their passionate encounter
- The dead body in the leaves
It's all very funny. It's also completely cynical about love and relationships, but it still remains cute. It becomes a bit silly and overdone sometimes, but it still fits in with the satire.

3. Wild - I found this movie really boring. There is some good stuff in it, but it was just such a chore to pay attention to. I don't really like Reese Witherspoon. I don't see her as the talent that she is praised for being. So, that was one of my problems, but mostly, I just don't think a movie about someone walking is all that interesting. Her backstory is even worse - just a cliche of a "hot mess". I also don't really see how hiking is a form of redemption. It's just not something I can relate to on any level. The only thing I found really interesting (and I don't even know if it is done on purpose), is the juxtaposition of the scene featuring the threat of rape and the scene where she is seen as having female privilege. It's so striking; the way she faces such a threat for simply being a woman hiking alone - it's also a very real threat. I would never hike somewhere by myself. Not because nature is unpredictable, or wild animals are dangerous, but because men rape (NOT ALL MEN). Then, just a few scenes later, she is being chastised for receiving special treatment for being a woman. I'm pretty sure any woman would forego receiving special treatment if it eradicated the threat of rape. Anyway, I also liked some of the mother/daughter stuff, and the use of that Portishead song. OH AND THE GUY FROM EVERCLEAR APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE. So random.

4. The Imitation Game - Another movie that really bored the shit out of me. I really struggled to make it through the whole thing. It's a fascinating story, so there really is no excuse. Plus, I love the show The Bletchley Circle, which is about women who worked as code-breakers (and use their knowledge and instincts to solve crime. It's awesome.), so it's not like the story doesn't interest me. It's just so straight-forward and repetitive. I'm not a huge Cumberbatch fan. He's good in every project that he's in, but my problem is that he plays the same type of character in everything (cold, stoic, anti-social, bordering on personality disorder). Also, question: Did Alan Turing have Asperger's? I guess we'll never really know, but that's what this movie implies - although it comes and goes, because the writing is shitty. And a bigger question: Why is he wearing makeup that is two times too dark for his complexion? Totally distracting. That's all I really have to say about a movie that was nominated for 8 Oscars. At least it didn't win any. Wait, what? For Best Adapted Screenplay? HAHAHAHAHA! Fucking absurd.

5. Selma - After being disappointed by both highly rated movies, Wild and The Imitation Game, I was really nervous to watch this movie. It's 100 times better than both of those movies, but I still wouldn't call it great. It's slightly better than average. I think my biggest problem is David Oyelowo, which I wasn't expecting. I just don't think he embodies Martin Luther King Jr., at all. First, he sounds like Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (this is not a good thing), second, aside from the very last speech, I felt like he lacked presence. MLK is ALL presence, charisma, a figurative "force of nature". If he was playing a fictional character, I probably would have enjoyed the performance, but he wasn't and in my eyes, he failed. I admit that biopics are not really a genre that I enjoy, because most of them bore me to tears, I appreciate that this movie starts after he is already a known and powerful figure. There are also some very powerful scenes, such as the Bloody Sunday scene, which is absolutely beautifully shot, but just so awful to watch (especially after the horrific events happening in America - a full 50 years later). The best part of the movie is definitely the song "Glory", which won the Oscar. It's so good that I watched the full credits just to hear the whole thing, although the live version during the Academy Awards was even more potent. It brought me to tears. I get chills just thinking about it.

3 Thoughts on Welcome to Me

1. The trailer vs. the movie - The only thing I knew about this movie was a little blurb in Entertainment Weekly's "Summer Movie Preview" issue. So, I knew the cast, a simple plot description, and that Bill Murray described it as "one of the strangest and boldest comedies he'd ever seen". A Bill Murray seal of approval is a pretty strong endorsement. In choosing a movie to purchase On Demand with my mother, she insisted on this movie. I explained that she probably won't like it because it's a "dark comedy" (to put it bluntly, I knew she wouldn't "get it"). She then played the preview trailer, and before it was even over, she exclaimed "YES! This is what I want to watch!". I couldn't argue with her because the trailer is edited so that it seems like a mainstream comedy. 20 minutes into the movie, and I could tell that my mom HATED it. I don't understand why they market something in such a deceiving way, because, ultimately, it just causes disappointment. Even I expected something a bit funnier - similar to Wiig's last movie, The Skeleton Twins, which handled deep, dramatic themes in a witty, sarcastic way. Welcome to Me is just depressing; bordering on unsettling and horrific. Was it good? Yes. I actually really liked it. The themes are relevant, the acting is raw and unfiltered, and the story is original. I just wish it didn't pretend to be something its not.

2. Narcissism vs. psychopathy - It's known in the movie that the main character suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. That's the whole point of the movie. But in a way, I think the movie has some deep commentary on the narcissistic behaviors within us all. It's all gone a bit too far. And it's all Oprah's fault! I'm kidding, of course, but in this movie, Alice is obsessed with the talk show queen and her only real quest in life is to have her own show to talk about, what else, herself. I admit to having conversations with my bff in college about having our "own" reality show. To us, we were the most interesting people on the planet. However, after suffering the aftermath of the reality tv explosion in which narcissism runs rampant, I just can't stomach it anymore. With the normalizing of extreme narcissism, it's hard to tell if someone is "normal" or suffering a mental disorder. I mean, to me, someone who posts 30 selfies within minutes on whatever social media site they use, is suffering from some sort of state of psychopathy. I'm glad that this movie makes a clear statement on Alice's mental state, because a movie can be made without the references to this disorder, and still be believable in this age of self-absorption that we are living in. It would be even more depressing, though.

3. Kristen Wiig vs. her co-stars - Kristen Wiig is just the fucking best. I can't get over how much I love her. She just owns this character; makes her flawed but still sort of lovable. Even at her most stable moments, you can feel her emotions being stifled, waiting to be set free. The rest of the all-star cast is a bit under-utilized and completely over-shadowed by the one-woman wrecking ball that Wiig embodies. It's almost unfair to them, which, considering the cast includes Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Joan Cusack, seems impossible.