Two posts in one day! What did you ever do to deserve this?! (I’m aware that this could be interpreted two different ways.) If you want to read about my family, scroll down or click here. If you’re here for movies…okay, then, so we’ve watched some more movies. In fact, as of this morning, we’re at 87 for the year. EIGHTY-SEVEN. Which is pretty much right on-track, but somehow I just can’t believe we’ve watched all of these. Sometimes as I’m watching one I can’t believe I’m watching it, but that’s something we can discuss more in a little while.
Firstly, I want to alert you to the fact that Joe has watched several movies on his own, and while I keep telling him he needs to write a guest-post on them, he hasn’t yet. So Lady in the Water, Scanners, and several more from further back on the list are not something I can speak to. And if you really want to hear about them, leave a comment encouraging his report. Maybe if someone besides me asks for it, he’ll get around to doing it. Because he’s got so much free time these days.
We pick up, then, with Bolt. Yes, another kids’ movie. This one was okay…pretty cute…but not the best kids’ movie we’ve seen this year. I wouldn’t buy it, let’s put it that way. But it was an enjoyable way to spend a movie evening with the kids.
Next up, that very same evening, Joe and I had an opportunity to watch a movie together (thanks, “procedure“!) and decided to watch Whatever Works. Several of you readers had suggested this one and that was a big incentive. Now…we didn’t love this movie. There were things about it that were good, and the incredibly endearing Evan Rachel Wood was tops among them. Her little country-girl-child-wife was probably the saving grace of this movie, as far as I’m concerned. But Joe and I are not big Woody Allen fans (I know, take us out back with a switch) and therefore we found the script tired old Woody Allen-fare, and Larry David was never meant to be an actor. EVER. I’m glad we watched it, as it was outside our box, but I don’t think I’d watch it again. Even for Evan Rachel Wood.
A few days later our friend Godmama Beth came for dinner and stayed after bedtime to watch a movie with us…our Redbox pick was Iron Man 2. This was awesome…I didn’t think it would be Beth’s cup of tea, but she had it in her own Netflix queue and was totally game. Yay! And…you guys…I LOVED IT. Remember when I watched Iron Man (the first one)? And how I found myself so surprised to have loved it so much? Lightning strikes twice. Or, maybe we should say Robert Downey Jr. strikes three times, and that does not make him out but very, very IN. Oh my RDJr. Whether you’re snarky Tony Stark or snarky Sherlock Holmes, my love knows no bounds. This Iron Man was made even better by Don Cheadle instead of that insufferable Terrance Howard, Scarlett Johannson, more Jon Favreau, and the Rocky IV-esque America vs. Russia theme. Hahahahaha! I do love some cheesy East vs. West tropes. And while Mickey Rourke basically just sounded like a drunk mumbler to my Russian-speaking husband (well, he knows some Russian from his high school days) he actually wasn’t too bad…for me to laugh at! Anyway, if you liked Iron Man you’d love this follow-up. More of the same. Dreamy.
This next movie left me with a feeling I alluded to above: that is, why am I watching this movie? Breaking Upwards was, in my opinion, grossly misadvertised by the summary written in its Netflix profile. I read that, thought I might like it, and began watching. It was…not good. I thought it was going to be about a couple who had broken up trying to navigate their intertwined social sphere in a mature manner after their relationship had ended. Instead it was about the slow, painful, stupid breakup itself. Not a lot of maturity or thought involved, either. You just wanted to yell at them to break up, already! Run the other direction! THIS IS DUMB! And of course, I’m sitting there wondering what the intent of this movie project is, anyway. Is it just to prove I can watch 100 movies in a year, even if they’re crappy movies like this one? Shouldn’t I have a more deliberate scope? Isn’t my time worth more that this? But don’t worry; I felt better as soon as I watched…
Elf. Yes, Elf. That holiday movie starring Will Ferrell. Now, if you haven’t seen it, I just have to ask: why not? If you’re normally not a big fan of Will Ferrell, I would say that this movie is not his standard stuff. Of course he’s goofy, but in a loveable, innocent, man-child way. Or man-elf way? If you’re worried about it being painfully schlokey, it’s not. Somehow it straddles the delicate balance of being adorable and not too saccharine. Regardless, it’s magical. I just love Christmas movies, and this was no exception. I don’t know why it had taken me so long to see it, but I am very glad that it finally came into my life. We laughed to tears several times. Oh…and this was the second movie in this post directed by Jon Favreau. So much love. Thanks for restoring my faith in the project, J.F.!
Next, at the recommendation (again) of several readers, the boys and I watched a delightful movie called My Neighbor Totoro. I cannot recommend this highly enough. It is an anime movie unlike any I’ve seen before…the animation was beyond gorgeous, in this really everyday-beauty-meets-the-fantastical sort of way. Same with the story. Two sisters move with their father to a country home and await the release of their mother from the hospital. In exploring the countryside and their new home they encounter magic. Not much “happens” in this movie…that is to say, the pacing was very slow. But the kids and I were all entranced throughout, so it was by no means boring. So grab your favorite kid (or not!) and settle in for a treat.
Then it was Halloween, and then afterwards I got all sad and couldn’t be bothered with movies for a little while. One night I got to feeling guilty that I kept watching those smutty naked Tudors instead of movies for the project, so out of my Netflix queue I randomly chose Last Chance Harvey. Starring Dustin Hoffman as a man who’s watched his life and dreams pass him by, and Emma Thompson (be still my heart) as a woman stuck under her mother’s loving but stifling thumb, this movie was beautiful. I really, really loved it. How these two meet, with their mutual past of broken dreams and loneliness, and forge a relationship is all kinds of lovely. It was life-affirming, and it reminded me of why I love movies, especially ones starring Emma Thompson. My hero.
And finally, just last night Joe and I had the chance to watch something short together (see: illness sweeping my household, with vast exhaustion in its wake!) and so we watched Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion. On our new TV! Galifianakis is probably best known as the weirdo hairy stoner brother from The Hangover. We enjoyed watching his standup. This guy is funny. Random, strange, cuss-happy, and funny. I was thinking after watching it that I should make sure I watch only funny or happy-ending-guaranteed movies for the rest of the month to get over my November blahs. It helps that we get to watch movies on this:
other than this:
for the rest of our lives. Yes, you read that right, Joe. No new TVs, ever again! Though this one is growing on me, and I haven’t even seen any 16th-century six-packs yet! Thankfully sexy-time TV programs don’t stick to historical accuracy, because Henry VIII did not look like he sported a six-pack. Also: were people back then really that unattractive, or were the painters just really terrible? Inquiring minds want to know! Until next time…don’t go Googling paintings of 16th-century aristocracy! *shudder*