Monday, July 19, 2010

Movie Mondays

Still going with the 2010 Oscar nominees. Tonight we watched District 9. Well...okay, we watched about 20-25 minutes of it. I was surprised I even made it that far. I really don't do aliens. My mother didn't even make it all 25 minutes, opting instead to "rest her eyes" (read: sleep). Dad probably could have kept going, but he's leaving for Japan tomorrow and they'll probably offer it on the plane and he can watch it there without my probably uninvited commentary.

Keeping with the Oscar theme, I have a lifetime goal of watching all the films that have ever been nominated for one of the BIG SIX awards (best picture, lead and supporting actor,/actress and director), preferably in chronological order from the beginning of the Oscars to the present. Well, I say all but I left out the first two years or so since I have a hard time making it through a silent movie. And there are a lot from the early 30s that are hard to find and I'm not going to go out of my way to look for them (which is probably good...when I talk to my Dad about this project he tells me I need a hobby). I kind of started this project a few years ago and so far I watched 6 (you're super impressed, right?). And by I've watched 6, I mean a STARTED watching six. I've only finished watching 3. Today's movie Arrowsmith, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis, was one of the ones I finished. And I have to say I liked it. Arrowsmith is a man with potential to become a great medical researcher, but puts his dream on hold when he falls in love and decides to get married. After several years as a country physician, he is given another chance to follow his dream as a medical researcher. After creating a serum that could possibly destroy any bacteria, he is sent to the West Indies to combat a breakout of bubonic plague, but while there he is met with ethical dilemmas. Should he treat his patients and conduct his experiments in the name of science or humanity? I think the novel it's based on takes a much more critical look at the medical profession of the time, looking for quick results and breakthroughs and publicity, but the movie only touches on that a little. There's also a lot more to Arrowsmith's character I believe. But still, I found the movie to be enjoyable. And it's significant in that it's the first American movie to feature a black character with a college degree and who wasn't characterized as a 1930s stereotypical African American (no tap dancing, poor speaking skills, etc).

Earlier in the week, continuing with the sports movie theme of last weeks A League of Their Own, Dad and I watched Pride of the Yankees. I have a hard time thinking of this movie without thinking of that Friends episode where Phoebe is watching movies she never realized were sad. "Pride of the Yankees? I thought yea, Yankee pride and then BAM! Lou Gehrig's disease." And then Richard's response, "They guy was Lou Gehrig. Didn't you kind of see that coming?" Classic. Anyway...I know this is supposed to be a classic tearjerker sports movie, but to be totally honest, it never really felt all that moving. Lou Gehrig kind of came off as a goober, even though he made a great good-bye speech. Too often conversation in movies from this time period comes across as a little unnatural, so it's hard to really get an emotional connection with anyone. I did really like Papa Gehrig. My biggest reaction to the movie was thinking the bracelet he gave his wife for their fourth anniversary, made up of medals he'd won throughout the years was kind of heinous. And then I felt bad when I realized the bracelet they used in the movie was the actual one he gave his wife and is now in the baseball hall of fame.

Knowing me to be a secret lover of all things 80s (I am an 80s baby after all), my sister the librarian brought Footloose home from the library the other day. Somehow this was a movie I had yet to see. I know, all of you are thinking JUMP BACK. But it's true. Somehow Footloose had evaded me. The situation now rectified, I'm pretty sure it's my new favorite movie. Sure it's a little far fetched and a little dated and a little campy, but sometime that is what makes a really excellent movie. And did you know it almost starred Rob Lowe instead of Kevin Bacon? Yeah, had that actually happened I'm pretty sure I would have seen this movie long ago.

And the last movie from the past week, The Greatest. It was a little independent movie from last year about an 18 year old girl who shows up at the home of two grieving parents 3 months pregnant from the one
night she spent with their son. The night he died. It's funny...had I read this synopsis for a book as opposed to a movie there's absolutely no way I would have read it. I don't do grief books. Too often I find them melodramatic and saccharine and a bit cliche. Not to say that all books dealing with grief should be characterized that way, but for me they don't connect and so I tend to stay away from them. That being said, movies that deal with grief I can often get behind. I don't know what it is about the different mediums. Maybe the fact that I can see their pain and despair in the tiny movements of their faces and in their unsaid words instead of the sometimes overwrought descriptions of those emotions. I really liked this movie. Though dealing with a very sad topic, there was also a lot of humor. I don't like movies to be too depressing. There needs to be a bit of a bright spot, and Rose, the pregnant girl was just that. I'm beginning to think I'd watch just about anything Carey Mulligan was in. The stoner little brother was fun, too. I always like the stoner kids in movies, I don't know why (though if I think about it, perhaps the stoner high school boyfriend has something to do with that...). Anyway, good movie. Sad, but hopeful. Maybe my dad's right. Maybe I do need a hobby...

What movies have you been watching this week?

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