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Saturday, June 19, 2010


Warning: This is kind of a lame post about movies that I've seen lately because I can't sleep right now.  It may not be that exciting for you, especially if you haven't seen any of the films that I'll write about.
So a few weeks ago or more Michael somehow got DIRECTV to give us a free month or so of a movie channel (which we normally don't have), so I started recording all the movies that looked remotely interesting or just fun.  This was so great for me because we haven't been avid movie watchers since the kids came along 4 years ago!  And I used to be in the movie business!  So of course all of the movies were new to me since I haven't been to the theatre in a while.

We started watching a couple of movies that I actually worked on that went straight to video, but they sucked so bad that I just fast forwarded to the end to see my credit (or lack thereof).  I recorded a few others that were just kind of time-killers.  I normally wouldn't have watched them before because I was a film snob, but I enjoyed them when I just let them be simple (sorry, I guess that makes me still sound like a film snob).  They didn't have to make me think or wow me with amazing cinematography or beautiful acting.  They just had to make me laugh a few times and make me root for the protagonist.

Speaking of rooting for the protagonist, "Julie & Julia" didn't do that for me, that is, of course, if Julie was supposed to be the protagonist and not Julia.  She was whiny and selfish, and I hated her.  But I liked the movie overall because I like cooking and not feeling guilty about the unashamed use of butter in cooking.

I watched a couple of really good ones, too, the kind that "stay with me", as I used to say.  If a movie makes me think for more than a couple days after I see it, then it's a good movie to me.  They also reminded me of movies that Michael and I would have gone to the Angelika or Magnolia or Inwood to see before we had kids.  Now that we have to pay for a babysitter when we go out, we don't want to pay an extra hour charge for the drive time, so the good ol' AMC is what we get.  Lame, I know.

"Lemon Tree" was a good one.  It's about a Palestinian woman who owns a lemon grove passed down from her father, and the Israeli defense minister moves in next door so they order that the grove be cut down because it poses a threat to his house (terrorists and whatnot).  The lemon lady and her young lawyer take it to their supreme court to fight it.  [Spolier alert]  In the end they order that just half of the trees be cut down, and the romance that sparked between the young lawyer and older lemon tree lady went nowhere because of social pressures.  And the defense minister's wife leaves him because of his selfishness about the lemon grove.  It was great, though, because I SOOO tire of happy endings.  Sometimes you just want to see a good character study and think.  Then you can watch your romantic comedy to get your warm fuzzies.  But I loved this movie.

Another good one was "Rachel's Getting Married".  I LOVED this movie.  I thought everything about it was brilliant (with one minor exception I'll discuss in a sec).  I grew up in a dysfunctional family around a lot of addiction and substance and alcohol abuse and later 12 step programs, and that's what this movie was centered around which felt right at home for me.  Haha!  I related a lot to the characters, especially since Rachel and the main character were sisters (and I have two sisters).  The cinematography was brilliant.  It read like a home movie, catching intimate moments, long silences, and just life.  I felt like I was a fly on the wall of this real life circumstance.  And the characters actually had character!  They were so 3-dimensional and real.  The acting was natural and not self-conscious.  And I haven't read anything about the movie, but I'm almost certain a lot of it was improvised.  My ONE problem with the film was the gratuitous sex scene of the two people that just met.  Does that really happen?  It just totally broke my "willing suspension of disbelief" when I saw that.  Maybe I'm naive, but I just don't think that happens in real life much.  Does it?

Oh, and turns out that while Samuel really loves movies, too (Up, Bolt, Toy Story, etc.), I think we'll hold off on letting him watch them any more for now.  He's been obsessing about monsters and getting scared really easily.  That's probably not a good sign.  Woops!

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