Movie post #1

I’ve been watching a mix of movies I own, movies you guys recommended to me, and movies loaned to me by Shannon’s coworkers. The first few are mostly ones I own, because I had to wait for Netflix to send me new stuff.

Planet Earth (Great Plains, Jungles, Shallow Seas, Seasonal Forests): This is a must-see documentary about the beauty and majesty that exists here on Earth. It’s a BBC nature program with some truly unbelievable footage. Like the fungus that infects jungle ants and then grows out of their brains. Or the sea snakes that team up with a predatory fish to eat their way through the residents of a coral reef. I’m one of those people who loves nature but is fussy about dirt and discomfort, so watching all this on TV is just about my speed. Highly recommended.

The Thomas Crown Affair: Shannon insisted I would like this, and he was right. It’s the story of an elaborate museum heist, the resulting investigation, and the dangerous romance between the criminal and the investigator. Very neat plot, and as a lover of fine art, it appealed to my interests. I was moderately annoyed by the oversexed female investigator, but I liked the story enough to tolerate that. (The thing is, I’m okay with the occasional oversexed female character. There are women like this. But what annoys the crap out of me is that this sort of woman is terribly over-represented in Hollywood, along with the dumb blonde and the nagging wife. Anytime I see a female stereotype in a movie, I feel hostile towards it: will this movie justify the use of this stereotype? In the Thomas Crown Affair, it did. In most movies, it’s just that no one bothered to give her a personality. So I’m hyper-sensitive about this, like a wound that keeps getting poked at. End rant.)

The Triplets of Belleville: A grandmother searches for her lost bicycle-riding son and has adventures in the big city of Belleville. I re-watched this one, since so many people recommended it, and I had it handy. I did like it more the second time, but still found it kind of slow. The art is gorgeous and I love the weirdness, but overall I’m just too annoyed that the story isn’t what I hoped for–the tale of the boy escaping his overbearing grandmother.

The Simpsons Movie: Homer screws up and nearly dooms Springfield. You know, like usual. I picked this up because I loved it in the theatre, and it definitely holds up to re-watching. Completely hysterical. I particularly like that Maggie gets to be a hero (twice) since she’s one of my favorites. I wish Lisa’s role hadn’t felt so much like a side-plot. But still, a great movie. I can’t even pick out the best part because it’s all so good.

The Jane Austen Book Club: Another one I saw in the theatre, and it also holds up well to re-watching. Six Calilfornia women form a book club to discuss Jane Austen’s novels, and their real lives end up paralleling the novels in fascinating ways. It’s about the power of love to conquer anything, both in Jane’s time and our own, and the timelessness of literature. One of the things I like best about the story is that Prudie, who is the sort of character who tends to annoy people, is given a very sympathetic background that makes you cry for her. It justifies all her weird annoying habits and you just feel sorry for the poor girl, and then delighted when she finds happiness in the end.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure: I’d never seen this, or anything with Pee-Wee. I was kind of surprised at how much I liked it. Pee-Wee is looking for his stolen bicycle and has adventures. Cheesy, sure, but Pee-Wee is so happy and takes such delight in everything around him. When he was wandering around his house, playing with various things, he just looked so excited and pleased about every little thing. I could really relate to that. It made me want to dance on sidewalks and make faces out of my dinner, like I did when I was a kid (and still do…) Plus, the crazy car chase at the end was awesome. Complete with Santa’s sleigh and large monster…

The Secret of Roan Inish: This is one of the best movies I’ve seen this week. You guys were right that it has just about everything I’m looking for. A young Irish girl discovers the truth about her family’s ancestral home and the selkies that live nearby. It was sweet, delightful, and all-around a wonderful film. I did have to wonder about her little brother, who’s lived with the selkies since he was a baby. They recover him, and I just have to think that this kid’s therapy bills are going to be really high. Plus, I wondered why on earth the family would set his cradle down at the water’s edge? Isn’t that just begging for selkie-stealing shenanigans? Anyway, it was still a great movie, and I highly recommend this one.

More movies to come.

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