I have tried to watch at least one movie from everyone who made three or more suggestions.
A Walk in the Clouds: A young Army veteran pretends to be the husband of an unwed mother, so she can introduce him to her family before he “abandons” her. Of course they fall in love, but along the way there’s a lot of great character interaction among her Hispanic grape-growing family and the difficulties of being a winemaker. It’s a little hard to explain this film. I really loved it, though–it had an authentic 40’s feel and (I think) well-researched Napa vineyard details. The movie transcended the wooden acting of Keanu Reeves, and managed to be great despite his presence. I recommend this one.
Chicken Run: This was hysterical! Led by a brave and persistent hen, a flock of chickens attempt to escape their coop before the farmer makes them into pies. My favorite part was where the heroes get thrown into the pie machine and have to fight their way out the Rube Goldberg-like crazy contraption. The pacing was really good on this movie; it never slowed down for a minute. I really dislike Mel Gibson because of his homophobic rants, but I could try to pretend it wasn’t him voicing the rooster. This is one of my favorites I’ve seen in the past week.
Futurama–Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV, Jurassic Bark, Crimes of the Hot, Teenage Mutant Leela’s Hurdles, The Why of Fry: Hey, it’s Futurama. How can it be bad? That said, I thought these episodes were a bit on the weak side for Futurama, which is to say they were just good instead of awesome. The one with Fry’s dog sitting outside the pizza parlor for twelve years made me cry, though. (It’s weird how many parallel universes appear to have happened on December 31, 1999…)
Stardust: A star falls to earth and takes human form. Many people want to possess her, either for good or evil, and so they fight over her. The ghosts of the dead princes made me laugh–I really liked the idea that they got to hang around and heckle their murderers. I thought this was a good story and well done, although much more violent than I was expecting. I liked the happy ending, of course, but the violence left me unsettled.
Some Like It Hot: Two men who witness a Mafia hit disguise themselves as female musicians to escape. It’s unfortunate that this was the next movie I chose. It’s one that Shannon’s coworker sent. There are two extremely violent scenes involving gunfire and massacre. They’re very short, and most of the film is slapstick comedy, so I can see how the movie might be viewed as “very little violence”. But since I was already on edge from Stardust, the massacres upset me very much. After the first one, I had to ask a friend who’d seen it whether I was already through the worst part (because if I was, I might as well keep going). She warned me about the second scene, so I decided to keep going and just close my eyes for that part. I did like the movie overall. I’d never seen anything with Marilyn Monroe before.
My Life in Pink: A 7-year-old transgendered kid deals with a family that doesn’t believe that she’s really a girl. (Biologically male, quite sure God made a mistake with her.) This was very moving and lovely, and I felt so bad for this poor kid. I’ve seen stories of teenage transgendered people, but never one with a child so young–but of course it happens, even as young as 4 or 5. It was both charming and heartbreaking to see the kid figure out gender issues, all filtered through a 7-year-old’s view of the world. There’s a cute scene where, after her older sister explains XX and XY chromosomes, she imagines God tossing letters down the family’s chimney, and a Y gets snagged on her chromosomes and knocks the second X into a garbage can. That’s exactly what a 7-year-old would see. I was really scared it would end sadly–but I trusted the person who recommended it wouldn’t give me a sad movie. The ending was definitely bittersweet. I loved this movie, but I really wish I hadn’t watched it when I was still upset from Some Like It Hot.
The Great Mupper Caper: After those last three, I needed something I could trust to be silly, light, and happy. Muppets were a sure win. I’d seen this movie years ago, but forgotten almost everything. The Muppets visit England and try to catch a jewel thief. The movie isn’t as good as other Muppet movies, mostly because it’s all about Miss Piggy and I really don’t like her. There’s one interminable song sequence all about her glamorous self. But still, it’s Muppets, and it’s fun. I liked the way they all knew they were in a movie and kept talking to the audience about it. For some reason, that really worked well in this movie.
More movies to come.