Movie post #4

The movies will continue until morale improves!

My Fair Lady: I knew many of the songs from this but I’d never actually seen it. Man, it was long. But I enjoyed most of it. A linguistics professor trains a flower girl to speak like an aristocrat. I usually don’t care too much about celebrities (and often don’t even notice who’s in which movies), but at the moment where Audrey Hepburn descends the stairs, dressed in her white ballgown, I realized that she was one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in the history of Hollywood. I didn’t know how much majesty was possible simply by walking a few steps. I liked all the class issues involved. The ending made me mad, because Eliza deserved better than that jerk.

Pleasantville: Two teenagers get transported through their television into a 50’s sitcom world. Their actions bring mayhem to the formerly peaceful town–bringing both positive and negative changes to the world. I thought this was a great premise, and I liked watching the black-and-white town slowly become colorized. Overall, I felt like the treatment of the idea was a lot more serious than it deserved; I thought it’d be a lighthearted film, but it got really heavy by the end. It felt like a bait-and-switch where I didn’t get the film I was expecting. It wasn’t bad, but I think a comedy would have better suited this idea.

An American in Paris:  A young painter courts a French dancer in post-war Paris.  I’m really liking Gene Kelly’s style. The 17-minute dance number at the end was fabulous.  Overall, I didn’t like it as well as “Singin’ in the Rain,” but I definitely enjoyed it anyway.

Serendipity:  Boy meets girl. They fall in love.  Instead of getting together, they decide to let fate determine whether they find each other again or go their separate ways.  It was funny and sweet, but the premise really bothered me.  Probably because I don’t believe in fate.  So when they do crazy things like say, “Let’s get in different elevators and push a random button, and see if we choose the same floor, and if so, we were meant to be” — well, that’s just silly. Because they DID push the same buttons, but one of them got stuck with a bratty kid who pushed all the buttons between there.  And by the time he got to the floor he’d picked, the girl had given up and left.  Plus, when they decide to look for each other later in the movie (while they’re engaged to other people) they both break the hearts of their current SOs by leaving them.  I didn’t think that was romantic–I thought it was crappy.  I liked that they got together in the end, of course, but since it was at the expense of their SOs, it wasn’t very satisfying.  That said, it was funny and I liked watching all the coincidences that kept forcing them back towards each other.

Futurama–Where No Fan Has Gone Before, The Sting, Bend Her, Obsoletely Fabulous:  Ah, Futurama is back in top form here.  Four great episodes.  I think The Sting is possibly one of the best episodes I’ve ever seen. It’s the one where Leela thinks Fry is dead from an alien killer bee sting, except in reality she’s the one who’s  in a coma from the sting and hallucinating everything.  It was such a romantic episode.  I wish Leela would give Fry a chance.  He’d be better for her than a lot of the guys she dates.

My Brilliant Career:  In 1897 Australia, a young girl asserts her independence and her desire to avoid marriage.  It’s sort of an Australian Anne of Green Gables.  She was wonderfully spirited and I loved her as a protagonist, but overall the plot of the story left a bit to be desired.  It felt like a string of anecdotes in her life that didn’t quite add up to a full story.  Actually, it felt more like non-fiction biography (which I think it was), which is a fine genre but not as appealing to me as a well-plotted story.  Still, a good film, and I liked seeing the time and place.

My Neighbor Totoro:  I generally don’t like Miyazaki and you all said this one might be different. You’re right–I liked this pretty well.  Two girls explore the woods near their house and meet the forest spirits.  What I liked about this movie (and where Miyazaki usually fails me) is that the girls felt like real people and they were the heroes of the movie.  Too often, I think Miyazaki makes a big deal of his female characters and how “girly” they are.  They’re either too fragile, or swooning, or sexualized, or… something.  These two girls were just right.  I really liked them and the way they interacted.  I also really loved seeing a truly happy family–with a problem, certainly, but they loved each other, and that was deeply satisfying. And of course the Cat Bus ruled.

More movies to come.

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