Secret Pop

Nov 11, 2007

Neverending Stories

I have kept my working self company these past few days with movie after movie after movie. A visit to the theater to be disappointed by Eric Idle's writing but impressed with his friends' performances. Then more movies. And then some syndicated crime dramas.

Marie Antoinette - I disliked it so much, I stopped watching a short time after the coronation. The storytelling is just so juvenile. And Jason Schwartzman's performance is absurd.

Glory Road - For a non-sports nut like myself, it's surprising how easily I get sucked in by these true-life stories of underdogs going the distance. But I still wonder why Jon Voight has turned into Lon Chaney like he has. He must really like having prosthetics made for his nose and ears. It's fascinating.

Blood Diamond - I didn't like it all that much. It wasn't TERRIBLE, but it wasn't all that great. And it definitely felt like a movie with all the conveniences of storytelling timing. Like the gun-toting boy soldiers arriving in truck caravans every single time Leonardo di Caprio and/or Djimon Hounsou are found standing on a road somewhere and shooting the town to bits.

The Last King of Scotland - I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. I actually tend not to want to go to see movies where everyone looks sweaty and miserable or incredibly dirty. Hideous Kinky may be a fine performance from Kate Winslet, but there are few things less appealing to me than watching voluntarily dirty people get their freak on. That sex scene in Enemy at the Gates gets a pass from me, because I'm sure they would rather have been clean. And frankly that scene turns me on, despite my many unreasonable rules. So anyway movies set in Africa are a hard sell no matter what. But I really liked this one. And it looks like James McAvoy is on a roll, right? There's also a fairly hot sex scene in this one, but the aftermath is rather grisly.

Hideous Kinky - See above.

Because I Said So - Oh, my god, this movie is inexcusable. No one in it deserves to find love or happiness. It makes me wonder if aliens have infiltrated our world and are going to systematically kill off our species by crippling us completely in the rites of courtship. Sure, it's the long way round, but maybe turning us into red jelly is too messy for them.

The Shawshank Redemption - After spending the past few days gnashing my teeth about how bad The Mist was, I guess I had to remind myself why Frank Darabont ever got into my good books. I watch this movie a lot. And you know me. The more I look at something, the more justification I find for picking it apart. I've already become critical of the scene in the library when Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins talk to each other through the bookshelves in this plainly choreographed dance. This time, I got a little picky about the scene when Gil Bellows is telling Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman about his former cellmate, and he's straddling a chair backwards as Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman stand in front of him, arms folded, looking on. Fake fake fake. But whatever. It suspended my disbelief for many years. That's no small feat.

The Wizard of Oz - I used to wait for this to come on TV every year. And now you can see it four times a day on TNT. I was telling Rob the other day about the cinematic loss of innocence I experienced when -- finally able to watch The Wizard of Oz recorded on Betamax from its television broadcast -- I watched it over and over and over again one summer. And one day, all of a sudden, I noticed the seam of the backdrop that Dorothy and friends would obviously skip right into if the camera kept rolling. It was a watershed moment.

A Night at the Museum - I wasn't going to watch this movie. Ever. But when it started, the Alan Silvestri score was good. So I decided to leave it on. Movies are mostly for listening anyway, when I'm working. It's a pretty stupid movie. But I don't think anyone is surprised by that.

Midnight Run - For some reason, I have no problem watching this movie again and again. It's charming to me in some way. The nitpickier me would poke many a hole in the tactics used to keep the dramatic plates spinning, but I guess if you can get away with fashioning an entire score from riffing on a single Oingo Boingo song and still make it work, I have to tip my hat.

And now Neil Patrick Harris is on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, playing a guy who lobotomizes girls by drilling holes in their skulls and pouring hot water on their brains so he can cuddle with them. What a weekend! And I only wish "weekend" began with an "n," so I could say that line the way Ray Bolger says, "Beautiful! What a n-echo!" when he raps on the chest of the Tin Man.

I still have so much work to do. I have no business telling you any of this.

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