Oct 18 2010

Movies – My New Drug

Published by at 11:47 pm under Entertainment

Well, ok. So “New” might be a bit misleading. I’ve always liked movies. I’ve had an affinity for the performing arts since I was first exposed to them. I had fallen a bit away from them the last few years only watching them occasionally. I have recently started going through movies at a pretty good pace again though which brings me to this post.

If this is truly my new drug, then my old drug was poker. While I still like to take a hit from the old vice, right now I don’t seem to find the time or the mental concentration needed to do what I did in previous years. I needed to find something to fill my entertainment void.

To push this along, a few weeks ago I finally broke down and started a netflix subscription that I’ve been wanting to do for some time now. The wife got a month free offer and gave the ok. It’s ok. Laugh. I know you have to get permission from your wives too. To go along with that and to find stuff to populate my queue with some decent movies, I decided to start a quest of sorts. I set a goal to watch the 50 top rated movies on imdb. I wasn’t going to go back and watch the ones I had seen, but there were plenty of movies that were before my time that I never had the opportunity to watch. How can you go wrong with movies highly rated by millions of random internet users? Don’t answer that.

So for the rest of this post I wanted to list a few of the movies I’ve watched over the last month and a half. I might be missing some, but these are the ones I can recall. This is gonna get a bit longer than most of my post and I don’t typically like wordy posts myself, but I’m just writing this. I don’t have to read it, so fuck it.

The Professional
Amy got this one for me off of one of her trading sites. It also happens to meet my “Top 50″ criteria being ranked 34th overall (as I write this, obviously). While this falls well within range of movies I had an opportunity to see, it somehow fell through the cracks. Breakdown is a Pre Queen Amidala, Natalie Portman, plays a teen whose family gets killed and gets taken in by her assassin neighbor. He becomes attached to her and starts training her to avenge the death of the only family member she cared for, her brother. It has a lot of interesting characters even though the story follows a fairly predictable line, I don’t think it should be in the top 50. The huge shining point of this movie is Gary Oldman’s performance as the villain. When doesn’t Oldman give stealing performances as the villain? This one is no exception.

Law Abiding Citizen
This movie sat on my shelf for a while. I wasn’t super keen to watch it expecting it to be a poorly made letdown. It ended up being quite the opposite for me. This was probably the best suspense/action movie I have seen this year. Possibly it was due to my low expectations setting my sights low and I’m giving it more credit than I normally would, but I don’t think so. The characters were interesting and the story kept me watching.

Blade Runner
While this didn’t quite make it on the list of the “Top 50″, it is one of the biggest critically acclaimed sci-fi movies. It’s been on my to watch list for some time, but has een out of my grasp for a long time. Thi.s is very much the same as The Professional that I think I expected more from it due to its reputation. To be honest with you, I spent a good deal of time thinking “Finkle is Einhorn”.

Casino Royale
Ok. I feel the need to divulge some info here. I’m not a Bond fan. Something about the arrogant nature of the characters just turns me off from the whole series. Daniel Craig seems to be one of the worst for me. I made it through this movie and it felt more like a chore. Something I needed to live through instead of something I wanted to do. I will still likely wade through Quantum of Solace just as I did here. I might even go back and watch the original ’66 version of Casino Royale. I have a feeling I might like the original better.

Hot Tub Time Machine
This movie was profane, perverse and quite possibly the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time. We had some friends over to watch it with us and I pretty much laughed the whole way through it. The story isn’t all that awesome and the acting wasn’t spectacular but just like the Seth Rogen movies, it doesn’t matter. Cause it was just a fun and funny movie. I fully expect many of you to stop reading now after I dissed Bond and liked this gem.

The Wrestler
Who can hate Mickey Rourke as a washed up wrestler who refuses to give up his on his image of what he was and tries to reclaim it. Even as the realization of where he is in his life and where he’s headed hits him, he still hangs on to the life he knows and loves. It’s an easy story to relate to and Mickey plays the role perfectly.

Into The Wild
I tried for a while to find time to watch this movie as it sat on my shelf. R rated movies that are over 2 hours long get to be difficult for me to work into kid free time. It’s a biographical story of a recent university grad who gives up his life and family to live without possessions and just try to experience life. I’m going to be honest here and say that it really feels like this story was set up by his family to tell an enlightening story of a young man trying to find his place in the world. I don’t buy it though. Come on, a 16 year old who you are interested in throws her self at you and just say “Hey, maybe some other time”? No one who has so much anger and angst for society and his family is going to do that. Fail.

King of Kong
I like documentaries and that’s one thing that netflix is really going to help me scratch my itch for. King of Kong is the story of an unemployed engineer who pursues a goal of eclipsing the world record score for Donkey Kong and the arrogant tool who owns the record and how he handles it. I started watching this thinking it would be a fun movie to watch and that fun perspective changes halfway through as you start cheering for the challenger and the trials he goes through to eclipse the current record.

Up Syndrome
This was a short documentary that I thought could be promising. It wasn’t. It really ended up being just some home video of the documentarian’s home video of his child hood friend who had down syndrome. It seems to try and get people to recognize how people with down syndrome are just like every one else. I’ve seen enough after school specials to get that message already. I fell asleep during this one. Maybe I missed some great redeeming moment in this movie due to that. I doubt it though.

What’s a documentary without a message? Babies. Kind of like Up Syndrome, this really only tried to show very un-extraordinary people (or babies, in this case). Unlike Up Syndrome though, this one pulls it off. It follows the first year of life of 4 babies growing up in different cultures and how they are the same and different as they develop. I think just seeing different cultures makes this one interesting since I have to say I was the least interested in the San Francisco baby than the other 3. It’s either that or babies make better subjects than down syndrome teens. (That was a joke, BTW so save your hate mail and direct your angry keys some other direction)

Rock School
Guess what? Another documentary. I told you I ate this shit up. Amy is convinced this is the school the Jack Black movie “School of Rock” is based off of. It might be true. I’m not gonna waste my time trying to figure that out for the 8 people who are gonna read this post though. You know how to use google. I’ll leave that to you. This is the story of some elitist teacher who wants his students to be awesome and play music, in how he feels, is the right way. And do it well. You hear stories all the time about successful kids who are aggressively pushed by some teacher, possibly too far, but to great ends. This is that story. It’s not awesome, although some of these kids really do some awe inspiring things, but it’s absolutely worth seeing.

District 9
District 9 will have to be the most polarizing movie I’ve seen in quite a while. Just by watching it I can tell there will be tons of people who will love it and tons that will hate it. And I’m not talking in the same way that people love/hate “Highschool Musical”. People hate that cause they think it’s crap (they might be right, I want to disclose I haven’t seen it). This is a love/hate type movie because it will make you be emotionally invested one way or another. Which side you fall on will determine if you like it or not. If you can find a way to sympathize with the aliens, I would take bets that you would like it. I liked it.

Sherlock Holmes
This is probably the biggest, recent blockbuster on this list so I won’t spend much time on it. I thought it was good and look forward to the sequel. I am quickly becoming a pretty big Robert Downey, Jr fan as I think he’s turning a lot of typical roles into really interesting characters. I like that.

Liam Neeson plays a semi-retired special forces agent who is trying to make up for lost time and connecting with his daughter who coincidentally (really is a coincidence in the story) kidnapped despite the precautions her father tries to take. If I had the choice between this and Bond, I would take this hands down each and every time. Probably the best action film on this list which is saying quite a bit for as much as I liked “Law Abiding Citizen”. Unlike that movie, though, I had high hopes for this one and was glad to see it lived up.

King Corn
After watching this, I don’t think Amy will allow any soft drinks in the house for at least 6 months. This is one of those “We have a message” type documentaries. Essentially saying our use of corn in, well, everything to make for cheap food is slowly killing us. Are they right? Possibly. It’s always difficult to tell how much is selectively shown to make a point in these types of shows. Either way it’s interesting and has a lot of food for thought (see what I did there? Pretty corny, huh?)

The Social Network
I don’t see movies in the theater very often any more. We went this last weekend and it boiled down to this and Red. This won. It’s a biographical movie (yes, that’s totally different than a documentary) about the rise of Facebook and it’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg. It really seems like the movie creators really tried to make everyone in the world be witty, sarcastic tools. Everyone form Mark (repeatedly) to the President of Harvard are all getting their jabs in. They are actually funny at times, but it got to be a bit over the top. I will say I’m not an authority on Mr. Zuckerberg only having heard and read stories as things come up but I have to say is that he really does seem to come across as an arrogant douchebag. This movie does nothing to try and soften that image of him up. Maybe it’s accurate. I don’t know. I do know that if this wasn’t a biographical movie and was written as a work of fiction, I wouldn’t have liked it any less.

So there you have it. Roughly my month and a half in movies and just over 2000 words. Next time I do this, I’ll try not to cram so much into 1 post. I’m hoping to do this once a week so I have a prayer of remembering all the stuff I went through.

Good night.


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