I basically did nothing but sit and watch movies today. Not supposed to write today, so that’s not a problem.
I still wish I could get to the point whereby I can just shut society down and write my book. Not know there is a new Jim Carrey movie. Or, more importantly, not care.
But, on some level right now, movies are a solace. (Hmm, apartment building just shook, minor earthquake? Will have to check the earthquake site and find out later). Anyway, movies are the only event in my life right now whereby I don’t think about my book.
At work, concerts, theater, pretty much everything else I do, the book is churning around subconsciously. I know it is there.
Usually on Saturdays I catch an early matinee, and occassionally, a double feature (without paying for the second movie, of course). When I refer to the movies, I often tell family or friends that I like the $3.50 matinees (since I pay $7 and see two movies).
But today, I really had no plans, and things just sort of lined up. I put in a full workday at the theater.
Starting at 10 a.m., and ending at about 5 p.m., I saw (in order) Bruce Almighty, Down With Love, The In-Laws, and Xmen 2. My first $1.75 matinees.
Sad enough, but then I was considering buying a ticket for the sneak preview of The Italian Job at 8 on the way out, but thankfully it was sold out. Of course, what do I do tonight? Watch Adaptation, rented from Netflix.
Sad to say, but the best movie all day was Adaptation. Of course, how could I not fall in love with a flick about a self-deprecating writer who thinks he is unable to write anything worthwhile? Hell, I’ve even taken Robert McKee’s story seminar, which is featued in the movie.
So, a quick run-down on what I disliked about the other movies. I swear, I would have loved all of these more a few months back. I have flipped some story switch in my head now, and when movies don’t add up, I find them unsatisfying. It can be the simplest thing, but now I’m like, “Bullshit,” and it can sink my opinion of a whole movie.
Bruce Almighty: The premise is clear. Jim Carrey becomes God, and his miracles are making his girlfriend’s breasts bigger, smiting people who have wronged him, and using his powers to put him (as a TV news reporter) right at the scene where amazing things happen all the time. I guess my biggest problem with the movie was the character arc. I can see Jim as a self-obsessed, egocentric TV guy just fine. But, there is never any change once he becomes God. He uses his power to help himself. Yeah, he slowly realizes he can do good with his power and blahblahblah, but I just couldn’t fathom anyone remaining that self-absorbed throughout such a story. And the big payoff, the a-ha moment towards the end, where he realizes how he has acted throughout his relationship with Jennifer Aniston, it makes you wonder what God sees in him to give him this power if he’s so clueless about the main interpersonal relationship in his own life.
Down With Love: I joined this movie 5-10 minutes late, as is sometimes required at the $1.75 matinee. But, basically, this movie is having so much fun making you think of other movies that it never really stands as much of a movie on its own. I am a big fan of the Rock Hudson/Doris Day sex comedies. I have Pillow Talk on DVD and all. Love that stuff. But it seemed like they were so focused with playing on those conventions that we never got to the point where they broke free and told a new, interesting story. The movie looks great, Ewan McGregor is a delight (as always), the dialogue is fun, and the movie does try to shake it up toward the end, as the characters do a bit of turnaround that was clever. I don’t think Renee Zellwegger had the presence for this part, but then again, who could stand up to a Doris Day comparison in a movie like this? If anything, though, I think it made me want to rent more old movies of this ilk, moreso than this new version.
The In-Laws: Loved the original, as I’ve always had a fondness for Peter Falk. Must be embracing my inner curmudgeon, or something. Anyway, this remake is just stale. I haven’t seen the original in ages, but it just seemed like the new version had a lot of flaws. I’ve never done any international travel, but Michael Douglas seems to go from the Czech Republic to Nova Scotia to New York (or whatever city the main action takes place, can’t recall) in a day. Then, he and Albert Brooks fly to France and back, again, under a day. But the big thing, and perhaps Alan Arkin was the same in the original, can’t remember, but the Albert Brooks character is seemingly in mortal danger, and he never gets past being incredulous that Michael Douglas is a bad father and not someone he’d like to have as part of his family. There is also a section where Albert Brooks and a “gay” warlord share special moments, and it just seemed dated to play to the gay nonsense, like it was worse that this guy might be interested in him than the fact that he also wants to kill them. And, the movie is tagged with a line, as the gay warlord is being carted away, that he’ll probably enjoy prison. I’ve really just had a problem with the whole prison/gay sex issue, so not a big fan or that being funny. Like people insinuating that someone going to prison will have to endure something much worse than the solitude of incarceration, they may get to be somebody’s bitch, and endure the worst possible thing ever, sex with another man. I mean, it would technically be rape in prison, in most instances. So, the whole rape angle, blurred with the gay angle, blurred with the sex with a man being the worst thing ever angle, just seems so played out. And if you are thinking things like this at the end of a comedy… not quite successful, is it?
XMen 2: I had been deliberating about seeing this, and actually didn’t intend to, but it had started 15 minutes earlier than when i was walking by, and they show like 10 minutes of trailers there, so I figured i didn’t miss much. In fact, I didn’t see the scene when Alan Cumming goes through the White House, which i’ve seen in previews, so that must start the film. My deliberation was about not particularly liking the first film. It just seemed loaded with so much exposition, and tons of characters all with one power, and ultimately the takeaway was “who cares?” I had been told, repeatedly, that this movie was better than the first, but that represented such a low bar for comparison that I figured I’d see it on DVD. I will concede this is, in fact, better than the first one. But, I’m still on the side of, “but who cares?” And yes, I know Bryan Singer is gay, and there is a whole mutants = gays subtext, and there were some hot guys in it. I’m still not buying it. I seem to have an aversion to comic books, and nearly every movie based on a comic book. So few are done wel. Didn’t like Spider Man, Daredevil, and the list goes on and on… much like Lord of the Rings, I will not be following the cinematic exploits of the X-men after sitting through what was amusing, but ultimately nsatisfying, twice…
So, there you have it, in case anyone else is planning their own $1.75 matinees in the near future.
(Postscript: Entertainment Weekly asked the same questions about the gay subplot. Good to see I’m not being an overly hyper-sensitive fag about things)