Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Picky, Picky

Ah, the great feeling of finding an article about movies that I can simply write about instead of having to think of my own original idea. That's the good stuff. More specifically: “How We Transformed Into Nitpick Nation”, an editorial by Dalton Ross, published in Entertainment Weekly in the February 22 issue.
“HWTINN” describes that, in the past couple of decades, television has gotten way more prolific and original. America can't just go back to Father Knows Best and Three's Company for their weekly entertainment (although the latter is some great shit) because they've already seen The Sopranos and Lost (and you can never unseen Lost). We're now programmed to watch these hard-hitting dramas and others like them and pick apart everything and find flaws and then comment on message boards so that everyone else will see the flaws too.
Now while Ross focuses on television dramas such as The Following and The Walking Dead, I can't really go further into that because (1) this is a blog about movies and (2) the only TV I watch includes tight clothing and Derek Hough (well those are the only things I pay attention to anyway).

But take, for instance, the dark days of my sixth grade year of school. Before Twilight was an ill-acted movie with an annoyingly-large fan base of emotionally-unstable preteens and middle-aged women, it was just an semi-popular book among middle-schools (oh my God, sorry for all the hyphens), one of which was me. I mean, I liked the series until half-way through New Moon, when it just got so Goddamn boring that I skipped a few hundred pages and got to the part with Edward and an unconscious Bella in the Volturi's lair in Italy. As the couple is leaving, Bella notices a group of tourists coming down and it's obvious (except to twelve-year-old me because I had to reread the freaking thing like three times before I got it): the evil Italian vampires pretend to give tours to attract people whom they then kill and feed on.
Once I understood this, I couldn't get over how ridiculous it was. What? Nobody had reported a loved-one missing, gone on a trip to Europe and never come back? Left the hotel for a tour and didn't make it to breakfast the next morning? These disappearances haven't been investigated with no correlation found between them that all of the people who are missing went such after telling someone they were going on some tour in the deep depths of Italy? But then I realized that the whole freaking story was ridiculous. I mean, Twilight centers around a girl who found love with a freaking vampire and must keep his and his family's secret, along with her friend's, because oh guess what he's a wolf.

A year or so ago, Young Alec Baldwin sucked me into watching Beetlejuice. The title character lives in Netheworld, and to be summoned his name must be said three times. When he and a young girl named Lydia first meet, she asks his name but Beetlejuice is like, “I can't tell you because then you might tell your friends and they'll be running around, shouting it everywhere.” So then he goes on this whole shebang, acting out his name with charade-like gestures, until Lydia finally guesses correctly.
Like, okay? So this chick can still tell all of her friends what his name is and they can summon him themselves. Why did he have to act it out? If he's that concerned with it then maybe he just shouldn't tell people his name. But yeah, it's a movie about “a recently deceased young couple who become ghosts haunting their former home and an obnoxious, devious 'bio-exorcist' named [Beetlejuice] from the underworld who tries to scare away the new inhabitants permanently.” (Wikipedia and sorry I'm so lazy).

Ross ends his article with admitting that he “should be happy that the medium offers so many exciting alternatives” and declares that he'll “do better” with ignoring some of television's discrepancies. I say that these writers need to get their shit together and also that I should've never read Twilight.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Not So Subtle Symbolism

I think that a little bit of symbolism is a good thing. It can take a poem from, "Oh, that was a nice little poem about ducks and beetles." to "Wait, it's supposed to represent society's industrialization and current social problems whhhhhaaaaatt."
But we're not going to talk about poems here; we're going to talk about movies, some of which actually have some pretty deep symbolism (like, I haven't seen Life of Pi, but I hear there's something crazy going on with the tiger). Sometimes I think that movies take their symbolism too far, though, or actually just are really bad at making it subtle. They basically just throw these things at you so that, afterward, you feel like a ton of symbolistic babies just threw up on you. And not in a good way.

There are tons of reasons why you should watch The Departed. Like, maybe that it won Best Picture, Director (Scorsese!), and Adapted Screenplay at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Or that both Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon star in it. Basically the only negative thing about The Departed is Jack Nicholson's penis. Anyway, a short plot description would be that: Damon is a cop but really a rat for the bad guys and DiCaprio is a bad guy but really working for the cops and shit definitely goes down. At the end of the movie, in Damon's up-town, fancy new apartment, a single rat is shown running across the railing to the balcony. Yes, rats. How very subtle.
In one of the few romantic comedies I can stand to watch, Under the Tuscan Sun, the blaringly obvious symbolism makes The Departed's rat look as subtle as, well, something that's very subtle. I seriously don't have enough time to fully describe all of the symbolic things in UtTS, so here's a list:

-The old man with the flowers
-The dry/leaky/running faucet
-The Crazy Ass Bird Lady
-The renovations going on in the house
-The house itself
-The blue vase
-The “train tracks in the Alps” story

In spite of the obvious, and sometimes just ridiculous, symbolism in these movies, both got positive reviews on rottentomatoes.com (93%, The Departed; 61%, Under the Tuscan Sun).
And while the rat in the formerly mentioned basically teaches the watcher nothing, one might be able to actually get a little lesson (or twenty) out of all of the shit going on in UtTS. You know, if you're an emotionally-unstable woman looking for some guidance in your love life. The Departed can't really help you with that.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Do get the medium popcorn though you deserve it

This post contains spoilers to the 2012 movie, Django Unchained, which you really should have seen by now it's an excellent movie no excuses but I highly recommend it

“This Christmas was supposed to be all about me and Jay Gatsby. After an unfortunate turn of events, though, I figured I would just spend Christmas vacation crying in my room (you know, in between opening gifts, playing poker, and stuffing my face full of ham). Leonardo DiCaprio had another movie planned to be released this Christmas, though, and it taught me about the true meaning of Christmas.”
Is what I wrote when I thought I was going to be seeing Django Unchained before freaking March. And while I had correctly predicted how I spent my holiday break, I never finished the post (which is actually pretty good considering I was planning to somehow compare Django with another Christmas release, Les Mis, which now seems like an impossible feat and I don't know what I was thinking).
As my life would have it, I saw the strictly R-rated movie with my mother. The old lady guilted me into accompanying her to the theater to see Life of Pi, but we got there too late. And that's when I saw the show times; Django Unchained in ten minutes. It was like a holy ray of light shown down from the heavens above and led me right to the poster.


So yeah we went to the movie and I lost my Tarantino-virginity to his first (not going to actually fact-check that) Spaghetti Western. (Oh, God, should I even put Tarantino and virginity in the same sentence? Okay, I guess it's staying.)
Well, I love me some historical pieces (okay so I like, like, one Civil War movie) and also movies with genres named after my favorite food and starring my favorite actors, and this one was no different.
Once you get past all the blood (red corn syrup, anyone?) and the perhaps excessive use of the n-word (neither of which I actually thought was that bad), you get to the beautifully-scripted, excellently acted-out, and still mildly-inappropriate (did I mention the nudity?) film that got all sorts of buzz in the months since its release, and earned both Christoph Waltz and Tarantino Oscars.
If I had one complaint (which I do; just wait for it), it would be the fact that DOCTOR KING SCHULTZ TOTALLY DIES OH GOD WHY CHRISTOPH MY BABY. And also it was maybe a tad too long. Definitely not a medium-sized soda movie. Stick to the small.
But overall it was just (*sigh*) lovely.