Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Netflix Shenanigans

It’s been a long time since one of these posts, and I’m afraid I got terribly behind. Luckily, most of my Netflix movies have been trash, so no big loss. However! This past weekend, a weekend in which I did almost nothing except watch movies, listen to music, pack boxes, and otherwise lounge around in my pajamas, I watched three gems.

Good Will Hunting

No, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen Good Will Hunting, but it has been awhile. I needed the refresher, though… It reminded me how great Matt Damon is. It reinforced the idea that Matt Damon is infinitely better at everything than Ben Affleck. And finally, it made me wonder why Robin Williams hasn’t been all that great in anything since. Oh, and Minnie Driver is seriously under-rated. I can’t say the movie is perfect – I have serious problems with the ending – as in, Oh, so he has one breakdown/breakthrough in therapy and now he’s fine? Yeah, right… - but there are just enough great moments that I’m left with some very moving, and very satisfying, memories. My favorite is the big speech Robin Williams hands to Matt Damon right after their first meeting. I mean, he’s basically saying, “You don’t know me. You’re not better than me or anyone else. You’re kind of a prick,” but it comes across like a tough-love sucker-punch. I kind of wanted to snap my fingers and flip my weave afterwards, but I’m not nearly as classy as Robin Williams.

5 Stars


After seeing Juno and loving it, I thought this movie would be a fun little nugget which is kind of in the same vein. Waitress stars Keri Russell as Jenna, a down-on-her-luck, emotionally abused, doormat of a diner waitress, who just happens to be an amazing pie maker. She has dreams of competing in and winning the Annual Pie Bakeoff, but her awful husband won’t let her because it’s in another county. She’s surrounded by odd, neurotic characters, all of whom clearly love her, but are obviously just as screwed up. She has dreams of making her great escape a la Sleeping with the Enemy, but just when she thinks she’s got the guts to go through with it, she finds out she’s pregnant. Whether or not she will carry the baby is never a question, but she still has to deal with her feelings of guilt and resentment towards this baby who ruined all her plans.

This movie is just like a piece of apple pie. It’s sweet and that’s pretty much it. Though, sometimes, that’s just what I want, you know? This apple pie comes with lots of extras, too. Nathan Fillion (drools) as the strangely sexy OB/GYN, Andy Griffith as the cranky old restaurant patron with the heart of gold, and Cheryl Hines as the gum-chomping mother hen with the majority of the one liners. And Jeremy Sisto is delightfully gross as Keri’s snake of a husband.

4.5 Stars

Gorillas in the Mist

I remember seeing this way, way back in the day, and being so in love with it. I may have even read a watered down biography of Dian Fossey as a follow-up. Well, I think my tastes have changed. While Dian Fossey’s story is definitely fascinating, and Sigourney Weaver is intoxicating, this movie comes across very Made-for-TV to me now. There’s so much melodrama, it’s like watching a soap opera, and I doubt that tone would be considered appropriate today. After watching the movie, I can’t say I understood any of Dian Fossey’s motivations, and since I do know a little bit about her life, I’d say the fault has to be with the writing and editing. I mean, clearly she was a little off her rocker towards the end of her life, an understandable state considering her probable lung cancer, lack of interaction with her peers, and the systematic annihilation of her second family, the gorillas, but the movie doesn’t address that downward spiral. Instead, we get a series of scenes packed closely together, in the first of which she’s acting normal, and the last in which she’s a raving lunatic. How about a little process?

All of that aside, I’m attached to the story. She and National Geographic are credited with saving the gorillas, and deservedly so. Maybe one day, another studio will do this story justice.

3 Stars

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