Category Archives: Movies

Resolutions, Annie Hall, and Lincoln

Janet and I have been doing a great job with our resolutions!  I know, I know.  Janet already told me what day it is today.  We’ve gone for a walk three times so far (for a total of 8 miles toward our goal of 500 miles each this year), kept track of our eating on MyFitnessPal, thought about every dollar we’ve spent so far, and have yet to eat out: we are batting a 1000.  Now if only we can keep it up for another 362 days!

When Janet and I are driving around and we see someone out in the cold jogging or walking or something else silly, one of us always comments, ‘damn fit people’.  I always like to make fun of something that scares me or I don’t understand: it makes me feel better about myself.  So, this morning, when we were out in the 30 degree weather with our little ears and noses red and cold, I envied the people driving by in their cars.

Janet looks over at me and says, ‘you realize we are now the annoying people out walking making the drivers feel guilty.’  It was the first time I realized that other people could be having the same thoughts about me and how annoying I am!  Awww…it made me feel good about my little soon-to-be fit self.

Annie Hall

Annie Hall just finished a run at the Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle.  I first saw Annie Hall many moons ago.  It’s been so long, I can’t even remember much about it.  I do remember one thing:  the scene where Annie and Alvy are talking with their therapists, in a split screen, and they are commenting on their sex lives.  When I saw this scene, many moons ago, it was my very first time with perspective.

In the scene, Annie is asked how often she has sex.  She replies, ‘we have sex all the time…three or four times per week.’  Alvy is asked how often he has sex and he states, ‘we rarely have sex…three or four times per week.’  That scene has delighted me and made me laugh, every time I think about it, for over twenty years.

It had never crossed my mind how two people (especially a man and a woman) can have two entirely different perspectives on the exact same experience.  I thought about that scene for a long time after I saw the movie, it was very mind opening for me, and it has never failed to make me smile.

After watching it this time around, I was reminded how neurotic Woody Allen could be and I wonder if he was really like that…at least to some extent.  I loved the scene where a young Christopher Walken tells Alvy the story of how sometimes, when he’s driving at night, he has an urge to crash his car into oncoming traffic.  Mr. Walken then has the privilege of driving Alvy and Annie back home with Alvy sitting terrified in the passenger seat.

Lincoln

I used to go to the movies all the time when I was a kid.  I actually saw Star Wars several times in the movie theater and, in my teen years, went all the time with friends.  Lately, I find it easier, and definitely cheaper, to watch movies at home either through Redbox or streaming on Netflix.  There are very few movies I want to spend the time and money to actually go see in a theater.  One of these movies I really wanted to see on the big screen was Lincoln.

To say I enjoyed Lincoln is an understatement.  To say Lincoln is one of the best movies I have ever seen is not just hyperbole.  I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly enthralled by a movie, so drawn in I forgot my surroundings, so mesmerized I almost spoke to characters a few times.

Just to clarify: I am not a history major.  I have a degree in BS.  No…wait.  I have a BS in science.  I keep getting those confused.  But even I remember reading about Lincoln and the Civil War (thanks, Ken Burns) and the Emancipation Proclamation.  I went into the movie thinking I wouldn’t learn too much at the theater.  I was wrong.

SPOILER ALERT: if you have not seen the movie, stop reading!  I won’t give away any major plot points, and I can only assume you know how it ends, but I like going into a movie with as little information in my head as possible. 

I had a vague idea how hard it must have been getting the 13th amendment passed but I had no idea how Lincoln sold part of his soul for the deal.  I was shocked and proud of the fact Lincoln did indeed get the amendment passed, what with the House of Representatives as big of a nasty mess then as they are now.

I enjoyed watching the backroom deals and the underhanded shenanigans, all in the name of good mind you.  I loved watching men readjust their moral compasses to say what needed to be said, to do what needed to be done, all for the greater good.

Tommy Lee Jones is great as a piece of gristle Representative from Pennsylvania who will stop at nothing to get the amendment passed.  It’s a wonderful twist of fate how Mr. Jones goes against his own words and beliefs to do something he feels is bigger than just him…even though you can see it eating at him.

Daniel Day-Lewis is, in my opinion, the very best actor we have.  I have admired him since I saw My Left Foot, and he just jumped to the top of my favorite actor list with Lincoln.  I wasn’t just watching Mr. Day-Lewis playing Lincoln: I was watching Lincoln on the big screen.  He was funny, real, and tormented, not only about slavery, but about his own life as well.

And how on earth did Steven Spielberg manage to  tell a story, where I KNEW the ending, in such a way I still had a tremendous amount of tension built up and was relieved with the inevitable outcome?   How does that happen?  No, I’d really like to know, I’d love to write movies.

I cannot advocate for this movie enough.  Please, go see this movie.  Not only is this a vitally important movie for Americans, this is a vitally important movie for everyone.  If Lincoln, and his team of rivals, had not gotten the votes for the passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, what would the world look like today?

jenn

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Snow White and the Huntsman

I really wanted to like this movie.  I mean: I really, really wanted to like this movie.  Janet and I were so excited we went to see this on opening weekend.  We never do that; as a matter of fact, we rarely go out at all and never past 9pm.

We left the theater disappointed but not entirely sure why.  The movie had so much potential and it just never lived up to it.  Janet and I talked about this movie for weeks, maybe we built it up too high and it couldn’t possibly live up to our middle aged hysterical hype.  Spoiler Alert: if you haven’t seen this movie, and you plan to, please stop reading.

I want to talk about the characters first before the general plot.

Kristen Stewart:  I really want to like her, but I don’t.  Every time I watch her in a movie all I see is a kid who looks incredibly bored and is only acting in these silly movies because they throw a lot of money at her.  I don’t want to watch that.  I find it hard to believe Kristen Stewart’s character could entice a group of mostly men to fight and die for her.  I just didn’t feel it.

It looks like someone plucked her out of Forks and flung her into this weird mythical land because as Snow White she walks around with a look that says, “where the hell am I and why am I here?”  And, seriously, if the girls back then wore pants under those skirts, why didn’t they all tear them off?

Charlize Theron:  When I first saw Charlize in her Dior commercial I’m pretty sure I had a mini stroke.  I know I lost some brain cells.  Needless to say, I will watch anything Ms. Theron is in, she is radiant.  But even her turn as the evil Queen Ravenna left me lacking interest and utterly disappointed in the ending.

She was evil in Snow White but she wasn’t Deliciously Evil, know what I mean?  She spent way too long as a 200 year old woman.  Her vanity was a necessary part of the story, she has to ask about being the fairest, right?  But her utter psychosis about it was troubling.  And she screeches way more than anyone, man or woman, should.

Chris Hemsworth: He’s very funny as Thor, what a brute.  I thought he was a little old for Kristen’s character, is she even legal?  Every time Snow White wandered near the Huntsman, I swear I could see her shudder.  I’m not sure if he smelled, but he looked like he smelled.  Although, when Snow escaped from the castle, she didn’t look like she smelled too good, either.

Plot:   There are just a few plot points I’d like to work through.  Like, why didn’t Ravenna kill Snow right in the beginning?  That would be a boring movie, true, but to ruthlessly kill the King and then throw Snow in a cell and keep feeding her?  It would have been better if Snow had escaped as a child and spent her formative years in the woods until the mirror ratted her out to the Queen.  Then Ravenna could have sent the Huntsman out to get her.

Snow escapes from her cell a little too easily, in my opinion, but she has to escape so she can come back and take over the throne, I get it.  I’m thinking the Queen’s brother let her go because he was distracted by his haircut (who told him he looked good like that?  He should have borrowed his sister’s mirror.).

I wasn’t sure if Snow was interested in the Huntsman, or William, or that girl from the Joan Jett movie.  When William kissed her and it didn’t wake her up I thought, “wait, is the Huntsman going to kiss her?  I hope he shaves first, that will leave a face burn.”

The movie starts out dark and cold, not my favorite states, but moves into this weird fairy tale land where Bambi lives (nice rack!), flutterbys rule and plants are cotton candy.  Then it goes back to cold and dark, which to me is a little jarring.

The troll I didn’t get.  He attacks the Huntsman, knocks him out and roars his terrible roar at Snow.  Did he walk away because she was the one and only Snow White?  Or does he only like living things and didn’t discern a pulse from Kristen?  Wait!  Sometimes I like things explained to me!  The 8 dwarves…look out behind you, number 8!…I mean, 7 dwarves were funny little creatures and some of them looked vaguely familiar.

And can I just say the scene where Ravenna walks into a giant vat of milk…ewwww.

But what bugged me the most was the ending.  The Huntsman explained to Snow, earlier in the film, the importance of pushing the knife in to your opponent’s heart, keeping it there, and watching the life drain out of them.  I thought, aha!, that’s how Snow will kill the Queen, but she doesn’t!

Snow does stab Ravenna, but Ravenna pulls out the knife, crawls into a corner and dies.  No shouting, no fireworks, no evil spirits leaving her body, nothing but a little cowering in the corner.   I wanted Ravenna to fight back and make Snow work for the crown.  I was so disappointed.

I have the amazing ability to lose myself in a movie, completely lose myself, so plot and serious acting really doesn’t matter all that much, especially if there are pretty pictures floating by.  Some might say this is due to my lack of brain cells, but I’m pretty sure I just don’t like to think much.  So, when a movie seems illogical, hard to follow, or Charlize looks like a little old lady who yells a lot, I get a little disappointed.  This movie could have been great but wasn’t; I could have put the money spent at the theater in our savings account (be quiet, Budge!), but I didn’t.

jenn

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