Monday, April 21, 2008

My Thumbs Are Down

By Taft Ayers

It doesn't take a whole lot to please my tastes. Go to Blockbuster, dial up the pay-per-view, bring over the dvd (or tape) and I will give it a shot. I'm not a movie snob. I will watch pretty much anything...once.

I can do chick-flicks with my bride. I can watch "dudes that eat nails for breakfast" macho films with my boys, or Gandorfian hobbits, urban men in the barbershop, PC Load-Letter, and I can remember the Titans.

It doesn't matter if FOCUS films produced the movie (those films usually start with a crappy guitar song and completely leave me hanging at the end) or if it is an MTV production (those films usually start with jokes nobody over 40 can comprehend and are completely gratuitous in the truest sense of the word)...I can watch them.

I don't over-analyze them, and I usually look at the person that I viewed them with (or talk to myself) and say, "that wasn't so bad." However, I've recently seen four films (high volume of videos due to the fact that my wife is on bed-rest with our pregnancy, thanks for the prayers) at home and they were all sub-par.

I hope I am not getting too old. I hope that I am not being way too critical, but they all have been pretty wretched.

Here they are, feel free to tell me I'm an idiot...after all, I wantedto like them:

ATONEMENT- Yeah, say what you will, but the preview looks cool. In the movie a punk kid has a crush on a neighboring boy, who happens to love her sister. She tells a horrible lie about him committing a crime that finds him in prison, in war, and ....well, I won't blow it (wait, the movie was a waste of time, yes I will) DEAD! It tells you on the movie cover that it was nominated for 7 awards. I can't think of one that it deserved.

ENCHANTED-Should have known better. He (Patrick Dempsey) isn't cool (not even as Dr. Derek Shepherd, sorry ladies). He hasn't even been tolerable since he played that geek who paid the girl to be his "popular" girlfriend in 1987. This movie busted out in random song, totally throwing me off. I knew it was bad when I heard my wife say, a couple of times, "well, I've heard a lot of people liked it." I remember in the late 90's when a lot of dudes liked capri pants too. That means nothing.

JUNO-I'm ALWAYS up for a movie that has a great message. This one did. A teenage girl gets pregnant and does not abort the baby. Praise be! Focus on that part if you watch the movie, because her character is the greatest nerve-wracker to ever appear in a movie. She talks like she knows EVERYTHING about music and films that preceded her in life by at least 35 years (this is the youth minister in me who thinks kids like that are a complete joke). She keeps referring to the night that she got pregnant as the night that she had, "the sex"....I cringed every time.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN- My buddies told me this film was brilliant. My buddies also told me one time that jumping off the retaining wall and busting into the forward roll would make for great video. Both times, I was the idiot for listening. Just watch the first five minutes. You will think to yourself, "Wow, this is strange, I have to watch the rest to see what happens." It continues to be strange. The main characters are delusional, creepy, perverted and far from interesting.

Please tell me there are GOOD movies out there...this is going to be a long pregnancy.


Cameron Clark said...

I haven't seen a good movie in a while.

I ordered "Good Luck Chuck" and the "Assassination of Jesse James" not even a month ago and hated them both.

Beowulf was ok, but not really. I was surprised at the cartoon nudity. What was that about?

3:10 to Yuma was so disappointing.

I like the Bourne movies.

I would like to see American Gangster, I Am Legend, and The Kingdom.

There are some movie genres out there I don't understand why they make so much, like the Scary Movies, Saws, and all these Asian/Children's Book adaptations (not the Chronicles or Narnia or Lord of the Rings, but Lemony Snicket's, Stardust, Bridge to Tarabithia).

Unless I hear otherwise, I'm pretty well swearing off going to the movies unless it's The Hobbit, A Narnia Book, or Indiana Jones.

Alan Gable said...

I would veer to the right of "Gone, Baby, Gone" and "There Will be Blood" as well.

Donald TAFT Ayers said...

I love American Gangster. Language is brutal. However, Denzel usually does it for me. He definitely does in this one.

Quote of the movie, "The loudest man in the room is the weakest."

J. Canterbury said...

One of my top 5 movies of all time is this breath of fresh air called, "That Thing You Do" which was directed by Tom Hanks and, if I'm not mistaken, also written by him (He also plays a major character).

It's the story of an unlikely garage band from Erie,PA that only gets together to play a college talent show but ends up with a huge hit song on their hands.

The film takes place at the very beginning of the British Invasion during the early 1960s. It has a great cast of talented actors who actually learned to play the instruments for every song.

One of the coolest things about this picture is what it lacks...drugs, language, and sex. It really is one of those rare films that gets you hooked on the plot but keeps you in your seat because you've fallen in love with the characters.

They just don't make movies like this anymore! I highly recommend "That Thing You Do" if you haven't already seen it.

Tiffany said...

Um, okay. Well, I really liked /Atonement/, disturbing as it was. Maybe it's because I make my living as a writer, but I thought it's testament to the power of the written word, both to harm and to heal, was remarkable.

However, another movie that does this is /61*/, and you get some solid baseball, too.

Get your wife some Jane Austen flicks. That makes every lady happy. And what about the Christopher Guest mockumentary collection? /This is Spinal Tap/ are the two best /Waiting for Guffman/; /Guffman/ is, perhaps the funniest movie you will ever see if you have any connection with small town community theatre. The others /Best in Show/, /A Mighty Wind/, and /For Your Consideration/ aren't quite as top-notch, but still clever.

As far as little-known indy films go, I don't know how artsy you all are, or if you have a thing against subtitles (my dad refuses to watch anything that he has to read), but there is a French film tha came out in 2002 (I think) called /The Lady and The Duke/ and it really has some amazing visuals as it morphs between paintings and live action. I'm really not doing it justice because that sounds very lame, but it was really quite beautiful and was nominated for an Oscar or two that year.

I'm just trying to think of some off-the-beaten path movies.

Tiffany said...

Oh! And depending on your sense of humor, there is a fairly short indy film called /Fishing with Ghandi/. My husband and I laughed so hard we were BOTH crying. You've got to have an appreciation for the absurd and for "characters" in your life to really appreciate it, though. But if you do...

Donald TAFT Ayers said...

To those that have commented so far, my wife salutes you!

I'm on my way to the store.

Tiffany said...

Besides being slightly mortified at jumbled syntax and having typed "it's" when meaning to use the possessive "its" -- in a comment where I point out that I make a living as a writer -- I have something else to add here in terms of movies to see/avoid.

If you haven't been to see Ben Stein's /Expelled/, you should really go check it out. I saw it this weekend and was really impressed. It is a level-headed look at the Intelligent Design debate and a wonderful response to all of the Michael Moore "documentaries" out there. I somehow doubt this one will get a nod at Oscar time, though.

Nathan McIntyre said...

I Am Legend is golden, albeit very heavy. Watching that film leaves you with existential challenge aver challenge. I also enjoyed "The Queen", which chronicled the Royal Family around the time of Diana's death.

That Thing You Do? Seriously?

Nathan McIntyre said...

...and I haven't looked into Expelled yet, although my company is going to a screening. I have heard that it is loaded with bad references and poor scholarship, but once again, third party info here.

Tiffany said...

Well, I have a close family member (read, EXTREMELY close) who has been personally and professionally attacked by several of the people interviewed in this film as anti-ID folks for her simple public statement that ID was worth mentioning in the public schools. For that reason, more than any other, I found the film to be encouraging, if nothing else, in that is it finally revealing the vindicitive and hateful ways that many in this field act, all in the name of "freedom." I found little objectionable in what was covered. There wasn't much scholarship involved -- it was more of just an expose of other people's scholarship and political agendas.

Maybe I'm way off base, but like I said, from a personal stand point, it was vindicating -- especially since said family member was sitting next to me in the theatre.

J. Canterbury said...

Yep. Seriously. I just love the picture.

Sure it moves much slower than an action flick but I've always been a fan of the stories/movies that depict the unknown musician making it big. Come to think of it, that would explain my desire to do my radio show about student bands back in college. I love it when musicians, who never get air-time, receive their moment for which they've worked so hard.

I loved /Rock Star/ (stealing this from Tiffany) because it plays on a dream so many of us have; to get picked out of obscurity to play/sing with your favorite band. All I was thinking through the entire movie was me in KISS face paint rockin' next to Gene and the boys! No surprise there.

What did you thing of the flick, Mac?

Taft, have you and your wife had the chance to watch it yet? If so, what were your impressions?