I’ve been attacking the list of classic movie suggestions and keeping my local Netflix shipping depot good and busy lately. This round-up also includes some more recent films that I’ve also seen — I figured these aren’t old enough to be considered classics yet, of course, but maybe they are future classics. Even if not, they’re ones I wanted to see and as long as I’m posting about movies I’ve seen lately I may as well include them. I mean, who pays for the web hosting around here? I do!
Well, here we go:
Manhattan – Well, I really, really liked this one. I think I liked Annie Hall better, if we are comparing late 1970s Woody Allen films, but this one was still really good. There’s something I just love about the wit, the style, and the fast-paced banter of these movies. It appeals to me in the sense that I can imagine having these kinds of conversations with my friends. There’s something comfortable but still fresh about the aesthetic. I also had to laugh in the scene where Mary and Yale (trying to get better at remembering character names) are doing their little bit where they list the most overrated writers they can think of and Isaac is just full of offended disbelief that they’re calling writers he likes overrated. I have had that exact same conversation, only in my case it was John Steinbeck all the way (SO overrated!).
The Big Sleep – Oh, for the love, of course I had seen this one before! I have no idea what I was thinking when I put it on the queue, except maybe my subconscious wanted me to see it again. It was great, of course. I love noir and Bogart and Bacall and basically everything about it. As many of you know, I’ve also long been obsessed with The Big Lebowski, so I definitely enjoyed getting another chance to look for the connections and the seeds of inspiration the Coen Brothers took from this movie and made their own. Great flick.
The Exorcist – I basically already knew the entire plot of this film, I thought, so I went into it just looking for the experience of finally seeing it in its entirety, which, over all, I enjoyed. I was expecting the demon voice, the head spinning around, and the projectile vomiting. Disgusting things don’t really bother me too too much, but I was not expecting some of the more disturbing scenes in the film. How come everyone talks about the vomit and no one ever mentions the scene where little Regan stabs herself repeatedly in the crotchal area with a metal crucifix and then shoves her mother’s face in it screaming “LICK ME”? What the fuck, people. That is disturbing. Also disturbing: I found the younger priest kind of weirdly hot. Let’s not talk about this one any more.
Ghostbusters – I hadn’t seen this one since I was a child, so I figured (per Brandon’s suggestion) it was due time for a re-viewing. I remembered liking the film, of course, but could I really trust the memories? It turned out that Ghostbusters was actually better than I remembered. For obvious reasons, I got a kick out of the machinations and politics of the academic world the guys are involved in. The opening scene in the public library also reminded me pleasantly of the “Sweded” version from Be Kind Rewind, which I now need to see again. Glad I put this one in the line-up.
Monsoon Wedding – This is one of the more recent films, but since I briefly mentioned watching it in the last installment I thought I ought to close the circle and give my thoughts on it here. This is one I thought I had seen already, but once I started it up I realized I hadn’t. It was very good – the comedy and the romantic tension were really well done, and the family was full of entertaining characters. One of my favorite scenes was when the women of the family are all gathered outside singing together before the wedding. That’s a great example of a movie scene where, in my opinion, the musical element is organic and purposeful and not some kind of spectacle imposed on the plot unnecessarily. Anyway, if any of you haven’t seen this one, go for it!
Broken Embraces – I always love some Pedro Almodóvar and my TV Girlfriend, Penelope Cruz (Volver is one of my favorite films), so I knew I couldn’t go wrong picking this one. Another contemporary film that, if you haven’t seen, you should check out! Almodóvar is always stylish in the look of his films and I think he makes the most of the melodrama genre in his suspenseful storytelling. It was intelligent and sexy and thoughtful. There’s just nothing not to like!
An Education – Man oh man, I really enjoyed this one. I’d been meaning to see it forever and I’m so glad I realized it was out on DVD and that I could finally get it! For the most part, I try to go into films knowing as little as possible about the plot – I am satisfied knowing the overall genre, the actors, or the writer or director. In this case, I knew the young girl was somehow going to get involved with Peter Sarsgaard and that was it. I was so pleasantly surprised, first of all, to find that Olivia Williams, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina, and Cara Seymour were also in the film. I really like each of them, and I thought that Carey Mulligan, the lead actress, was fab as well. For some reason, when I started up the DVD, I saw that the screenplay had been written by Nick Hornby, and I automatically assumed that it was based on one of his books or something. After watching the whole film I had to go to IMDB posthaste and find out the deal, because there is no way this story was written by a man, I’m sorry. Turns out it is based on a memoir by Lynn Barber. Which makes a lot more sense. At any rate, it was lovely. There was this one scene (I swear I am not spoiling anything by saying this) where the young Jenny is arguing with Miss Stubbs, her English teacher (Olivia Williams) and it was as if I could look into some crystal ball where I could simultaneously see the past and the future and see myself at 40 arguing with myself at 17. And, uh, we were both British. But no matter. Anyway, I loved it.