Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Movie Marathon

I know...two posts in one day. What will the blogosphere think of this? Especially from someone who has missed blogging for almost two weeks. Never fear, this is just a quick, drive by review of some of the movies I've seen lately.

We'll start about three weeks back when my wife and I went to the theater to see "Adventureland." First off, let me say GREAT movie. I thought it was smart and very very funny. Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live is hilarious, although her part is quite small.

The story is about a recent college grad named James. His parents were loaded and now they aren't and can't afford to help him go to grad school. James has to find a summer job. After the family moves, that seems darn near impossible, but lucky for James - and the movie goers - he finds a job at a local theme park guessed it, Adventureland.

Relationships with the not-so-hot, but interesting and elusive, girl ensue. I'd like to interject here that it seems that movies "like this" (and by like this I'm thinking of Juno and Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist...movies where it seems that more drugs were done that you care to think about while filming) seem to be casting a different kind of leading girl. She's not quite pretty, but she's quick and funny. She isn't the Hollywood norm. I don't mind this casting choice for any of these movies. I would rather watch someone who's funny and interesting that someone who isn't.

Anyway, I digress. There is a lot of on screen drug use in the film. A lot of swearing, of course. You can't have a coming of age story without it. What I really liked about the film was the subtlety. There were a lot of penis jokes, whether being kicked/punched in said penis or hiding something that just "came up." But they were subtle and not so Euro Trip or Harold and Kumar. The humor was dry and I would guess that not everyone would get it.

For example, we were sitting behind a row of guys who I would consider unsavory and rather douchy. Guys who probably would have beaten me up in high school if I wouldn't have had a protective older sister and been abnormally tall. You could tell they liked to party like they were in college and probably drank at the Hooters down the street every Wednesday. I feel quite certain that these people didn't get the movie. They didn't get the humor.

I can't say this fact with complete certainty. It's not like I was holding some sort of scientific experiment and these are my findings, but they didn't laugh at the "funny" parts. They laughed more at the crotch jokes and the pot smoking.

Well, to make a long story short...too late...Iwould recommend this movie. It's funny and sweet and will make you wish you had this experience coming straight out of college.

The next movie my wife and I saw we rented from the RedBox. Rachel Getting Married is another indy film that we thought would be good. In the past, we've had great luck with indy films. One of our favorites is Y tu Mama Tambien. But this was recommended by a friend on Facebook and I thought, "I like that person, so I'm probably going to like this movie."

Boy, was I wrong. I suppose you could talk about the fact that it was very "real." You could talk about the toasting scene at the wedding rehearsal dinner. The real time shots of people giving toasts and the awkwardness of waiting for the dysfunction to come out. I suppose you could talk just about the dysfunction. I think my family puts the fun in dysfunction, but not like this. NOT like this.

Maybe the movie was too "real" for me. It could have hit too close to home, dealing with addicts at family gatherings and ignoring the pink elephant in the room, but behind their back holding your nose because the booze are just too strong. Maybe.

I don't know...perhaps you would like this film. It's a little depressing and maybe in the right mood you would enjoy it, but as for my opinion, I did not.

The next movie we saw was also from the RedBox...and at the recommendation of my sister: Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. Also, a cute movie. I would agree with what's been said that the plot is about the journey, not the destination.

I thought the acting was great and I really enjoyed all the twists and turns that you were taken on as the night progressed. I will admit, though, that getting gum and phone out of a puky toilet was not my cup of tea. If that ruins the movie for you, just deal with it. You'll be glad you had fair warning.

The movie follows two teens around New York City as they search for a band that they both like. Along they way they meet up with ex's and lose a friend (which is where the puky toilet comes in). There are those supporting characters that don't really have any back story, but are helpful to the fairy godmothers.

All-in-all, I would recommend this movie, but you don't have to take my word for it! Take it away Lavar Burton.

The final movie I've recently seen is Religulous. This definitely isn't a movie for everyone. Bill Maher takes a film crew around the world to find what people think about religion, whether that be good, bad, funny at the person's expense, or whatever.

I enjoyed this movie. I thought it was really funny. There were three parts of the movie I'd like to point out: first, in the Truckstop Chapel, after a man had been so overcome with anger at Maher asking questions about faith, he leaves. I'm not pointing out the leaving man, but the men who stayed to talk to Maher. They weren't evangelizing, but just answering, what I thought were respectable questions about faith. At the end of this segment, Maher asked the men to pray for him, which they did, as he observed them praying. He was just asking questions, without the intent of making people mad, but yet tempers were flaired.

The second segment is one that has been talked about at my church as well as on movie review shows...the old man in St. Peter's basilica. The man is the highest priest at the Vatican, second to the Pope. He spoke quite openly that the Bible is just a book. A good book that should be taken seriously, but still just a book. The church is trying to work internally at getting people to see that there is more to religion that killing in the name of God, or using God's name for ill.

The final point I'd like to show light on is the good Dr. segment. Bill Maher sat down with a man that is named Rev. Dr. something. As he was being seated, Maher asked if he should call the man Reverend, but he said, "You can just call me doctor." Across the bottom of the screen was flashed..."He isn't a doctor." Then, "He has no degree whatsoever." And, his first name wasn't doctor either. So, don't try that one on me. The conversation turned to the man's fine clothing that had been funded by his congregation and the discussion that Jesus fought FOR the poor, not taking money from them. The good doctor couldn't understand that his clothes were paid for by the poor.

There are many memorable segments, I'm sure edited from many bad ones. There is Bill talking to Jesus at Bibleland, being kicked off of the Mormon Temple's lawn, being taken on an illegal tour of the highest Mosque in Jerusalem, or sitting down with Jesus know, the second coming of Christ.

Again, I thought this was a funny movie. Would I recommend sure. It depends on who you are. Do you want to be mad about religion? Then, sure. Rent it and laugh. Are you up for defending your religion to a movie and a person (Bill Maher) who can't hear you through the tv? This is the movie for you. If you aren't any of these things...I wouldn't waste the money.


  1. James, it makes me so happy to hear when people look at movies in an intelligent way! Im glad you dont get all bent out of shape when the word penis is thrown around. Have you been to Fleur Cinema, they show LOTS of indy's there.

  2. Good to know about Rachel Getting Married. Sandi and I had talked about renting it one of these Fridays, but maybe we won't...I'm not usually up for getting depressed and paying for it.

    And yeah...the puke and gum parts of N&N were gross. I believe I watched through my hands. Like it was Grey's Anatomy or something.

    Also good to know about Adventureland. Sounds like what I think about South Park (or at least, when it was first on - I haven't watched it in a reallllly long time): people fall into three camps. They either don't get the point and are offended, don't get the point and laugh at the stupid, offensive stuff, or get the point and laugh at it.

    Oh yeah, I probably won't watch Religulous. Not that I'd necessarily be offended by it all. More likely, it would just make me sad. And again, not my goal when watching a movie.