Tag: favorite movies

Movie Survey

movies3

A few weeks ago I did a little survey on books.  Since people seem so fascinated with my opinions on movies I thought I would do a similar post on movies.

Here goes:

Your favorite movie: Up

The last movie you watched : Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Your favorite action/adventure movie(s) : Inception
Your favorite horror movie : The Shining/Wait Until Dark
Your favorite drama movie :  Tough call.  Slumdog Millionaire
Favorite Comic book movie:  The Avengers or possibly X-Men
Your favorite comedy movie:  Clueless, Office Space, Monty Python Holy Grail, Better Off Dead
Your favorite romance: Breakfast at Tiffanys, 500 Days of Summer
Your favorite romantic comedy:  When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail
Movie you are looking forward to:  Book Thief, Enders Game, Hobbit 2
Favorite based on a true story: (favorite genre of mine) Beautiful Mind, Rudy, Apollo 13, Walk the Line, Kings Speech
A movie that makes you happy:  You’ve Got Mail, The Artist, Silver Linings Playbook
A movie that makes you sad: Bright Star, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Les Miserables
A movie that makes you happy and sad: Perks of Being a Wallflower
A movie that you know practically the whole script of: Breakfast at Tiffanys, You’ve Got Mail
Your favorite director: Norah Ephron, Hiyao Miyazaki
Your favorite movie from your childhood: Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast
Your favorite animated movie: Up
A movie that you used to hate but now love: Pinocchio maybe?
Favorite movie in high school: Clueless
If Someone were to play you in a movie?: Melissa McCarthy
Best Adaptation:  Harry Potter movies except 7th part 1 which bored me.
Your favorite quote from any movie:  I love Nora Ephron.  Rom coms haven’t been the same (or even produced) since she left us. Some favorites:
         Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it,  or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?
         People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they’re really saying is that something you didn’t want to happen at all… has happened.
         Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out… and, then after a while, I won’t have to think about how I had it great and perfect for a while.
          The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.  (how I totally feel about this blog.  Thanks everyone!)
I could go on…(love her movies and writing). See https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/07/12/nora-ephron/
The first movie you saw in theaters: The first one I remember was Little Mermaid.  Also Home Alone sticks out.
The last movie you saw in theaters: Wizard of Oz (so amazing)
Favorite score of movie: The Mission
Favorite song in movie:  Over the Rainbow.  (Also my favorite song period)
The best movie you saw during the last year: Les Miserables
A movie that disappointed you the most:  Star Wars: Phantom Menace
Your favorite actor(s): Carey Grant, Jimmy Stewart
Your favorite actress(es): Emma Thompson, Audrey Hepburn, Meg Ryan
The most overrated movie:  What a can of worms to open again… (see post on this topic)  Terms of Endearment isn’t on my earlier post so I will go with that.  Also, hate to say it but I thought Rushmore was overrated. Just didn’t make me laugh. (send the hate mail 🙂 )
The most underrated movie: See my post on this topic Again I’ll bring up a movie I didn’t put on this list.  Stranger than Fiction.  Love it
Your favorite character from any movie: Holly Golightly
Favorite documentary: My Kid Could Paint That, Civil War (Ken Burns but not really a movie)
A movie that no one would expect you to love: Warrior if they didn’t know I was into MMA
A movie that is a guilty pleasure: Rom coms in general.  Cheesy Christmas movies. Love Comes Softly series
Favorite classic movie: His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, Notorious
Movie with the best soundtrack: The Chorus is wonderful, modern day soundtrack- When Harry Met Sally (love all the Harry Conick Jr)
A movie that changed your opinion about something: Slumdog Millionaire made me decide R rated movies might be ok and to focus on screenit reviews, content rather than ratings
Your least favorite movie: Armageddon, Contact, Drop Dead Gorgeous (only movie I’ve left theater crying in a bad way).  See Movies I Hate

Thumbs Down to Summer Movies

This week the big summer release is Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds in the lead.  So far the studio has only allowed one critic to review it on Rotten Tomatoes.com– Karina Long from the Village Voice. Usually when critics are not allowed to screen a film it is not a good sign- typically indicating their desire to milk it for opening weekend profits before it fizzles with bad reviews.

I obviously have not seen the film but Karina’s review points out what I see as a major flaw in most summer movies (or blockbusters in general).  She says:

“Campbell’s (the director) ADD style privileges spectacle over story — so much so that the film never rewards the viewer for even trying to keep track of what is going on.”

“It’s 10 minutes before a human character appears on-screen in Green Lantern, a personality-free franchise-launcher that builds toward a quaint, if explosive, argument in favor of the nebulous quality of “humanity.”

i did like Walle but this was the best graphic I could find.

Don’t you think this describes most of the big name movies that have come out in the last several years?  Whether it is the buzz of new special effects or the lameness of nearly all 3D, most movies are more about creating an audience hook  than developing good stories or interesting characters.

Part of the blame is moviegoers.  The market speaks loudly and when sequels and special effects bonanzas make a fortune Hollywood will keep pumping them out. Of the top 25 summer movies of all time over half are either prequels or sequels- all but 7 are super hero/science fiction movies.

The especially sad news is that these movies are incredibly expensive to make.  The Green Lantern cost $300 million!  (Of course romantic comedies can be terrible drains of money such as the horrible How Do You Know? with Reese Witherspoon costing $120 million and making only $30 million. I’d hate to be an investor in that film…It was awful)

Here’s another review of Green Lantern

It’s at this point I must make a confession- I don’t like super hero movies.   It’s hard to explain why but I have never liked them. With the exception of Harry Potter, I can’t think of a super hero/fantasy franchise I’m  a fan of (I’m a marginal fan of Lord of the Rings).  I also like the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but they have been sullied by mediocre follow-ups in recent years.

Despite all the special effects I find most super hero movies boring and I don’t like 3D.  It gives me a headache.   One of the things I liked about Inception is it was different.  It had all the panache of a blockbuster with a good story.  I like that 30 people could see it and all leave with different ideas on the plot (and ending).  I wish most Hollywood movies had as much thought put into them and took as many risks.

I didn’t even like The Dark Knight. I know shocking, but it freaked me out, gave me nightmares.  I recognize it is a well-made and acted movie, but I did not find it a pleasant viewing experience.  Everyone else in the whole world seems to like it but not me.  Sorry!

The only other summer movies I can think of that I have enjoyed in recent years are the Harry Potter films (although I found the last one to be  a little slow) and the Pixar movies.  I also liked Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

Why do I like these movies?  I like them because the stories are good.  I like the Harry Potter movies because the story is good and the characters are interesting.  Is that too much to ask?

This year I have only seen one new movie in the theater- Jane Eyre. (It wasn’t my favorite version but I enjoyed it).  Granted I had many other things on my mind; however, when I look at this summer only two movies even look interesting- Midnight in Paris and The Help (aside from the last Harry Potter which I want to see). I’m even skeptical of my usually reliable Pixar’s summer offering- Cars 2.  I think it could be their first dud.  We will see…

I have no interest in the 5th Fast and the Furious,  4th Pirates movie, 3rd Transformers, 4th Twilight,  or 4th Xmen (I think its at 4?).  I might see Kung fu Panda 2, but I’ve got a feeling the studio is going to milk that franchise until it is dead like they did with the Shrek movies (which I never liked much anyway.  I hate all the double entendres.) I wanted to see Source Code but never made it to the theater.

Also do we really need another Hulk movie (that’s what we have to look forward to next year)?  Mark Ruffalo will be playing the Hulk and he had the nerve to compare the green giant to Hamlet and Romeo.  Really?  Isn’t that kind of sad- the 2011 version of Hamlet is the Hulk? Wow.

I also think I will lose it if one more lame television show from the past is made into an equally bad movie (Yogi Bear, GI Joe, Charlie’s Angels, A Team, Chipmunks, Scooby Doo, I could go on and on…).   Hello Hollywood- just because something made money in the 70’s or 80’s does not mean it should be made into a movie.  Now we have the Smurfs movie coming in August.  What’s next- Rainbow Bright, Punky Brewster, Saved by the Bell?  Please NO.

Is it too much to ask for an original idea?  Let’s have more Inception and less Transformers. More 500 Days of Summer and less Back Up Plan (a truly awful Jennifer Lopez movie).   More Finding Nemo and less Shark Tale.

What do you think of summer movies?  Why do you think these clunkers make money?  I have a theory that people go because they want something to do with their friends more than they want to see the particular movie.   I certainly have seen my share of bad movies because my friends wanted to see them.  Peer pressure!  Every so often I’m pleasantly surprised but most of the time I leave thinking ‘why did I waste my $9 and more importantly my 2 hours plus?)

None of these look good to me....

Favorite Movies of The Decade

night-at-the-movies

So I was watching At the Movies and they are doing a series of their “Top Ten Movies of the Decade”.  This week they put their 10th and 9th selections. Ironically of the 4 movies already selected I have only viewed one of them- Million Dollar Baby.  For various reasons I missed the other three.  Million Dollar Baby nearly made my list.  If it wasn’t for the ending.

Ever since I started my blog I’ve wanted to do an entry on my favorite movies.   One of my most popular postings was in May of last year called Music Galore.  It has had over double the hits of any other post.  My entries on comedy, theater and books have also been popular. Many times I began writing a similar entry on movies- but the topic proved too daunting each time.  There are just too many to choose from! Seeing the more narrow “Top Ten of the Decade” concept, I thought I would take another stab at a list of just my favorite recent movies.

First of all, let me explain what I love about the movies.  I would say 90% of the time I go to the movies to be entertained.  Some of my choices may not be the most educational or even uplifting films but they did entertain me.  This does not mean they are all comedies.  In fact, of my top 13 (ok I couldn’t narrow it down to 10!) 5 could be considered comedies, 2 are musicals, 2 are animated, 1 is a documentary and 2 dramas.   Each of the selected movies has also entertained me multiple times.  Not all movies do.  For example, the Prestige with Hugh Jackman and Christian Slater was enthralling the first time I saw it; however, the second time I didn’t really like it.   The Sixth Sense is another example; although that is not a movie from this decade.

I love the way movies can take me away from life and introduce me to a new world- whether that be a mystical Japanese spirit bath house or a modern-day fashion magazine.  I also appreciate movies that make me think a little bit while being entertained.  I am a particular sucker for movies about work and what we dedicate our lives to.  Having gone through the process of leaving a job I hated, I sympathize with characters that are sucked into workaholism and modern cubicle despair.    This can take the form of a comedy or a more somber drama.  You can see this theme in almost all of my choices-characters who struggle with what to dedicate their life too and who they are inside.  They struggle with how to live- what is the best life?  I enjoy that discovery.

So here goes- the top 13 in no particular order:

1. About a Boy- Touching and funny movie about a near-do-well who learns to be unselfish through befriending a young boy and his mom.

2. Spirited Away- Visually stunning animated film from Hiyao Miyazaki.  I dare you to guess what is coming next.  There is everything from a giant baby, to a paper dragon, to a witch that turns into a bird.  So creative!

3. Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room- Fascinating documentary about the rise and fall of Enron.  Amazing how one little rationalization, followed by another, really will lead a man carefully down to Hell.

4. Best in Show- Hilarious mockumentary about the Westminster dog show.  All of Guest’s movies are funny but this is my favorite.  I think because I am not an animal person I find those that are funny.

5. Pixar movies- Ok. I know this is lame but I couldn’t decide.  They are all so great.  Since 2000 Pixar has made Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, the Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Walle and Up.  I especially like how there is no hamming it up to the camera and adult humor like the Shrek movies.  I hate that.

6. Slumdog Millionaire- I’ve never been to India but my aunt and uncle said Slumdog is a reasonably accurate depiction of the slums.  It feels so real while watching.  It is brutal and beautiful at the same time.  My favorite part is how the two lead characters maintain their innocence and love despite the chaos surrounding them.  I’ve seen this movie 4 times and each time I leave feeling inspired and comforted, which is suprising given some of the tough scenes.

7. Hairspray- While I have loved the return of  musicals in the last few years most of them have been on the raunchy side.  Finally Hairspray was the musical I’d been waiting for.  Its  music is catchy and will make you smile.  I just love it.

8. Walk the Line- Even as a conventional bio-pic I enjoy Walk the Line.  I love the music and how it brings June and Johnny Cash together.  Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon are great.  I particularly like the scenes where Johnny goes on the “June Carter love walk” and she turns him down!  Great movie!

9. Devil Wears Prada- Funny and interesting movie about the modern work-world.  I like that Meryl Streep’s character is cruel but honest in her cruelty.  She knows that the fashion business is about making money and that is what is important to her.  Money and fashion are her life and in many ways that is sad. While I do think there can be a balance between career and family, it is tough.  DWP asks how much are we willing to give up for success? How much will we change to achieve it? Plus, there are some great lines like “One more stomach flu and I’ll be at my ideal dress size!”

10. Stranger than Fiction- Another great movie about work.  Will Farrell plays a man who starts hearing a narrator in his head.  This voice describes what he is doing and how he feels about it.  However, it becomes  disturbing when the voice predicts Farrell’s death.  Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson are great.  Wonderful movie that makes you think about your life choices and what a narrator would say about them. Also, would our lives make a good book? If no, is that necessarily a bad thing?

11. Breach- Great suspenseful movie of the undercover operation that brought down Robert Hanson an FBI agent who sold secrets to the Soviets for over 20 years before he was caught.  The acting is top notch- particularly Chris Cooper as the complicated Hanson.  On one hand, we hate him but on another we get a glimpse of why he did it.  He wanted to be smarter than everyone else in the FBI.  He was tired of being marginalized and ignored.  Who can’t relate to that? Very exciting and interesting movie.

12. Dan in Real Life-  A simple movie I love.  It is funny, the kids are great and the story is touching.  It is about a widower played by Steve Carrell who writes a nearly-syndicated  parenting column.  Meanwhile his 3 daughters are all struggling.  I felt I could relate to the family dynamics in the story and again it asks the question- “What are you doing with life? and Why does your life matter?” I also like they kept the family chaos to a realistic non-slapstick level (for the most part at least).

13. Juno- I know the dialogue can be a bit glib, but I don’t care.  Juno is about a high school know-it-all who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption.  It is the most pro-adoption movie I have seen in a long time, and I don’t think it glamorizes teen pregnancy as some have claimed.  Juno learns that she isn’t quite as smart as she once thought and this new humility comes with some hard-taught lessons.

So there it is.  My top movies of the decade.  Maybe there will be something in the next few months as amazing and have to be added to the list.  Hopefully!  I will be curious for your favorites.