Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Here is my recent netflix activity and thoughts

"Punch Drunk Love" - Even better than I thought it would be. The chaotic, clanging music drove me near insanity. Really funny, and scary at the same time occasionally. Anderson taking Sandler's typical man-child and turning it into something completely different and real was fucking nuts.

"The Squid and the Whale" - hated it, didn't finish it. One of the most pretentious movies I have ever seen. Here's my attempt at Squid and the Whale dialogue -
Jeff Daniels - "People are dumb, yes, people are really dumb."
Daniels' son - "I like name dropping authors and famous works of prrrrrrose"
Daniels - "Me too. Kafka, Kafka Kafka, Well I guess it's time for me to go do something really emotional and kinda mean spirited."
Daniels' son - "Kafka, Kafka, Kafka"

Simply name-dropping famous writers doesn't make your writing great, it just makes it obnoxious. How about using some of Kafka's themes, etc as homage? Then again i dind't even finish it, so maybe they make good by the end.

At least the camera work and Wes Anderson style colors was really cool, but jeez.

"Ratatouille" - Pixar never disappoints (cept "Cars"). Its like old Hollywood, Well-told stories, with real emotions and complex themes for adults, and lots of fun for the kids. So much better than animated movies like "Shrek" that people say are "really funny" and "have humor for adults and kids." Ratatouille didn't have to throw in ham-handed sexual innuendo for adults to laugh at to keep them entertained between kid-aimed idiocy. (OK, there was one moment of innuendo, and it was great.)

"Michael Clayton" - The film never treats the audience like an idiot, never over-explains like other thrillers, and they managed to make a thriller void of any Luddite fear mongering ("Untraceable").
But I do think they tried to disguise a really simple plot by masterfully executing it in a gray and vague way that forced you to pay attention and figure it out yourself.

"Garden State" - I hate the word quirky, but it was quirky. It was funny and charming and clever. It was good. Zach Braff bothers me as a dramatic actor. He just seems to let his jaw hang loose and mouth breaths all over his serious lines. Anyone whose perspective on the world was changed by this film (most of the 20-year-olds in my Film Appreciation class) needs to get out more, and avoid being pandered to so easily.

"The Wire" Takes a while to get into, I'm on the third season now, but it is as good as everyone said it was. Legalize it.

"I'm Not There" Too non-linear for me to enjoy. I'm a huge Dylan fan, so I loved the music, loved the myth of Dylan represented through several fictitious characters, but it was just too abstract for me. I guess I'm square.

"Repo Man" "Lets go eat sushi and not pay for it." hahahaha, 'nuff said, it's a punk classic.

"Adaptation" Another one as good as everyone said it was. Kaufman is a fucking genius.


Brendan said...

I hate to say it, but I have to disagree with you on your review of The Squid and the Whale. Not that I think your review was bad or wrong, I actually think it's funny and fairly true. I understand where you're coming from on the writing seeming incredibly pretentious, but I think the fact that Jesse Eisenberg's character at one point describes Kafka's Metamorphosis as "Kafka-esque" sort of makes the pretentious airs of the screenplay seem purposefully written and intentionally uppity. I guess you could go on to say that Noah Baumbach's intention may have been to show that even the most seemingly intelligent people can be wrong in some situations, i.e. Jeff Daniels' entire role throughout the movie, and to illustrate how impressionable young people rub off on their respected elders. Even more simply put, maybe Baumbach was just trying to create pretentious characters to make the movie more interesting and add some quality and character to the characters. Which I guess was futile, seeing as you didn't like that. I suppose one could quote the age-old, tried-and-true maxim that says "Everyone has their own opinion".

Warped Coasters said...

You know, I've been meaning to go and revisit "The Squid and the Whale," since it's been a couple years since I last tried to watch it, especially since several people I usually agree with love the movie.
One of my other complaints was also that Daniels' character's mean abusiveness seamed sort of arbitrary or contrived, like I knew what Baumbach was going for but he just stepped over the line into caricature.