Saturday, November 13, 2010

I would murder someone to get a job as a critic

Despite my unhealthy fascination with all things entertainment, I’m not much of a movie-goer these days. I like going to movies with girls, but watching movies at home is really a much better date. You can talk, pause, eat, switch movies when she figures out there are zombies in it, etc. I don’t really have many guy friends in Arizona to go see manly movies, nor am I looking for them. Netflix takes care of a bunch, the internet takes care of a bunch, being too busy to realize what movies are out take of the rest. So, the movies I’ve seen in theaters have been few and far between. Except for this week when I saw 2.

The first was It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It was kind of a funny movie. It is a bit stuck in the dramedy zone: spending equal time on both drama and comedy, so not really dramatic or comedic enough to stand on its own. But it did have one of my favorite celebrities of the moment, Zach Galifianakis acting more than he normally does. Admittedly, playing a psych patient wasn’t a huge departure for him. Jim Gaffigan was along for the ride as well, which was a plus. I saw it with 3 of my work colleagues/friends and so we had a good time comparing their psych hospital to ours. But even if you’re not a psychiatrist or a mental patient, I think it was a reasonably good movie. Not great, which was disappointing. It’s one of those movies that is pretty good, but you could see lots of amusing scenes which could’ve been funny, and touchy-feely scenes that could have been genuinely touching. It just wasn’t quite there. It was also one of those movies where they throw in some artistic accents (visual effects, music, creative structure) but none of them REALLY helped anything. They were just there. I sound negative, but only to point out that it wasn’t great. But you’ll laugh, you’ll be a little touched, you’ll be able to overlook some of the clichés and pat conclusions.

The other movie was Easy A. I’d heard some pretty positive reviews, so when a group congealed to see it, I congealed along with them. I’d give Easy A a solid B to B+. It was preachy, but self aware and referential enough that it wasn’t annoying. And the preachiness was actually kind of a unique take, which also helped it stay more palatable. I’m a bit of a comedic misogynist (Sidebar. Women, as a group, are not nearly as funny as men. I don’t think this is genetic, I think it’s societal pressures. It helps men to be funny much more than it helps women. So men spend a fair amount of time and energy fostering this. At the end of the day, women (with important exceptions) tend to be significantly less funny than men. End sidebar.) but Emma Stone pulls it off. Yes, her dialogue is not really believable coming from a 16 year old, but the dialogue is funny, and she delivers it with aplomb. Most everyone else in the film is similarly witty. Her parents in particular are hilarious. I imagine there was a meeting early in production when they had to decide between PG-13 and R, and I’m glad they went PG-13. I’m no prude, I saw MacGruber last week and it was HILARIOUS (I use all caps not because I’m a teenage girl, but because that is going to be the entirety of that movie review) but I feel it really served this movie well to be PG-13. It was kind of the point that the characters were all discussing, worrying, lying and obsessing over sex, but not participating in it. The dialogue was cleverer because it had to stay under the R level, though it came mighty close. It was good times for not the whole family, but for a larger portion of it.

So there are some movies that you should see. It occurred to me as I saw these movies and all the posters for the blockbuster schlock coming out that all movies should be double features. And not just due to exorbitant ticket prices. Every big budget movie should be paired with a little indie flick. There are good and bad movies in both categories, so I’m not saying the indie flick will provide some nutrition after the blockbuster junk food. Just that it would benefit these little movies to get seen, and it should be an option after the popcorn flick to stick around and catch something that might be great.

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