The snow/ice amalgam that rocked Atlanta during the second week of 2011 made everyone homebound for about 4 days, and gave Jeff and I opportunity to watch some good movies, in between puzzles, making dinner from canned and frozen things and losing our minds. Fortunately, we recently got AppleTV so we can stream Netflix movies, making hundreds of films available to us, without having to check the mail (which incidentally did NOT come despite "rain, snow, sleet...").
Here are a few we watched over the holiday / in the snowdome:
The Social Network. I watched this on the big screen at our neighbor's house. Projector, surround sound, the whole deal. It was very good. I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoyed say, Good Will Hunting. Fast dialogue, quirky lead character, a fascinating band of other misfits. The added dimension of intrigue to this tale of course is that it’s real. Or well, real depending on who you ask I’m sure. It’s not only real, but it involves me, and millions of other people who have made Facebook this insanely ubiquitous thing in our culture. It had Aaron Sorkin’s fingerprints for sure: the writing was clever, the way they told the story was engaging, but was it a “best picture” type of film? Not sure about that. Not sure it deserves to beat out something akin to “The King’s Speech” or “Black Swan” which really made people agaga. Having said that, voters for such awards have tended toward lighter fare in recent years (read: Slumdog Millionaire) so who knows. It did just win a Golden Globe. Oh, did I mention Justin Timberlake is in it! He's great as the Napster founder.
Exit Through the Gift Shop. Rarely does a film I’ve never heard of get recommended by three different folks over the course of about 5 days. This having recently happened, Jeff and I gleaned that it was a movie worth watching. And our friends were right, it is worth watching. The film is clever, engaging and has a bit of a twist, which for a documentary, puts it on unique footing. The movie is about “street art” (aka graffiti), so it feels hip with its cool kids and electronica soundtrack. Yet it is very very smart. Cunningly so. And while it tells an intriguing story, it also leaves the viewer asking questions like, “what is art?”, “What makes ‘good’ art?” “Is art that is made for selling a lesser art?” To the latter, I suppose the masked creator of the film may say, “yes.”
For Your Consideration. Funny at times, overly “insider” at many times, dragging at others. While certainly not my favorite Christopher Guest film, Consideration was predictably
clever and off beat in a way that one expects a Guest film to be. The familiar cast (Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Parker Posey...) made me chuckle at jokes that ordinarily may not be as funny, in the same way a story told by a friend is more engaging that the same tale recounted by someone you don’t know. “Home for Purim” is the Guffman-esqe “movie within a movie” that the characters are working on, looking to Oscar nominations in the same way the smalltown community theatre-ites waited for the famed “Guffman.” Consideration is an okay movie, but not recommended as an entree to the Christopher Guest collection.
An Education. I found this to be a brilliant film. While the plot unfolded rather predictably, it was still a fascinating watch. The 60’s setting was well done with neat cars, London cityscapes, glorious dresses and hairdos, and even a requisite Parisian getaway highlight reel (cue Flight of the Concords “Foux du Fa Fa.”) The premise of the film is off-putting: an older playboy (played by a simultaneously handsome and eerie Peter Sarsgaard) takes a liking to a 16 year old school girl. Jenny (portrayed marvelously by Carey Mulligan) is at once taken by this well-heeled gentleman, and soon her caution and inhibitions are brushed aside by his smooth talk, kind ways, and enjoyable lifestyle. I enjoy a movie that confuses my emotions. I was drawn into the lead characters’ exciting dynamic, despite the clear unhealthy nature of it. Yet also wished for young Jenny to not completely abandon her “boring” life for the sake of this halcyon relationship. Like other stories written by Nick Hornby, An Education was just that, both for the characters involved, and the viewer who is forced to confront questions about what really matters.