Little did I know that I would add an Oscar winner AND a 1920's silent film that was lost, then found, then restored and then some, to this mission. But it happened :)
First on tonight's lineup: The Sting.
1973 is almost 40 years ago. Think about that for a moment. Then let me tell you about an intriguing, fun ride of a movie that holds your interest in a calm and elegant manner, and then in the last half hour it punches you in the gut multiple times and leaves you staring dumbstruck at the screen. AWESOME. Quick plot cover: a young con man teams up with a retired pro to get revenge for a mutual friend by pulling a big con on a mob boss. What could possibly go wrong?
And may I just say, many, many years too late, that Robert Redford was a hottie. I mean, day-um. It's weird to find out that my grandmother had a crush on him as well...oh the immortal and slightly creepy power of art.
I also noticed while watching this that, to me, it seems like movie makers back then required a little more attention and understanding from their audience. This is an intelligent movie with some complicated dialogue, and if you don't actively watch this movie, you can miss a lot. The important parts still get to you, but you miss some of the better subtleties throughout. So pay attention. It'll be a better experience. Or you can just sit back and stare at Redford. That's cool too.
Final Word: SPOON. Mostly because I need to watch it again to re-absorb all the details, but I can see myself, at some point, craving to see it again. And not just for the eye candy--I also enjoyed the quiet but strong female support, especially Eileen Brennan. So go watch it!
Next on the list: Best in Show
This was one of those Netflix recommendations that caught my eye. Five very different owners of competitive-show dogs head off for the big competition in a mockumentary that pokes at all of us in so many ways. The redneck provided the best laughs. If you're a fan of The Office, British or American, you'll appreciate his awkward monologues that probably killed some brain cells.
There are some other funny moments, but overall the movie is slow. Granted, it's a more subtle comedy, and very realistic in its portrayal of awkward moments in our lives, but it's easy to lose focus. The cast was a B-list line up--Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, John Michael Higgins, and even Jane Lynch (who, as of now, is NOT a B-lister)--but I liked them.
Final Word: Forka-Forka. That is to say, if you love The Office, and you've got some time, go for it. Or if you want a really different kind of comedy, give it a shot. But you don't lose anything by not seeing it.
Now for the fun. Another Netflix recommendation that blew me away and completely changed my view of movies.
The movie that apparently won't die, even after all it's been through:
A silent movie from 1927 Germany that disappeared and then was rediscovered in South America. Some scenes were damaged, which is obvious when you watch it, and some are completely gone, so instead you see title screens telling you what happens. Just that makes it crazy. But then it gets good.
This movie describes a strange world where the working class lives underground, completely separate from the elite class--the "head" is separate from the "hands." The son of the man who rules the city then discovers the horrors underground and joins the aspiring revolution. He meets Maria, a woman advocating a peaceful transfer of power through the "heart" or the mediator (in case you didn't notice, that's our hero).
Then things go insane. Like, w.t.f. insane. A crazy inventor creates a robot that looks like humans and obeys his commands, and the leading couple is about to suffer a terrible trial for their love and their revolution. There are so many things that start going on in this movie, you have to watch it to understand. And because it's silent, you have to WATCH it.
It did run a little long, especially towards the end, and the acting was a little odd at times, but it changes how you understand movies and storytelling. It draws you into a visual roller coaster of a story, and you forget that it's silent--at least in terms of dialogue. We are so used to movies that are completely dialogue-driven that we never think of the ways to tell a story without words. Educational for sure.
Final Word: FORK it GOOD. I do not see myself coming back to this frequently, because I don't have a lot of time, but I'm glad I saw it. By the way, it's on that giant list of 1001 movies to see before you die. So I'm not alone here.
And last but NOT least: The King's Speech.
I'll make this short: It deserved every nomination it got and then some. And, honestly, you can't go wrong with Colin Firth. It's kind of impossible. He's an acting superhero. The rest of the cast, too, was superb--can I just say, Bellatrix Lestrange and Peter Pettigrew here? Did not see that coming. But it was a delightful surprise for sure. Helena Bonham Carter is also an acting superhero. With or without Tim Burton.
It was funny, sweet, heartbreaking, intense, fun and a great ride. And a great story. I love good storytelling. I will say, however, that, being the daughter of a photographer, I noticed some almost-overwhelming camera angles that seemed overdone. But they were few and far between.
It's still in theaters! Go go go! The verdict: Fork it Good.
And...exhale. And in case I don't see you, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, and Good Night.