Way back in November of 2010 I wrote a blog post about some movies I like. I then went on a bit of a frenzy and wrote a list of 100 (!) movies that I would recommend, complete with mini-synopses/reviews. I did no research. It was all off the top of my head, which is either really impressive or kind of pathetic. Sadly I wrote that list in an email to a friend, and it has since been irrevocably deleted.
Not to worry because where movies are concerned I am a bottomless pit of information and opinion. (Hmm, maybe ‘bubbling spring’ would have been a better, more positive sounding analogy. Too late.)
Here’s the thing you should know about me and movies. I’m not very critical. I love romantic comedies, action (“Mission Impossible” not “Fast & Furious”), adventure, fantasy, drama, comedy. I love many British films and miniseries, as well as period pieces (or costume dramas as they are called in England.) You lose me at “Borat” and some of Adam Sandler’s baser stuff like the recently released “That’s My Boy”. I also do not automatically gush over every film with subtitles, though some of them do live up to the hype – Cinema Paradiso springs to mind – but I fell asleep trying to get through the first hour of the Swedish version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”. I loved the U.S. version. Yes, I am THAT person. Listen, it had Daniel Craig. Rooney Mara was fantastic and it got right to the point. I think it was William Goldman, screenwriter of “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid” among others, who said that the secret to good screenwriting is to join a scene late and get out early. In other words, don’t bore us with too much exposition.
And now you’re probably scratching your head, because the two films mentioned in the title of this post are heavy on the talk and have gotten only average reviews. Doesn’t matter. Joshua and I loved them both.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” stars Keira Knightley, who always amazes me with her depth and maturity, and Steve Carrell who is far better than some of the roles he has played. This movie is about what people would do if they were told the earth was definitely going to be destroyed in three weeks’ time. No last minute rescues, no miracle missions by astronauts. It’s done.
Its’ depiction of how people would respond to such news is spot on accurate. Knightley and Carrell are such an unlikely pair that enjoying the film as much as I did was a complete surprise. I won’t say anymore, except go see it. (Unless you are, for some reason, having end of the world angst, in which case I’d wait.)
Tonight, while everyone else was queueing in droves to see “Magic Mike”, we went to see “People Like Us” starring Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Michelle Pfeiffer who played her actual age in a lovely change of pace. The movie was gut-wrenching drama, which means it was the best kind. (“Dreaming of Joseph Lees” anyone? It is criminal that they have never released that movie on DVD, but you can find in on Amazon streaming. Just saying.) ”People” is a family drama, and the pain and love in it are visceral in a completely wonderful way.
Hey casting directors, why isn’t Chris Pine in more good movies like this? Let’s get on that, ok? Have your people call his people. We’ll all thank you for it.
Ahh, I love it when we get a run of good movies. This has been a particularly satisfying summer so far. Next up? Probably Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love”.