No one’s perfect. It’s our flaws that define us. At the beginning of this quest, I told myself that I was going to stop binge-watching tv shows to make more time to watch movies. I even deleted all the shows in my streaming queues so I could focus on the task at hand. Then all the hype around Making a Murderer popped up online and, literally the second week in, I was back to my old ways.
Anyway, since the time when I first wrote this, I have gotten better at sticking to my guns and not getting sucked in. This first review does allude to what a waste of a weekend Making a Murderer was, so I thought I’d explain. I watched all of these in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of January.
#5: The Master – Wow. The first word that comes to mind is “beautiful”. The images on screen paired with that score completely erased all the despondency that Making a Murderer left in me. I was delighted to watch gone-to-soon Phillip Seymour Hoffman at his best with an equally amazing cast (including Rami Malek, star of my second weekend diversion – Mr. Robot). I had read so many confused reviews that I was expecting an insanely long, rambling think-piece that would leave me confounded for days. I don’t know if it’s because I got lost in the beauty, but I couldn’t disagree more. What an enjoyable end to such a frustrating weekend.
#6: Goodnight Mommy – This Austrian horror had me gripped from the start. As I’ve already admitted, I’m not a fan of subtitles, and fortunately there isn’t much reading to do. The sparse dialogue made the beginning even more tense as I wrapped myself in blankets in a state of “wtf?”. So many questions: Where is Lukas?; Do we know the other kid’s name?; Seriously, though, WTF?! I grew up in a family full of twins, but this movie made me legit creeped out by them. The reveal at the end was so crazy, I think there may be a re-watching of this in the future. In one word, brutal.
#7: Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Ah, lucky number seven. Full disclosure: I’ve never been a Star Wars fan. The reason for this may be lack of exposure. I didn’t have someone in my life that introduced me to them as a kid, so the only one’s I’ve seen all the way through are Episodes I and II, which I saw in the theaters (I was in middle school). That being said, I do fully appreciate these movies’ standing in pop culture as a whole and probably know more than any non-fan should (for instance, I watched a large part of The Empire Strikes Back for a class on film music). Anyway, you can’t be a pop culture fanatic and manage to avoid the ubiquitous franchise. Before heading to the theater, though, I brushed up with some videos and articles discussing the plot of the first 6 movies, just so I wouldn’t be completely lost. It turns out, that I would’ve survived without it, because this is a complete re-boot. I enjoyed it, immensely. I thought Rey and Finn were adorable. And since I spent all weekend watching the first season of Girls for the first time, I now recognize Kylo Ren as Hannah’s creepy boyfriend, so that should make future viewings interesting. The 3D was also probably the best I’ve ever seen in IMAX. Afterward, my husband schooled me on all the references to the previous films that I probably missed, but I didn’t care much. As a stand-alone movie, it was one of the best I’ve seen in a while.
#8: Anomalisa – The best part of having this list of movies to watch is that I’ve already forgotten what most of them are and why I wanted to watch them in the first place. Enter Anomalisa. I’ve made a point to stop “IMDb’ing” movies as I watch them. It’s a hard habit to break, but it’s really kept me more in the moment, enjoying the art instead of satisfying trivial urges. So, that’s what I did. I lived in this world for the full 90 minutes, completely unaware of what I was supposed to be getting from it. It was dream-like. I couldn’t believe how intricate the puppets and scenes were, how human the characters were despite the obvious seams (and, for most of them, identical voices). It was just so weird and amazing at the same time, hilarious and heart-breaking. I was not at all surprised that this movie came from the writer of one of my all-time favorites, Being John Malkovich. I could say a lot of the same for that movie as well. This movie reminded me why it’s always better to go in blind, because I would have been drawing comparisons the whole time, which would’ve taken away from my experience. Side note: the thing I really wanted to look up was the voice actor of Michael. It was bugging me that it sounded so much like Gabriel Byrne. Turns out he and David Thewlis have similar voices.
#9: Soaked in Bleach – I love conspiracy theories. They are an art unto themselves. So when a different point of view is presented in a decent documentary, I could start to believe it. I know, on an intellectual level, that all docs are presented in a way that shows the maker as exposing the ultimate truth, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the ride. I like it when questions are raised that I hadn’t considered. I also like poking holes in theories. When Montage of Heck came out last year, I began to believe that Courtney Love was maybe the worst person in the world (a belief solidified by Dave Grohl’s reaction when she hugged him on stage at Nirvana’s Hall of Fame induction). Does that mean I think she did it? No, but it’s pretty messed up that murder was never even considered. Maybe not messed up, exactly. You have a police department that is desperate to get a high profile case off its hands and assuming what seems obvious would get it done. I’m just glad that someone is asking questions [read as James Adomian’s Jesse Ventura].