Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Movies: The Good and the Awful

Happy Monday! I had a wonderfully boring weekend -- just finished up re-reading the book prior to sending it off, then relaxed and read and napped. I think I needed that. Now I just need to think of a title for the book. I've got one stuck in my head, and I don't think it's the best one, but it's currently blocking out everything else.

In spite of not going anywhere or doing much of anything, I didn't do a lot of movie viewing this weekend. Saturday night, the Disney Channel showed Ratatouille, which I hadn't seen in the theater. I'm not sure why, since I've seen just about all the Pixar films (though I haven't seen Cars). I guess I wasn't too excited about the Disney rodent fetish. Or else I wasn't in a movie-going phase. At any rate, it was absolutely delightful, and in spite of the computer animation, it reminded me of the old-school Disney animation from the classic era. One thing that impressed me was that they didn't ignore the "Ew! Rats in the kitchen!" issue and sweep it under the rug with the "rodents are cute!" idea. The rats did dig around in garbage, but the main character learned to walk on his hind legs so his "hands" didn't get dirty, they showed him washing his "hands" before cooking, and before the other rats did anything in the kitchen, they were run through the dishwasher. I liked that instead of pretending this was happy animation world where things like that weren't an issue, they faced it head-on.

The movie also made me want to dig out my cookbooks and get creative in the kitchen, but that will have to wait until it's not so hot. At this time of year it's too hot to cook.

Sunday night, I went with an HBO OnDemand offering, Deception. I was bored and going through the listings, then I saw a film with Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman listed as the stars, and I thought, "Okay, I'm in. How bad could it be if I get to look at those two?" The answer? Pretty darn bad. For one thing, even with Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman in it, it wasn't a musical. The closest it came to having a musical number was a moment when Hugh Jackman sort of sang under his breath. It was supposedly a psychological "thriller," but that term has to be used really loosely, as the first hints that something is seriously wrong don't show up until an hour into the movie, there were no real thrills, no real sense of danger, and the entire plot hinged on the characters all being Too Stupid to Live and doing things no real person ever would. On the up side, there were Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman wearing suits. On the down side, both were using American accents. The "plot" basically involves Ewan McGregor as a shy, nerdy CPA who is auditing a law firm's books when one of the lawyers (Hugh Jackman) befriends him and introduces him to his sexy, glamorous life. When they get their cell phones switched, the accountant gets in over his head in a high-end no-strings sex club (seriously) and learns that nothing is what it appears to be. I will say that Ewan McGregor makes a really appealing nerd. It somehow works for him, possibly because he had the charm and charisma cranked up to 11, but then filtered through a character with almost no social skills, so he came across as totally disarming -- the kind of guy who could have women eating out of his hand without having any idea that it was happening or any idea what he was doing. However, Hugh Jackman becomes less appealing in nerd mode. He is not a man who looks better in glasses. He looks less adorkable and more like the kind of nerd who still lives at home with his mother -- and that's because mother is a rotting corpse still sitting in her favorite chair where he killed her years ago. However, he looks really, really nice in slick lawyer mode. I think maybe it's because there's something kind of predatory about him, even when he's not playing Wolverine, while McGregor has a more boyish air to him.

And, yes, that tells you how boring this "thriller" was, when I was analyzing different kinds of attractiveness and trying to figure out how one good-looking man somehow looked better when they made him look nerdy and how the other good-looking man looked worse. There were some interesting potential concepts there, but the script didn't really work with them. It seemed like a movie that was sold based on a one-line pitch, but then the writer couldn't develop a story from that pitch. I think it's also difficult to develop a thriller out of a romantic comedy set-up -- the nerd and the lawyer get their cell phones mixed up, and then the nerd starts dating the women who call the lawyer, which gives him the confidence to go for the woman he's fallen in love with.

I suppose that's another measure of a boring movie, when I find myself mentally rewriting it as I watch it. At any rate, there are far, far better options for admiring the pretty involved in this film, but it might be worth it to find some stills of Ewan McGregor in nerd mode, because he really is cute.

1 comment:

Carradee said...


Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman... Hm... This sounds like something my bf and I might enjoy watching to ridicule. We'd both laugh without either of us getting grossed out. (Erm, we watched Underworld together, and we squirmed at different types of gore--she flinched when the vampire ripped open her own vein, and I grimaced when another vampire smashed a werewolf's head in.)

Re: the title, I daresay some of your readers wouldn't be averse to offering ideas if we had some pointers into what you're looking for, but I also understand why you might not want to try that.