Monday, March 22, 2010

Movie Monday

We celebrated the first day of spring here in north Texas with snow. Yes, more snow. And it's interesting how we always seem to get our snow on weekends when I've committed to do something that requires leaving the house. Nearly 90 percent of the year, weather isn't an issue for me because I don't have to go anywhere, but we seem to have bad weather on the few days when I really have to go somewhere. This time, it was a writing seminar, and I think I'm having trouble recovering because it was very intense and draining and my brain is now tired. I'm also having to rethink a lot of stuff about the current project, though the good news is that I'm on the right track and a lot of this stuff was already there. I just have to figure out how to work with it.

The seminar ended mid-day on Sunday, and oddly enough (this always seems to happen), some of the movies referenced as examples were on TV that afternoon and evening. Plus, there was a movie we were assigned to watch for the seminar. So, in spite of spending the weekend at a seminar, I have a good Movie Monday.

Our assigned movie was Lars and the Real Girl, which is one of those movies that isn't at all what it sounds like. It's about a very shy and damaged young man who orders one of those "real dolls" on the Internet and decides it's his girlfriend. Sounds a bit kinky and potentially raunchy, right? But it's actually a very sweet movie that's totally clean, and it's about people who go to church. The doll seems to be his coping mechanism for dealing with a world that scares him, and the people in his town go along with it, embracing "Bianca" and in doing so, help him learn to open up to people. I'd classify this as bittersweet comedy. There are some hilarious bits, like when he introduces his new girlfriend to his older brother, but even some of the funny stuff has a tinge of sweetness and sadness underlying it. It's very touching how the townspeople really get behind all this. I bawled all the way through it. It's very much a story about community. I checked it out of the library because it as assigned, but I may buy the DVD because this would fall into my category of "good cry" movies -- something cathartic and yet feel-good that allows you to cry without getting depressed.

The movie Aliens was brought up as an example of a sequel that worked because it created a totally different situation and an inner arc for the main character, and that was on Sci Fi yesterday afternoon. It seemed like they ran the theatrical version instead of the TV version that had all the added character stuff. I need the extended edition on DVD because I really love that movie. The later movies Do Not Exist because the entire story of this one was about saving the little girl, and they are not allowed to negate it by killing her between movies. So in my Happy Fun Denial Land, Ripley and Hicks are off bringing up Newt together in a pleasant place with no monsters. I think I even could have dealt with a sequel about them all settling on some colony together as a family and then having to bring the colonists together to defend the colony against the aliens. Okay, so we don't know for sure that Ripley and Hicks would have ended up together, but the subtext of most of their scenes had an almost romantic note. I've always loved the way their relationship was developed (especially in the extended version) because it's appropriate to the situation. When acid-bleeding alien monsters are after you, it's not the time or place to fall in love or think about sex, but you may notice and appreciate how the other person deals with the situation and you may form a team that could grow to something else when the crisis is over (and that's another reason to hate the sequel, because it means they didn't get a chance to see how they got along when the crisis was over).

I did flip during commercials to the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family, mostly to giggle at the fourth movie, which is now mostly known for having a guest cast that went on to be far more famous for entirely different things. So we get to see the future sparkly vampire get killed by Voldemort (yay, Voldemort!) and we also get to see David Tennant being evil (and heavily caffeinated). Supposedly, they were going to have previews of the next movie during this marathon, but I never caught them.

And then Slumdog Millionaire was on HBO, after the seminar teacher talked about it in terms of arcs and structure. I wasn't expecting to like it, and I've never gotten around to watching it in its many HBO runs, mostly because I really loathe game shows, and I did just about have to mute those sections of the movie, but by the end, I was really caught up in it. I love it when you see multiple plot threads or timelines come together and when things that happened in the past pay off, so that aspect of the movie was a lot of fun. I'm not sure I would want to watch it again, but it was interesting to see.

On an entirely unrelated note, one of our radio stations here is doing a "March Baldness" competition, and one of my friends made it to Round 2. Voting ends Tuesday at 5 (Central time, I assume), so I thought I'd throw the weight of my legion of minions (okay, couple of readers) behind him. Go here and vote for "Jimmy from Arlington," the one with the tea light "devil" horns (I was there when that picture was taken).

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