Monday, June 13, 2011

Movie Un-Recommendations

Tonight, Brad and I are relaxing on the patio behind our house, listening to Coltrane on his iPod speakers, futzing with the new fire pit, and just generally enjoying one another's company. B/c the breeze is so nice (or chilly, if you ask me - and I've got the sweater, fleece pants, and blanket to prove it) and the light is out so long, we're doing our version of communing with nature instead of what we usually do on nights like this - that is, on summer nights when I've got no work to do. (For the record, I do have school tomorrow, but I turned in my translation of the opening of The Trial this morning.) 

Normally, we curl up on the couch in front of the flat screen and, if there's no Burn Notice or True Blood or NCIS going on, we watch a movie from Netflix or RedBox or our personal stash of DVDs, or something streaming from Netflix on our super high-tech excessive BluRay (a gift from the in-laws, of course). 

A lot of the movies we've recently been watching, however (with the exception of Inception), have been so crappy it hurts. It seems that every now and again we get to the point where we've exhausted all of the movies of mutual interest, and we end up watching garbage (of seemingly mutual interest). Well, we're at that point. Now we need to take a little break from our flick viewing so that I can stop saying, "I can't believe I just wasted my life on that crap!" 

To hopefully save you from the same fate, here are the movies that have bored, irked, baffled, and just plain disappointed us in the past 2 months (in no particular order). They definitely receive my heartfelt un-recommendation. 

   Black Swan 
This was obviously my pick. And I've paid for it mightily in the form of groaning and moaning from Brad. I figured all the critical raving about it meant it was worth seeing. And, after all, Natalie Portman - who I like a lot - won the Oscar. Well, it sucked. Her performance was one dimensional ("a crazy, frigid ballerina," is Brad's description, and he doesn't say this lightly - he, like, loves her), the movie could've been an hour and 5 min. instead of an hour and 48 min., and the lesbian love scene was so over-hyped

Vincent Cassel was probably the best thing about this movie. He seems to often play a somewhat unhinged person, and he does to quite well. But that's about all I have to say in favor of this one. Don't see it unless you feel obligated to watch all of the "hip" movies of the year. 

   True Grit 
Love love love Jeff Bridges, and he does a nice job in this movie. (He's a U.S. Marshal named "Rooster" Cogburn.) The main female character does a nice job, too, but the story is really slow, it doesn't get interesting until the last 25 minutes (of an hour and 45 min.), and Matt Damon (whom Brad and I adore) plays a mostly lame and uninteresting (though at times humorous) Texas Ranger. I was a little shocked when Brad told me it was a western. but I went with it. Oh, folly. 

The ending is so so so unacceptably unsatisfying that any ground the movie might have made up in the last 25 min. is instantly lost. Even Brad, who feigned interest, was greatly shocked and irritated by the non-ending. The movie's based on some book, by the way. That's all I got. It was dumb. 

   Taking Lives 
I don't know why you would see this movie now - it's from 2004 - but we just watched it yesterday. Angelina Jolie is her usual gross, skanky self. (Those lips give me nightmares.) Ethan Hawke is his usual rat-looking, feminine-sounding self. The plot was what you might expect from something called Taking Lives - serial killer, FBI agent, childhood baggage, questions about who's who, etc. etc. There was a pretty hot sex scene, but it was too drawn out. We normally like these kinds of movies b/c they keep our attention and don't require much thought or emotional involvement; this one required a great amount of thought, however: we had to answer, Why did we pick this? 

(Even though I can't stand Angelina Jolie, we did enjoy Salt recently.) 

This movie's got one majorly great thing going for it: Bobby D. 

Brad and I are somewhat obsessed with Robert DeNiro (can you be "somewhat" obsessed?), and so we'll sign on for most anything he does (including American Express . . . okay, not really, but still). But even he and Edward Norton couldn't save this movie from Milla Jojovovich and a horribly slow and unexciting story line. Mil-Jo, as Brad calls her, is just awful in my opinion (in his opinion: hot), and this film was no exception. 

I wanted to like this movie - it's serious, nicely filmed, trying to be complex and grapple with deep themes. But it's just a disappointment. Another one with not enough going on either plot-wise or character-wise, and although I might be the only person who feels this way, a thuggish, convict Edward Norton just isn't very convincing to me. 

   Perfect Getaway 
Okay, so we didn't see this in the last 2 months, but it was so bad and I dislike Mil-Jo so much that I've got to mention it. Steve Zahn is the other "name" in the movie, and he's also endlessly irritating to me. This was a sort of - I don't know - psychological thriller? or something. It did have me "tricked" - that much I'll say for it. But it was so over-the-top and stupid-weird that I just couldn't wait for it to be over. There was no interesting depth or nuance to the psychological level - just weirdness and craziness. And I can't stand Mil-Jo!


  1. I can sympathize with Brad. The movie is awful, pure and simple. My wife made me come along. And like ol’ Brad, I too moaned and groaned all the way through it. Having my legs waxed would’ve been more enjoyable!

  2. Oh, I know, isn't it awful!? I couldn't even defend myself other than to say, "But she won the Oscar!" He was not moved by such arguments. (And he quite enjoyed the notion of leg waxing as more enjoyable.)