Last Thursday, (my boyfriend) Nathan’s boss asked him to go out of town on very short notice. Friday morning, I drove him to work–he was hacking and sneezing and fighting a VERY nasty cold, and wasn’t looking forward to leaving cold Orlando (seriously, it’s been in the thirties) for even colder-ass Ohio (HELLO SEVEN DEGREES).
I was selfish–I was looking forward to a few nights without someone coughing in my face, as well as the general ‘Girls night out WHOOOOOO!~!11’ feeling. Although it isn’t like I’d be ashamed to eat ice cream, paint my toenails and watch girly movies in front of Nathan–hell, that’s how we do anyway.
But, rather than a crazy, pink toenail and Molly Ringwald-filled weekend, I started getting stuffy Saturday night, got right sick Sunday, and was home from work most of Monday and all of Tuesday. Here are the movies I watched, with short ratings and some kind of little blurb.
1. Coraline – **** out of *****
My thoughts on Coraline have been previously recorded, so I won’t go too far into it.
2. How to Train Your Dragon – ***** out of *****
A wonderful movie for adults and children, HTTYD is one of the best movies of the last year, period. Strong characters, excellent writing, compelling story, lush visuals, and an imaginative setting combined with somewhat familiar tropes to create some of the best entertainment in recent memory. Seriously–this movie surpassed entertainment and has become an instant classic.
3. Lilo & Stitch ***** out of *****
Same as above– one of the last of Disney’s traditionally animated movies was also, for me, one of the best. Perhaps I’m biased; Lilo and Stitch could have been inspired directly from my own life. As a weird child with no siblngs, my parents got me a kitten to keep me company, but she was aggressive and scratched and bit me quite a bit, although I wanted her to love me. Combine that with the enchanting story of how being an oddball can be both a gift and a curse, and you’ve got something tailor made to make me sob uncontrollably, especially while high on cold medicine.
4. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – Guilty Pleasure
There’s really no other reason for that. I can’t not like Elvira’s cheeseball 80’s movie; she’s a great character, fun and witty, and I totally wanted to be her when I grew up. Corny effects, a dumb storyline, it’s all there, but there’s still something more clever going on underneath–Cassandra Petersen, the brains behind the boobs, never met a double-entendre she couldn’t make work, and her game attitude gives the whole movie a campy feel.
Thus endeth the Weekend; Monday I went to work, but was soon too messed up to stay and came home.
5. Chicago – ** out of *****
The whole time I was watching Chicago, I could see it was a good movie, but I still couldn’t accept that it won a boatload of Oscars. Renee Zellweger, in all her biscuit-faced glory, was perfectly cast as Roxie Hart, a bored housewife with big dreams of show business and a poor grasp of the present or reality. You aren’t really supposed to like her, but she ought to at least be sympathetic and she never really was, to me. Plus, Catherine Zeta-Jones has never held that much interest for me, neither in her characters or the films she does. And Richard Gere is right out. Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly were wasted as supporting characters on the fringe of the main cast’s drama, and the musical numbers just didn’t grab me. I’m also not a huge Jazz dance fan, so that oculd be the problem.
6. All That Jazz – **** out of *****
If you’ve ever found yourself watching Jaws and thinking, “Man, that Roy Scheider is great in this, but he really ought to be in a big, semi-biographical showstopping musical about the life of Bob Fosse, in which he is a chain smoker and womanizer,” then I have good news!
I wasn’t sure what to make of All That Jazz. It popped up in the Instant suggestions and since I was too high on dextromethorpan to care, I watched the whole thing. Critics at the time called it both inspired and egomaniacal, and both are right: it feels wonderfully creative and self-indulgent at the same time. The dance numbers are total Bob Fosse, as he directed the film, and everything from the makeup to the sets to the dialogue has that tired, worldly feel that was so popular in the 70s. It is definitely a product of its time, and that is in no way a bad thing.
7. Brick – ***** out of *****
Rian Johnson’s sleeper hit about a high school kid trying to solve his ex-girlfriend’s murder probably sounds pretty damn boring on paper; but the noir spin on the events, and the riveting presence of Joseph Gordon-Levitt take this movie from common to something really head-turning. It’s a little hard to follow sometimes because the kids speak in codes, but it’s still worth a watch.
Wild Wild West – ** out of *****
I want to like Wild Wild West more than I do. I should like it–steampunk, Salma Hayak, Will Smith and Kevin Kline, western elements, and Kenneth Branagh devouring scenery as hammy villain Arliss Loveless–and yet I do not.
I think if Will Smith seemed to have been having more fun. . . or if he and Kline’s interplays hadn’t been so trite, it would have worked better. Groanworthy quips didn’t help either, and the weird racist humor (although Branagh makes it almost work) seems misplaced. If the movie’s tone had been different–less zany, perhaps? I’m not sure. It felt like they were making Men In Black in the Old West, except with giant mechanical spiders and. . . I just don’t know, the movie is like a glorious hot mess that I can’t figure out. But it was a goddamn hoot while I was sick. I sat as if mesmerized.
The Secret of Kells – ***** out of *****
I’ve put up a separate review of this one, so go there if you’d like to read it!
So that’s it for the Dayquil Hoedown, hope you were at least moderately entertained. I’m trying to get back into blogging more frequently, since I seem to be getting a litlte more traffic these days.