Monday, September 22, 2008

Kit Kittredge

We are not in a Depression. Not even close. We are simply, possibly on the verge of one. Keeping that in mind, you may want to consider giving your kids a lesson in spunk, to prepare them for riding the rails and selling apples on street corners.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hulu? You do!

It is lucky that Huxtabled's Diana Fisher and I live less than a mile from each other and can arm wrestle periodically, because the line between television and movies continues to blur. If I watch Slap Shot on a television through free On Demand, per Diana's recommendation, am I watching TV? A movie? Both? Has this question taken on the dimensions of a Zen koen at this point?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Casino Royale

I'm watching Casino Royale on Showtime and there's this great parkour chase toward the beginning. Bond is chasing some guy through Madacascar, first to a building under construction, then up scaffolding, from beam to beam, picking people off as necessary. These are crazy things you shouldn't watch if you suffer from vertigo in any way.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Bank Job

The Bank Job was not the movie we intended to see. Diana and I had every intention of seeing Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, because, as you all know by now, I really, really love Amy Adams. At the ticket counter, however, we discover that Miss Pettigrew is not playing. Crap. We scan the list of movies. They all look horrible, except the Bank Job. I have some glimmer of a memory that it was supposed to be good. It has a later starting time, so after we buy tickets, mine at a student rate, and Diana gets her parking validated, we run across to Starbucks for a quick chat. Diana has brought chocolate with her, so we just need beverages. Eating outside chocolate at a Starbucks table feels like a mini-heist, especially after getting two bucks off on my movie ticket. We feel like bandits. We stride back into the movie theater all cocky so, after a quick pee break, we take seats at the front of the second section, to stretch out our legs, like small-time hoods might.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

101 Dalmatians

Cruella DeVille is a great villain. When I was an earnest freshman at my first college, in Iowa, I went by myself to see 101 Dalmatians at the town's one screen theater. A couple of rows in front of me was an upperclassman who I recognized as being one of the prominent out gay men at the school. When Cruella came on the screen, he began to laugh archly and applaud pointedly. Throughout the show, it became increasingly clear to me that she was his favorite part of the whole movie.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

I avoided seeing Gone Baby Gone. I can't see things about children being hurt or killed or anything anymore. I don't even like to see headlines about it. However, Disney was kind enough to send me an advanced copy of the DVD this weekend, with the request that I review the movie. So, I watched it. On DVD. At home. This is hard for me. I had to wait until my daughter was asleep so I could properly focus. Then I had do do some dishes, and tidy a little. Finally, I sat down to watch with a cup of tea. My daughter was coughing in the next room, and after five minutes I had to pause the movie to bring her some milk. She sounded terrible. I got her tucked in, and headed back out to the couch and started to watch again, although I was still half-listening for coughing. After some time passed, I got caught up in the movie.

This is a very interesting movie. At its base, it is a hard-boiled detective movie, with true twists and turns. It also is dark, with really rotten characters. Dennis Lehane has set up another morality play, like Mystic River, in which right and wrong flip around on each other, slippery like fish just pulled from the water. Patrick (Casey Affleck) quotes his priest, who gave him this scripture when he asked about getting to heaven when surrounded with so much evil in the world: followers of the Lord are sheep among wolves, and must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. He sees Amanda McCready as a sheep among wolves, and then tries to strike his balance between serpent and dove. His associate and girlfriend, Angie (Michelle Monaghan), doesn't want to get involved for the same reason I didn't watch the movie: she is scared of what she might see.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


The movie Juno, as most of you know by now, tells the story of a high school girl who gets pregnant and has to decide what to do about it. She is headstrong and independent and on her own finds a couple to adopt the child in the Penny Saver, after a discouraging flirtation with abortion.

Juno's abortion clinic scene is controversial, and in the controversy I have noticed a generational split. My mother was pissed about it, and a friend of the family said that movies like this and Knocked Up were "playing into the hands of the right wing." Maybe. But, as I explained to this friend of the family, these movies were made by people in my generation, who, as children, were cannon fodder in the culture wars of the 70's. We were the casualties of the perfect storm created by the twin risings of the sexual revolution and second wave feminism. Mom was reading Betty Friedan while Dad checked out Penthouse, and at some point one of them needed to find themselves and/or get laid. The next thing we knew, we were sitting down for a talk about how Mommy and Daddy still loved us, and still cared about each other, but they were going to be living in different places now. Thirty years later, we're making movies like Knocked Up and Juno, if not The Squid and The Whale. Can you blame us?