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Technically a difficulty

So…yeah…I know we’re a tad late on our amazing podcast.  And we apologize.  We would have had it recorded tonight…in fact, we had recorded half of it when Dan’s computer decided to turn off, randomly.  He is still diagnosing the problem.  However, it being past midnight, and Dan having to work in the morning, it will be delayed one more day.  I apologize to anybody who may care.

In happier news, Why Did I Buy This podcast is now searchable on iTunes!  Huzzah!

Peet’s offers limited internets…

Reviews are hard to do when I don’t have an internet connection.   It is probably better for my attention span when I can’t continuously refresh facebook whenever my brain starts firing blanks for twenty minutes.  However, counter to my obvious awesomeness, I do not know off the top of my head who directed Six-String Samurai or what year “High Noon” came out.  I’m also unsure as to whether I’m supposed to italicize film names or put them in quotes.  Even if I have looked these details up a hundred and fifty-three times before, I still depend on IMDB and Google to give me instant info so that my review feels free-flowing and uninterrupted.

That being said, I could always just write some ellipses or make up data and highlight it in red so that I know to go back and enter the proper information later.  I should probably have just done that instead of admitting to my readers that I’m supremely lazy and I hate going back and editing.  Oh well, damage done.  Now to write my uninformed reviews!

Review: 127 Hours (2010)

I originally had zero interest in seeing this film.  I don’t hate James Franco; he just never struck me as particularly enjoyable to watch.  I watched him mostly in Freaks and Geeks and he was just there (I had a crush on Seth Rogen, but that’s another story).  When I saw the trailer for this film, I knew what it was about, essentially, and I knew it was based on a true story, but it really didn’t register in my head to care.  I didn’t think about how long 127 hours really was.  All that went through my head was, “To make it realistic, he’s going to have to go to the bathroom at some point.”

My friend J.J., with whom I am constantly getting in arguments over films, informed me that it was a terrific film.  Unfortunately, I’m stubborn, and I so enjoy annoying the crap out of J.J., so I refused to see it.  However, around Christmas my parents began gushing to me about how spectacular it was, and they managed to plant a little seed of curiosity.  By that time, though, 127 Hours was no longer in theaters!  I had to endure this ever growing, gnawing desire to see it while friends at work gushed about its beauty and wit.

After it was nominated for Best Picture (and James Franco for best actor), the movie was brought back to L.A. theaters, and, huzzah, I was able to see it.

For those of you that do not know, this film is about an amazing and inspiring man, Aron Ralston, who, while trekking out into the Blue John Canyon in Utah without informing anybody where he’d gone, has an accident wherein he gets his arm caught between a canyon wall and wedged boulder.  After being stuck for over 5 fulls days, Ralston has to decide whether he will resort to desperate measures or starve to death.  The film is based on Ralston’s autobiography, Between a Rock and A Hard Place, which I am currently reading.

I suck at watching gory films.  I spent the majority of my time while watching the Saw franchise covering my face with my hands and cowering under my blanket (I watch them for the stories, so sue me).  After watching all 7 of those films, I thought I had trained pretty hard before attempting to watch 127 Hours.  Just to be safe, I brought along a little stuffed frog Dan won for me at a carnival.  Even though Dan was at work, and couldn’t go see the movie with me, I thought it would be good to bring a little piece of him…to suffer along with me.

When the film approached the most intense part of the film, I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that I was well prepared.  However, when the gore started, I slapped that frog over my face while screaming in my head, “It’s worse than Saw!  It’s worse that Saw!”

Traumatizing scene aside, the film is fucking gorgeous.  I had to buy it on Blu-Ray because there is no other way to watch it.  The colors are vivid and breath-taking.  The fine details in the mis-en-scene add a dimension to the film which gives the eyes something to enjoy while the body feels just as trapped as Ralston.  Small environmental details, like a breeze blowing dust across the dirt floor or a thin shaft of sunlight making its way through the canyon maze draws the audience into a scene that nobody but the real Aron Ralston has experienced.

Even more entrancing is Director Danny Boyle’s effort to illustrate Ralston’s descent madness as he is trapped like an animal.  I can not fathom the thought processes a person would go through in such a situation.  Hell, I start screaming when I get my head stuck in a turtleneck.  To what lengths could the average person go just to survive?  Would a person starve to death rather than suffer excruciating pain at his own hands?  How unhinged does a person have to be in order to allow himself to take desperate measures to save his own life?  Boyle uses several different techniques to pull the viewer in to the minefield that is Ralston’s psyche such as a montage of refreshing beverage ads representing Ralston’s extreme thirst.  My favorite part was where Ralston thinks he hears something at night in the dark in the cavern behind him and he uses the flash of his camera as a light.  When the bulb goes off, a giant inflatable Scooby-Doo is standing behind him, and then with Scooby’s trademark cackle, it disappears.

I know that the threat of a little bit of mental discomfort is enough to turn some of you off the prospect of seeing this film, but I’m telling you that you are doing yourself a disservice.  This movie is a breathtaking example of storytelling genius.  With an extremely likable, albeit flawed hero, this film grabs hold of the viewer, and it doesn’t let go until the moment Ralston is free of that awful rock.  The catharsis in the end is worth the shit the movie puts you through.

127 Hours
2010
Director:  Danny Boyle

Review: The Sixth Sense (1999)

Dan and I are at a disagreement over whether The Sixth Sense is a horror film or not.  I guess he sees it as a supernatural-drama, whereas I can barely go to the bathroom alone after having watched it.  I know the little girl ghost, vomiting in Cole’s tent, is really just a sweet victim who isn’t acting maliciously; but knowing that does not make it any easier for me to fall asleep.

The Sixth Sense was directed by M. Night Shyamalan in 1999, and starred Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, and Toni Collette.  In case you don’t know the plot, essentially Osment plays Cole, a little boy with some social disorders, who starts seeing a psychiatrist to help him with his mental issues.

Goodness…’99 was 12 damn years ago!  Yikes.  That means I’m going to be coming up on my ten year high school reunion pretty soon…that’s just not cool.

I remember seeing this movie at the drive-in with my dad and siblings.  Whenever I see the part with the ghost throwing up, in my head I hear my dad exclaim, “Jeez!”  I can’t really do justice to my dad’s special way of exclaiming “Jeez!”  He usually grimaces and leans back from whatever it is he’s appalled by.  Then he laughs at his own reaction. He does this quite often with different movies (Like in The Shining when Jack Nicholson kisses the bloated corpse lady), but there is something special about his Sixth Sense “Jeez!” that just makes me smile.

It’s a shame that M. Night made The Sixth Sense first.  His movies since have been sadly lacking in the story, character, and cinematography that Sixth Sense demonstrated so nicely.  Now, I don’t cater to the conspiracy theory that Mr. Shyamalan jacked The Sixth Sense from somebody else, and that the rest of his films are actually his own [crappy] work.  I simply think the poor guy blew his load prematurely, and he has just been skating by on the acclaim from he first film.

I love and respect a good ghost story film, especially when there isn’t a human impetus behind the supernatural occurrences.   Bruce Willis was impressive in it, and nobody seemed to expect that after ten years of hardcore action films.  I was not terribly up on the Hollywood scene as a kid, so I only know what I heard from the people around me, but it seemed like nobody really thought Willis could pull off a straight dramatic part.  However, I think he blew all of their expectations out of the water.

I used to watch this movie a lot when I was younger, but it had been awhile.  I remembered it surprisingly well:  the lines, scenes, the amount of red imagery ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE.  However, I did forget how well the characters are portrayed, how much emotion is packed into such a small amount of action.  Toni Collette used to annoy the crap out of me.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it was her accent.  Whatever I disliked before, watching her this time, was not as big of a problem.

In several parts Collette, as Cole’s mom, Lynn, shows sincere concern for her little boy, who is being harassed by his classmates, his social anxiety, and the ghosts she can’t even see.  There were several parts in the film where Lynn talks to or holds Cole, and I couldn’t help but tear up.  Her panic over her son’s problems is palpable.  Even though I’m not yet a mother, myself, I still felt her genuine concern and could empathize.

I bought the dvd of The Sixth Sense sometime last year.  It is a special edition, although I don’t always care about the special features.  I didn’t even watch the disk until this week.  It was a film I’d always been meaning to buy, but had never really bothered.  It isn’t one that I’ll put in at any time.  I have to be in a certain mindset to watch it, but I am glad that I own it.  It is a very pretty, well-written, heartfelt film, and, while I would be very surprised to hear that somebody has not seen the film, I would definately recommend it.

The Sixth Sense
1999
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Hidey-ho!

Welp, here it is, the inaugural post for our wonderful dvd review blog!  Okay, yes…it does seem superfluous…but who cares, right?  My fiance, Dan, and I have amassed an ENORMOUS dvd collection over the last ten years.  The collection numbers well over 600, now, and, I’m ashamed to say, I haven’t even watched all the movies I own!  Some of the dvds even still have saran wrap on them!

As we counted up these films, scattered all across the floor in alphabetical order, some of which I’d never cracked open, Dan kept shooting me sidelong glances as I felt more and more sheepish.  Not only that, but there are some movies in there that I positively BEGGED for him to let me buy (*couDeadwood Season 2gh*) that are still sealed.  I mean, he loves me…or at the very least is rather fond of me.  He likes to buy things for me that I want…but the more things I want but don’t seem to actually want, the less he’s going to give into me…and that just cannot happen, am I right, people?!

As he started into a diatribe about my wastefulness and greed (I assume), I cut him off:

Me:  There’s a reason I bought all of them!!  I swear!
Dan:  Prove it.  *picks up A Man Apart*  Why did you buy this?
Me:  Timothy Olyphant.
Dan:  *picks up The Girl Next Door* ?
Me:  Timothy Olyphant.
Dan:  *points at the sealed second season of Deadwood*  ?
Me: *squeaking*  Timothy Olyphant…
Dan:  *picking up Go*  Timothy Olyphant?
Me:  Okay, that one actually has merit!  It’s funny, and the story is cleverly told, and there are strong, non-stereotypical male homosexual characters.
Dan:  *picking up Rockstar and Dreamcatcher*
Me:  Timothy Olyphant

Okay, that last part is embellished.  I would never own Rockstar OR Dreamcatcher…even sexy Timothy Olyphant isn’t worth that…I do have Die Hard 4 and The Crazies, though.

My point is that I own a crapload of movies, and a good portion of them I own for stupid reasons, but there are few in there that are for a purpose.  And what better way for me to justify my obsession with purchasing dvds and blu-rays than by using my amazing talent for journalism as a reviewer for my own personal collection?  Yes?  Okay…it’s a weak premise…but it gives me something to do on my days off that keeps me out of trouble and away from Judge Alex and Judge Pirro and Divorce Court.

I know that it is a little backwards writing the first post AFTER we’ve already recorded the first podcast…but I’ve never been the type to do thing the normal way…shut up, Dan.  I did listen to the premiere podcast episode…and it is pretty pitiful.  Dan is great…while I am a bundle of nervous laughter, made up of far too many “ums,” and “yeahs.”  I also realize that “winging it” is really not the way to go about this.  I can’t spend every episode describing every film as “amazing.”  That word is really the foundation that every bad film review is built on.

So how am I going to solve this, you ask?  I intend to write my blog reviews PRIOR to recording the podcasts.  That means that I will be forced to keep up with my reviews, otherwise I will not get to enjoy the fun that recording offers.  Also, I will have a rough outline of why exactly I bought a particular movie, and why I like it so much, and I will not have to spend the entire podcast hemming and hawing about why it’s “amazing.”  Dan may be writing a few blog entries, if the mood strikes him (and if I just do not care about a movie, like Joe’s Apartment *shudder*), but mostly he will probably just be joining me in the podcasts.  That means they will be much less critiquing of the movie and much more of a dialogue between the two of us.  I’m sure that we’ll find a couple films we do not agree on.  I look forward to those episodes.  Also, being the masochist that I am, I am hoping I can get a couple other friends who detest certain films (Jason, I’m looking at you), who wouldn’t mind a nice, civilized, healthy debate.  We can’t all be madly in love with 50 First Dates.

I hope this blog/podcast is informative.  Maybe it will introduce people to some movies they may have otherwise overlooked…afterall…there are a crapton of movies in the world…am I right?!

p.s.  Really I’m just using this an excuse to get Dan to watch some movies I’ve been trying to get him to watch for 8 years…you guys are just a pretense…so just go with it, okay?


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