Let’s talk about why A Christmas Story should be crowned the greatest Christmas movie. Holidays are ostensibly about family and the memories we make when we are with our family. The plot of A Christmas Story is not a big, showy production. It is simply about young Ralphie’s Christmas with his family and his hopes for the perfect Christmas present. Remember your childhood? Remember when you thought about what you would get for Christmas for at least a month? This is the highly effective hook of A Christmas Story. The story is told through the unique story device of an adult Ralphie providing the voiceover in retrospect.
As a child, my father sat the family down to watch A Christmas Story. I was initially uninterested. In the years holidays that ensued and the highly effective 24-hour cable marathons, pre-cutting the cord, watching A Christmas Story at least biannually became one of my family’s traditions.
This film is intentionally dated and intentionally cheesy. It is a way to connect to the child you were. When I watch this film with my father, it takes him back to his childhood. This is not because his childhood was exactly the same as in the the film. As an adult, I too experience nostalgia for this film.
This movie touches on many childhood struggles that a lot of us went through: the perfect Christmas toy, wearing giant snowsuits against our will, performing like a monkey at your parents’ request, meeting Santa, childhood fights, and dares. Most importantly, A Christmas Story is so effective at putting us in Ralphie’s shoes that we get to experience our childhood again, even if it was superficially different. It is family friendly-fare that is perfect to put on when everyone is gathered together this holiday season.
C’mon, let’s choose A Christmas Story as the greatest Christmas movie! Please join me in checking out the rest of the contenders over on the LAMB
When I first started seeing trailers for Project Almanac, I was definitely curious. This time travel flick about selfish high schoolers looked pretty darn good. The trailer sucked you in with a group of friends using time travel for their own gain. Then it turns kind of creepy when you see that time travel can, oops, screw things up.
Unfortunately, the movie didn’t live up to the trailer for me. I thought maybe it was one of those instances with two many writers and/or directors, nope. One director and two writers. I’m currently exhausted and didn’t even feel like writing this review. I thought I’ll find a review by someone with similar views and share that. I can’t find one! What? So, basically, others have issues with the science behind the film but embraced what disappointed me. My views are a bit different.
Yes, there are times that I thought, no, just no, that doesn’t make any science. Keep in mind, that I’m not scientifically minded. I’m pretty likely to not know if someone is using the correct piece when they are building something. I also don’t mind shutting off my mind to enjoy something fun, to an extent.
However, unlike others, I don’t believe that you need to see this JUST because it’s a time travel movie. As if, a dearth of movies means that poor ones should just exist to fill the void.
Have you seen the trailer? No?
Okay, now you have. You don’t even need to watch the movie. That is everything that you need to know and it doesn’t have to work because it’s a trailer. You are supposed to want more.
What happens? Okay, a guy, his sister, and his likable friends build a time travel machine based on his late father’s plans. Later, a “hot”, popular girl joins their group and decides that she’s an integral part of it. IMHO, she is not.
At first, everything seems fine, the kids get money, popularity, and sex. I’m not gonna lie, some of those scenes are amusing. They even get to see Imagine Dragons live. That’s super fun.
Then the lead decides to start jumping around through time solo and disasters happen. If I were one of the kids, I would have rationalized the hell out of being at fault for huge disasters though, as one does. This is when the illogical time travel starts really bothering me. Now, it’s not just for fun. He has to fix things, but with the way that things have been going, I can’t buy what follows. Plus, even if I tried, it’s like he intentionally mucks things up.
I did enjoy his friends, but they didn’t get enough screen time. His love interest is annoying and the sister wasn’t onscreen long enough for me to form an opinion.
Yes, I’m impressed that this movie was filmed for around $3 million and earned about 10 times that much, but going into it, I didn’t know that. As a casual viewer that shouldn’t concern me. Although, I’m sure producer Michael Bay is thrilled. Another plus is that the film wasn’t overly long. Some found the fact that it’s set up as a found footage film to be a detractor. It slightly enhanced it for me, making the creepy scenes a bit creepier. Maybe, my biggest issue is that the lead becomes unlikable, but not annoying enough to completely hate. I like to have some strong feelings one way or another when I’m watching someone’s story. I’m only giving it 2 out of 5 stars for the initial premise and fun section of them just goofing around for personal gain.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Anna Paquin as Rogue in X-Men, screencap by Mary Miracle
This shot is my choice for The Film Experience’s X-Men Hit Me with Your Best Shot series. In this series, we choose a shot from a movie that is in some way meaningful to us.
I had to go with this shot because of the relationship between Rogue and Wolverine in X-Men. X-Men is a visually stunning movie, especially considering that it is now 14 years old. Wow, time flies.
However one of the things that have always stood out for me is both Anna Paquin’s fantastic performance as Rogue and her tenacity in dealing with Wolverine. In Rogue, we have a character who is fearful of herself but not so much of hunting down the seriously tough Wolverine, in a dive bar so dangerous that I might not even visit.
Despite her fear of injuring others with her power, she can’t help but run to Wolverine’s side during a night terror. In the scene above we see him accidentally stabbing her due to a protective reflex in his sleep. Even in this situation, she is strong enough to come to terms with things quickly enough to heal herself from this deadly injury by feeding off of Wolverine’s power.
Of course, she hasn’t mastered her ability yet and is lucky not to kill him but we all have to start somewhere. I bet there are Freudian explanations of this scene out there equating it to penetration but I would disagree. Yes, there is unrequited sexual tension between them (since she’s a teen & he’s much older) but this is more about trust and friendship.
If you are one of those naysayers who hate True Blood and hence disparages Paquin’s acting, I urge you to watch not only this movie but her 90′s work. She’s always been quite talented. Dislike Sookie, if you want, but don’t blame it on Anna.
This post is for The Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot series. This series concerns choosing a shot from a current film that has been chosen and sharing why it’s your favorite shot and/or in some way important to you.
The Talented Mr. Ripley was released in the late ’90’s. While I don’t think that the ’90’s are a particularly important time for movies in general it was important to me. It was in the mid-’90’s, as a pre-teen, that I realized how much movies meant to me. Before that, I wasn’t old enough to care about any movie that wasn’t just pure fun, a drama like this wouldn’t have appealed to me. Luckily I grew up.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a long, yet fascinating film about sociopath Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) who is adept at studying and mimicking others. He uses this to his advantage when during happenstance he meets a rich father who hires him to bring his fun-loving son who has traveled abroad back to the US. The man assumes that he went to school with his son due to what he is wearing and sensing an opportunity he doesn’t disabuse him of the notion.
He studies up on the son, Dickie Greenleaf’s (Jude Law), interests to figure out how to endear himself to him after arranging a faux meet-cute. The only thing that I really find silly about the film is that Damon isn’t really considered one of the beautiful people (hence he wears glasses, ah!).
Tthere are many important moments in the movie. However, Tom often seems to wear a blank expression during key moments, which is what I often go for. Despite this, it was still difficult to choose a scene.
I chose the above scene as at this point in the movie he is going back and forth between playing Ripley and playing Dickie Greenleaf. To me it seems as if he’s looking in the mirror to see which he is playing at.
I also almost chose this last scene which is amazing but probably pretty obvious.
Yet another movie that I wouldn’t know existed if it weren’t for the amazing, VideoETA.com. You see VideoETA is a great resource for finding out both theatrical and home release dates of movies. Often while checking to find the date of a film I know about I discover hidden gems. These are often films that had a limited or direct to DVD release.
That was the case with Perfect Sense, also known as The Last Word. It is a perfect case of this, as the film was released in only 1 theater for 1 week. It was directed by David Mackenzie and written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. It was shot and set in Glasgow.
If you only saw the film’s cover you may just go in thinking that it’s a standard romantic drama but it’s so much more. This 2011 drama is the most disturbing movie that I’ve seen this year.
The movie is about a horrifying disease that individually steals humans’ senses. As the film progresses, we gradually see and feel the characters lose their senses of smell, taste, sound, and finally sight. It’s implied that they will eventually lose touch as well.
Although the movie shows how this would affect large populations of people in various countries (most likely using stock footage of actual riots, etc, which is also incredibly disturbing) it mainly focuses on how this would affect us as individuals.
The movie focuses on Michael (Ewan McGregor), a chef with intimacy issues, and Susan (Eva Green), a scientist who is sick of men mistreating her.
Despite her annoyance at the interruption of a phone call, Susan first meets Michael when he bums a cigarette from her. Their meet-cute takes place easily since he is a chef at a restaurant right across the alley from her apartment.
Despite her initial reticence at getting involved with a player, Susan decides to dine one night after hours with Michael. This is during the beginning of their loss of senses. This causes a very close connection between them as they simultaneously lose their sense of smell.
As they lose more and more senses they rely on and fall for each other. This is incredibly romantic and seductive. They let down their defenses and tell each other things they’ve never told another soul because they can feel everything ending and need something honest.
Want to go dancing?” “Sure” “Get drunk?” “Sure” “smoke cigarettes?” “Always”
Despite the interspersed footage of riots and the horror of the situation, including the fact that as someone who has been studying this epidemic from the beginning, Susan admits that no one really knows what will happen next, for a while things are going better than normal for the characters. Why? LOVE, of course.
Unfortunately, before the loss of each sense, humans experience a heightened sense or emotion. So before the loss of hearing they become very angry and violent. This is when Michael scares and drives away Susan after yelling terrible things at her and then wrecking his own home.
This causes them to be apart during the horror of losing their hearing. However, they both try their best to enjoy life as they can. Michael eventually goes back to work and Susan learns to love her sister’s family (instead of just being jealous of them).
“…and if there had been anybody left to see them, then they would look like normal lovers, caressing each others’ faces, bodies close together, eyes closed, oblivious to the world around them…”
With the impending loss of sight, our lovers realize how important love and being with those you love is. So they reunite as the darkness closes in.
In addition to love overcoming the worst, we are also repeatedly presented with the idea that life goes on and humans learn to adapt. This is often shown to great effect at the restaurant where Michael works. For instance, when people lose their sense of smell, which is tied to taste, the chefs decide that they must increase the spiciness of the dishes to really give the customers flavor. Later as taste goes dining out is more about texture and feeling special as you spend time with a loved one and are waited on.
Perfect Sense is most definitely not an easy film to watch. In fact, you may cry. However, it’s incredibly touching, interesting, and innovative. It is a must-watch!
Note: I think this is an amazing movie. I just reserve 5 stars for movies with rewatchability. That rarely includes dramas, especially ones this heavy. I can’t see me watching this over and over.