I’m sure you are all pretty tired of my mandatory vacation updates. Don’t worry. I am too. It took me a million years to write those. Or like, a couple of days but, you know…
So, in case you aren’t already aware, I love Netflix. And this past week was no exception. So let me tell ya what I think you might like, and what I think you should avoid.
First the documentaries (I eat these up. I could watch one every day of my life.)
This documentary looks at the effect that bottled water has on American dependence on oil, the degradation of the environment, the health of US citizens, and global warming. The website for the movie asks, “Is drinking water a basic human right, or a commodity to be bought and sold?” There are bazillions (yes, that’s a technical term) of dollars in bottled water, and the majority of the time, (40%) bottled water is just filtered tap water. Can someone say, “Brita filter?” Four stars.
Yes, I know it’s a Michael Moore movie, and for that reason some of you won’t even bother to read this blurb. While Moore does present a very one-sided piece of a complicated American story, there are parts that just can’t be “liberalized” or made to criminalize big business. What I found most interesting, when capitalism was in it’s heyday in the 1950s, it wasn’t capitalism at all because we had bombed or politicized our foreign competition into submission. Democracy wouldn’t be executed the way capitalism is executed today. Also the “invisible hand” that’s supposed to push the market along isn’t invisible, it’s just well-hidden by business, government, and bank investment into what it does. Four stars.
Ok, on to the non-documentary films.
This film tells the story of King George VI in England and his difficulty making speeches. He stutters, and people are very uncomfortable listening to him speak in public. Any speech he makes leaves the people feeling bored and unhappy. He seeks a speech therapist to help him overcome his stutter and in the process of learning about himself and his life, he quickly becomes king. When Britain is forced into war with Germany, he is forced to make a speech to the nation via radio. It’s an excellent movie. It should have won more Oscars than it did. Five stars.
Firstly, this movie had a star-studded cast! And they all performed so well! Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were a lesbian couple Nic and Jules with two kids. They each carried a child with donated sperm from Mark Ruffalo’s character Paul. When the daughter turns 18, her brother asks her to contact the sperm donor (since he’s not 18, he can’t). Paul then realizes that he wants to be a part of a family like Nic and Jules have. When he tries to insert himself into their family, things get a little messy. Good performances by all involved. They were all subtle, and not overstated, which was perfect for this film. Four stars.
If you love literature, if you love Virginia Woolf, if you just like a good chick flick, or a good feminist story, check this movie out. Another great performance by Julianne Moore, joined by Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman (who dons a fake schnoz to trick you into not knowing it’s her). All three women live in a different time: Kidman as Virginia Woolf in the 1920s, Moore as Laura Brown, an unhappy housewife (if you know me, you know this it what I live for) in the 1950s, and Streep as Clarissa Vaughn (get it? Clarissa Dalloway!) a lesbian taking care of her former lover in the 2000s. All three women have Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, and suicide in common. Great piece. Five stars.
Another author I just adore is Truman Capote. This movie chronicles his life as he was in the process of writing In Cold Blood, arguably his greatest and most influential work. Philip Seymour Hoffman (who did an excellent job in Doubt) played an excellent Capote. Capote was a controversial writer and human being with strange mannerisms and a babyish voice. But Hoffman really brings his A-game in this movie, and you can tell he worked hard and studied his character. I like that the movie illustrated how fickle and self-centered Capote could be. His main goal was his work and himself, and the movie didn’t sugar-coat it. But Hoffman’s character still comes off as likeable in the end. Also it gave me an excuse to try to get Sean to read In Cold Blood, one of my favorite books. Five stars.
Yes, this one is a little out of place in the general scheme of this post. It’s an animated Disney movie about Rapunzel. Nonetheless, it was the perfect Disney movie. There were kid jokes, adult jokes, funny moments, emotional moments. Disney has really gotten it down to an art. It tells the story of Rapunzel who was kidnapped from her royal parents only to be trapped in a tower by an evil woman. She leaves the tower on her 18th birthday to embark on an adventure with a thief who happens to be trying to escape capture when he discovers her tower. Guess where the end up? Not gonna tell ya! It’s good though! Four stars.
And now for a movie I think you might want to avoid.
While I’m all up on some John Cusack, I was a little disappointed by this one. Mostly it’s an excuse for the male crowd to hear the F word thousands of times and check out some jiggly 20-year-olds’ boobs. Yes, I went there. One guy of an old group of friends tries to commit suicide bringing the “old gang” back together. They take a trip to “Kodiak Valley” to relive their glory days, and *gasp* the hot tub is a time machine! They relive a night of their lives, and try to get back to the present without changing too much! Ahhh, the “Butterfly Effect.” Two stars. (and only because John Cusack is in it)
I don’t suggest it. Especially with your mom.
Do you have any movie suggestions? Recommendations? Good ones in your queue? Or movies to avoid?