Feb. 11th, 2016 01:37 pm
misura: WC - Neal writing on window (Default)
[personal profile] misura
While I had assumed last weekend to be a writing weekend, instead, it apparently was a movie watching weekend.

I uh honestly can't remember the last time I watched a movie on TV, so this activity mostly boilt down to: retrieve a stack of (unsorted) DVDs, insert DVD in player, wonder why you paid money for this.

Or, you know, be pleasantly surprised at this movie you haven't watched for 5+ years actually being sort of fun, or even great.

In the spirit of positivity, I'll talk about three of the movies that I loved:

Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor (2004)

This movie starts with the main character waking up because a dog is licking his crotch. It gets better from there. (Unless, of course, you think a dog licking someone's crotch is hilarious, in which case: it never gets quite that good again, but it comes close!)

It is, at various times, a typical sports movie about a team of underdogs, a social commentary, an excellent satire, a spoof of sports movies about a team of underdogs, and a feel-good movie about how to save the world (or, well, your world) by being a nice human being. This, in a nutshell, is why I love it. The Big Damn Queer Kiss at the end helps, but I fell in love with this movie mostly because it's just enough of a spoof to avoid the whole 'you can do anything if you just believe/want it badly enough' trope which is ... not really my favorite thing.)

The basic plot is that Peter, the owner of a modest gym, needs to either come up with $50.000, or lose his gym to a rival gym owner, who plans to bulldozer the place and turn it into a parking garage. So, naturally: dodgeball!

Peter is, to some degree, a loveable loser, but the movie plays up the loveable part and downplays the loser part: yes, if Peter had been less easy-going, he might not have gotten into debt, but then, if Peter had been less easy-going, he wouldn't have been Peter anymore. (Also: girls prefer dating a nice guy over dating a jerk who happens to be rich, cocky and successful. Thanks for that, movie!)

... Okay, maybe I love this movie as much for the stuff it doesn't do as for the stuff it does, but when I started this movie, my expectations were very, very low, and it exceeded them by a lot. Plus: dodgeball!

Caveats: comedy (always a matter of personal taste), Justin Long in bondage gear
Selling points: comedy, Alan Tudyk as a pirate (yes, it's a sports comedy. your point?), Justin Long in bondage gear (I really don't know if this is a Thing people want to see), Alan Tudyk as a shirtless pirate (what do you mean: I didn't sell it to you the first time?)

Crimson Tide
Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Viggo Mortensen (1995)

This movie starts with the main character attending his daughter's birthday party. It gets grimmer from there.

It is, most of the time, a drama with an all-male cast set in a submarine. Supposedly, there's a plot about how the characters' actions may cause a nuclear war, but I'm not sure if anyone going into this movie really believes things might get that far. The question is how it will not get that far, and, of course, who will still be left standing (physically and/or career-wise) by the end of the day.

The basic plot is that Hunter, a by-the-book kind of guy, gets attached to the crew of the USS Alabama, a nuclear submarine under the command of Captain Ramsey, who is more of a Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What I Want/What's Right kind of guy. Accompanying Hunter is his best friend; accompanying Ramsey is his Jack Russell and, of course, a sub full of people who think their Captain is awesome and to whom Hunter is 'the new guy'.

In some movies, the by-the-book guy would automatically be wrong. This is not one of those movies. On the other hand, Ramsey isn't necessarily wrong, either. This balance is what makes the movie work - or not work, if you prefer clear lines between the Bad Guys and the Good Guys.

Caveats: character-driven drama (always a matter of personal taste), American patriotism, occasionally pompous soundtrack (it worked for me often, but not always, f.e.: did we really need a choir to accompany images of a submarine doing a typical submarine thing (submerging)?), character death. Also: skip if you want female characters in your media
Selling points: grey areas, angst, surprise!geekiness in the form of Star Trek references (once), a little dog

Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel Jackson (2002)

This movie starts with a guy in a tuxedo getting shot at a Rammstein concert. It gets less German from there.

It is, most of the time, an action movie with a dose of humor, made by people who maybe, sort of didn't like James Bond that much. Do not expect casinos, caviar or - well, no, there are some expensive cars, actually.

The basic plot is that Xander, a rebel with kind of a cause (maybe?) gets recruited by the NSA to infiltrate a group of Russian terrorists. Where by 'recruited', obviously, I mean: gets threatened with a jail sentence for posting on-line videos of himself stealing a conservative politician's car after said politician had made public statements about wanting to ban videogames. So yeah.

Essentially, this is just a fun action flick with Vin Diesel in it. Some of the gadgets/plot elements may work for you, some may not, but if you're looking for something to go with popcorn, I think you could do a lot worse than this one.

Caveats: Vin Diesel as an action rebel/hero (again), ... without Paul Walker (like a F&F movie without Dom?)
Selling points: Vin Diesel as an action rebel/hero (again - no surprises here; if you liked him in other movies, no reason why you shouldn't like him here, too), competent Eastern European law enforcement (I feel that this is a Thing)

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