Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Occupied Spring Holiday

Good evening everyone. I must begin by saying how dreadful I've been feeling the past two days. Spring break has ended, to my utter dismay, and there is an unspecified void within me. Perhaps because I didn't watch every movie I had in mind of watching during the break? The damage was augmented when I returned to "work" today to discover that I had not completed my assignments correctly. Have I made a note of what a stiffly-stifferson my boss is? Therefore, in addition to my weekly load, I had to adjust my work that was due today, which irritated my awful allergies and induced aches in my skull. Quite a day I've been having, isn't it? What makes it worse is that I'm thinking what happened wasn't all that terrible, which causes me to feel like an intolerable child who thinks the world ends whenever they don't get their way. Believe me when I say I am striving to be as far away from that person as possible. (I'm not referring to anyone in particular, in case the italics threw you off.) Without further ado, allow me to describe my ideal spring break, which I will refer to as a "holiday" because the term "spring break" suggests the clich├ęd drinking and partying that I was not a part of.
(This was written on Monday.)

This wonderful holiday did not truly commence until Sunday, the third day of spring break, when I ventured over to my dad's place. Rather than telling you exactly what I did, with such repetitive sentences as "And then we watched...", I will point out the highlights and singularly interesting events that occurred within these rapid seven days. Oh, how quickly they went by....

Entrapment - I figured this would be a pleasant start to the holiday, considering how much we enjoyed it the many times before. This time, however, we did not enjoy it the same way we used to, rather it was more of Sex and the City-humor, if anything. I cannot account for why this is, honestly. How can a movie we found to be truly funny transform into a corny embarrassment for all actors involved? One factor that was especially distracting was the romance between Catherine Zeta-Jones and her father, Sean Connery. That was a joke, for Sean Connery is neither her father on-screen or off, though he might as well be. It's so strange that just now, after the fifth time I watched it, the awkwardness is so noticeable. Also, the script was absolute rubbish, as all of the actors' lines were so corny and the plot itself was rather ridiculous. Robbing two, high-profile establishments in two weeks, without standard preparation? No. 'Twas a damn shame to lose what was once a decent movie, a damn shame I say.

Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey - Is it just me, or are they the most adorable screen couple of the decade? It's hard to believe they only made two movies together. Nonetheless, in each of them, they displayed such great chemistry, despite their lukewarm reviews. When it comes to romantic-comedies nowadays, one must simply ignore the critics and enjoy the quality of them for what they undeniably are: good stuff. Now, what makes these two so magnetizing to watch is each of their charisma and the fact that they seem to really be having conversations, as if the camera is merely capturing reality. In How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Kate Hudson plays Andie Anderson, a how-to columnist whose mission is to make a guy dump her in ten days, while Matthew McConaughey plays suave advertising executive Benjamin Barry whose goal is to make a woman fall in love with him in ten days. Coincidentally, the two meet and use one another for their motives, which is such a funny and enjoyable concept. What follows is a romantic battle of pulling the rope back and forth (tug-of-war, if I'm not mistaken), and it is delightful. The couple's next film is Fools' Gold, where they now play a recently-divorced couple who reunite to find valuable treasure. Not as strong as the former film, Fools' Gold still incorporates the two actors' wonderful chemistry. Matthew's laid-back, smooth charm and Kate's adorable and keen wit combine to create one of the greatest romantic-comedy duos. Inadequate acting, the critics say? Bullshit.

Six Degrees of Separation - A hidden gem, this truly is. I've barely heard of this surprisingly remarkable film, other than the fact that Will Smith is in it and he may or may not be a homosexual here. He is, by the way, and he really proved to have acting abilities, good ones too. Here, he portrays a charming, individualistic con man, who I call individualistic because he does not behave the way African Americans usually do. (Time to tip toe across sounding discriminatory.) Not only that, but he is so suave and calm that he does not make the white people around him appear to be lower than him, or even unintelligent. Typically, in these precarious situations where there is only one black man surrounded by a group of classy white folk, the director portrays the black man as highly superior compared to his companions, therefore stating how blacks are generally better than whites. Then again, who really cares who's better? And who is to boldly declare who is better? Are we in an eternal competition of races? (Carrie Bradshaw moment. Forgive me.) Stockard Channing, known for Grease I assume, garnered an Oscar nomination for the film; it was one of those out-of-place nods, I'm sure, for this movie, as I've said, is not very known. (Like when Anne Hathaway was nominated for that movie.) She was impressive as the socialite who is heavily intrigued by Will Smith's enigmatic character and abandons her upper-class status as a result. Anyway, The Six Degrees of Separation was a marvelous film, and, once again, one of many hidden gems of cinema. Right now, I am informing you of this dazzling jewel, and urging you to see for yourself what you're missing.

Niagara - Another hidden gem, though it's more of a hidden piece of scarp metal. I'm sure you've never heard of this film, and there is no reason you should have, as it is an obscure fragment of the 1950s, and there are many out there. What makes this particularly special, so special we actually unearthed and watched it, is because of its star: the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. This was well before Some Like It Hot and when her ultimate fame peaked, and she was as stunning as ever. Watching her grace the screen in color really made me regret Billy Wilder's decision of not filming Some Like It Hot in color, for she would be an absolute beauty were she in color. Even in black-and-white, Marilyn is beautiful, but in color she would be a dream. As we watch Niagara, Marilyn Monroe seems unreal, as if it were supernatural that she spoke and moved about as a person does. She is simply too gorgeous to comprehend that she is a human, like you and I. The film itself was completely pointless. It had absolutely no purpose whatsoever, and should have been constructed into a sort of short rather than an eighty-minute production. After about twenty minutes or so, I was already growing bored, and even fast-forwarded without missing a beat. This is really a film you can overlook, which I'm sure you already have.

Adventures of Tintin - Here, we have a disgraceful snub on the Academy's part. In a year of inadequate animated features, Steven Spielburg emerges with Tintin, a whimsical adventure that would tickle the delight of anyone. That is, if they enjoy adventures and animations. This film reminds me very much of Indiana Jones, from the high-speed getaways, two-dimensional villain, and the exhilarating settings. Exhilarating may be a bit exaggerated a term, but it was indeed adventurous. While it rightfully earned its award for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes, it was completely ignored at the Oscars, instead bestowing the honor to Rango. Although I haven't watched that one, to objectively compare both features, I am almost certain I wouldn't enjoy it, on account of the odd-looking animation. Also, the combination of John Williams's marvelous musical score and Andy Serkis's stellar CGI-talent most definitely conquers over Johnny Depp's creepy lizard. Don't trust the critics, once again, for Tintin is a delight.

Ghost Town - Let the record show that I adore Ricky Gervais. Despite the public's general abhorrence for the "British funnyman" (as they so often label him), I absolutely adore the man. He is the frontman for two original and even ingenious films, which include this one here: Ghost Town. It follows the life of a grumpy dentist named Bertram Pincus, who momentarily dies from an operation (which the hospital denies responsibility for, naturally) and thereby gains the ability to see ghosts. What I find amusing is that every time a person passes through a ghost, whom the average person cannot see, they sneeze. This is amusing because now, every time I sneeze, I assume I went through a ghost and excuse myself under my breath. Anyway, Pincus, at first, is naturally stiff and unresponsive to people around him because, obviously, he dislike people in general. Over time, he begins to help ghosts finish their unfinished business, which has a deeper, more profound even, meaning beneath these simple tasks. I'd rather not give away the plot, as I subconsciously do on occasion, so, please, find a chance to see it.

Sex and the City 2 - This may be more than the twentieth time I've seen this. It may be an illness, as I'm led to believe by certain symptoms, such as questioning myself the way Carrie does from time to time and even acting as idiotically as the four of them do. I'm ashamed to admit that I am infected with this horrid virus, and incredulously pleased to say I'm infinitely glad to have such a movie as this. I've said this before, and I'll repeat it now: This movie is a work of utter ingenuity.

I Love You Phillip Morris - Jim Carrey plays Steven Russell, a good 'ol boy from the South who is happily married and a proud member of the police squad. After a car accident, he decides to leave his traditionally blissful life and become a con man, later ending up in prison. Amusing premise, right? There's just one thing I forgot to mention: he's gay. Thus crushing what could have been a humorous film. Knowing the key element, I reluctantly started to watch it, since it is with Jim Carrey after all. Twenty minutes in, I simply could not bear to view the vile images that would be shamelessly flaunted on the screen. Abominable of me, you say? Well, it seems audiences agree, considering the mere two-million gross based on a thirteen-million budget. Ouch. Seriously, delicate manners aside, could you sit there and watch an actor whom you admire and respect commit such deeds as...thrusting? (Pardon my vulgar language.) I'm sorry, but it is rather unsettling to behold.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie - I thought it was worth mentioning that they are, indeed, engaged. No, seriously, they are. Then again, are they?

Not Another Teen Movie - What may be the best spoof to date, this follows the life of Janey Briggs, a Rachel Leigh Cook-type of dork who becomes the center of a bet placed by Jake Wyler, a Freddie Prinze Jr.-type jock. Sound familiar? Chris Evans (that guy who plays Captain America, in case you weren't aware) proves he has incredible comedic talent, and could possibly have amounted to the Charlie Sheen of spoofs, as well as delivered us better spoofs over the years. (When I say us, I mean everyone who enjoys a really good spoof, not this recent garbage we've been bombarded with. I find myself amused by the fact I include you in my wishes, as if you all want the same things as me. Then again, don't you?) In between, the film lampoons many other teenage flicks, including Cruel Intentions, Bring It On, and Can't Hardly Wait. Unfortunately, this movie is not as well-known as the spoof of the twenty-first century. Though believe me when I say that this is far better than Epic Movie. That was a bit of sarcasm because Epic Movie was terrible. And Not Another Teen Movie was excellent. Really, though, you should definitely catch this on the flip side. Or just watch it.

American Pie - The teenager movie: masturbation, drunken parties, best friend pacts, and, of course, prom.

Pulp Fiction - A modern classic. Yes, this term is applied to the brilliant film quite often, but that is obviously because it is true. The film is a genuine piece of remarkable cinema destined to be cherished for years to come. In fact, it already has achieved that status, wouldn't one concur? Quentin Tarantino devised an amazing, and definitely most original, script with several interlinked plots, which is always a positive factor. He creates such a fantastic film, filled with simple, casual conversation (something you would find in Seinfeld, perhaps) and surrounded by senseless violence. Maybe not as far as senseless, but rather gruesome. Perhaps not gruesome, but pretty damn bloody. John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman, as a group, represent this film's beauty. From the image of Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield shooting down a witness to Mia Wallace's seductive cat-like stare and magnetic black bangs. And, of course, the timeless twist with Vincent and Mia. Sensational. This entire film is pop culture. Every scene is a portrait of the film, absolutely exquisite at every angle. The dialogue, the acting, the overall exhilaration when watching it. Everything is utterly magnificent. Clearly, viewing this film a second time has intensified my original admiration for it from when I first watched it. With confidence, I can call Pulp Fiction one of the greatest films ever made. Though I hope this doesn't sound like I'm kissing anyone's ass. (What was the point of those last two sentences? A cheeseburger is called a Royale with Cheese in France.)

Michael Fassbender - While I've only seen two films of this actor's work (three, as of Tuesday night), I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this man has a bright future ahead of him. Actually, that future has already arrived with the past year of all those great movies, but it may become brighter on account of, say, an Oscar perhaps? He has already come close last year with his controversial turn in Shame as a sex-addict, so it won't be long until his name shows up on the nominee ballot. But this is just hope talking. The two films I've seen him display his acting prowess are Inglourious Basterds, as charming British Lieutenant Archie Hicox, and X-Men: First Class, as the eventual villain Magneto. In the latter film, he plays more of a key role, and demonstrates his amazing talent as well as his ability to act any role with success. Other films of his productive year include Jane Eyre, where he plays the "brooding" Mr. Rochester, and A Dangerous Method, where he plays sex psychologist Carl Jung. (I call him sex psychologist loosely, as he mainly explores psychoanalysis along with Freud, and only analyzes sex separately. I believe.) Michael Fassbender is meant for the highest esteem, and I can say with assurance that he will, or possibly already has, achieve-d that. Indeed, and he's rather dashing as well. He most certainly is.

Triplets and Twins - How are they going to pull off adding Eddie Murphy to the mix of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, as already odd pairing? I guess those scientists forgot to mention that they included the sperm of Shaft in the Benedict milkshake, explaining Danny DeVito's street-smarts. And hasn't the period where a sequel is generally accepted passed its due date? Nearly twenty-five years later! Plus, the original Twins aren't looking so fantastic, what with Arnold's general age-effect and Danny's strange blond hair. Considering how much as I love this movie, as well as root for Eddie Murphy's one comeback-type success with the critics, I am completely optimistic about the upcoming movie. (There is no release date at this time.) Whether it is well-received or the champion of Razzies, my dad and I judge the movie for ourselves, not on what "society" deems acceptable. I said that last sentence with a little George Costanza in it. Appreciated, I bet.

Friday the Thirteenth - The day, not the movie. This may have been the best Friday the Thirteenth I've ever remembered having. We started the day by going shopping, a less-than thrilling task but nevertheless bearable. Then we picked up some Chinese food on a whim, which was deliciously fresh as it was relatively early in the day and well before lunch hour. For our film platter, we has Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (followed by a short nap, Six Degrees of Separation, and Twins. Lovely, simply lovely.

Star Wars marathon - Epic. What else can one expect from such an iconic saga?

Midnight in Paris - Once again, an absolute delight. A perfect ending to a perfect holiday.

Behold, my wonderful spring holiday. I know there were a few sentence-long descriptions for some movies, culturally significant ones too, but never fear for I shall elaborate more another time. Now, my stomach is begging for sustenance and I'm afraid of my mother when it comes to eating. Farewell!

Here is my film scorecard for the holiday:

Day One
Fools' Gold
Day Two
Night at the Roxbury
Adventures of Tintin
Ghost Town
Day Three
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Sex and the City 2
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back
Day Four
Sinbad and the Golden Voyage
American Pie
How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days
Just My Luck
Not Another Teen Movie
Scary Movie
Day Five
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Pulp Fiction
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (100th Movie!)
X-Men: First Class
Day Six
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Six Degrees of Separation
Day Seven
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
American Pie 2
Midnight in Paris
The Incredibles

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