1. Rabbit Hole
Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of Very Serious Dramatic Films, but my ex-girlfriend likes those, and wanted to watch Rabbit Hole, so we did. Rabbit Hole is this very depressing movie about Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart’s characters, who are a married couple who lose their son in this awful accident, and then their marriage gets all terrible and Nicole’s character begins this questionable friendship with the guy who is responsible for the tragic deadly accident, etcetera… Very depressing. And I got into it! I’m not sure why. But anyways yeah, Rabbit Hole, check it out, I guess.
I love a good dumb comedy. I really do. There’s not much I enjoy more than vegging out on snack food and drinking while watching a stupid, hilarious movie (or standup special). However, there’s a difference between good dumb comedies and bad dumb comedies, and it can be hard to discern in advance of actually watching the movie (I do a lot of advanced detective work to smell out whether I’ll like a movie in advance, because I’m a huge nerd). Anyways, with dumb comedies it’s tough, because they tend to get mediocre reviews, and you can’t really trust the reviewers, whether professional or just average viewers, because successful dumb-ass comedy is a very subjective thing.
Anyways, I thought Step Brothers fell into the bad dumb comedy camp. Because it didn’t get a lot of hype when it came out and some people told me it was bad.
But I watched it and parts of it are funny as hell. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, predictably, are fun to watch, and there’s parts where it goes kind of overboard, like where scenes become slapsticky or insane in unpredictable ways, and that was fun. Sidenote is that Ted Danson’s wife, who’s in the movie, is hot and apparently never ages (Mary Steenburgen, I just googled it).
3. Water Lilies
I watched this French movie I think because I was given a screener while in college, I think to review it for the college newspaper, because it was in this festival on campus or something. I’m not sure anymore. Anyway, I watched it without it having been my idea really to watch it, and I thought it would be like your typical Festival Movie, like slow, stately indie drama that’s kind of not that satisfying and feels like homework or just like, “meh…okay.”
But I liked it, as it turned out. It’s about this young girl who becomes friends with another girl and they’re both on the synchronized swimming team. And then their friendship takes some turns, etc, and I won’t ruin it. For some reason I got into it.
4. Death Proof
I guess it would be overstating it to say I thought this movie would suck, but I had heard from good friends of mine that there’s too much dialogue and it’s not Tarantino’s best and blah blah. But I watched it and thought it was a lot of fun. There’s a lot of memorable scenes, some very exciting parts (especially the ending), and I enjoyed all the talking. I would highly recommend it. In fact, I was living with a bunch of dudes at the time, this was in college, and I made at least one of my roommates watch it that same weekend, so I saw it like 2 or 3 times that weekend, and it was fun every time.
It feels mean to say that you thought a lovable kids movie would suck, so I’m not saying that, but when the guy whose apartment I was crashing at put this movie on, it was as a joke, because we were amusing ourselves by going through the surprisingly vast kids version of Netflix Instant. Anyway, I don’t remember hardly anything about the movie but I do remember I started crying during it, so that means it must have been touching and good (or I was just very vulnerable in those days, hehe…).
I feel like there was a lot of backlash and hate and naysaying in the air when this movie came out, back in 2005. There was also a lot of praise and fandom, but I think people were already like “Who does this Miranda July think she is anyway,” “effing twee bullshit,” etcetera. But anyway I went to see it at the student union and I was surprised by how amusing it was and I enjoyed it. I also remember being jealous that she used Cody ChesnuTT on a soundtrack (I guess because that meant I couldn’t make a movie and use it, though I’ve yet to make any movies).
People were talking a lot of shit about Wes Anderson when this came out as well (there’s been a very constant trickling stream of shit being talked about Wes Anderson since he first came out actually, although I think he had something of a positive consensus with his most recent film, Moonrise Kingdom). I went to this with some friends and enjoyed it. It wasn’t my favorite Wes Anderson (that would be The Royal Tenenbaums, or actually maybe the aforementioned Moonrise Kingdom), but yeah.
Wes Anderson’s really good, I think. He has great style and his characters are very lovable and funny. Eff the haters, etcetera.
8. The Bridge
I’m really not a huge documentary guy, which to me is related to how I don’t like Very Serious Dramatic Films and I don’t like to read non-fiction books. Basically anything that a successful, on-the-ball, go-getter person who fancies himself smart would like, I don’t like that. Unless that person is into stylish foreign art films, stylish American art films, dumb comedies, and Woody Allen movies, then we have a lot in common.
Anyways, the same ex-girlfriend is into documentaries, so we watched The Bridge, which is about and includes actual footage of people jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge to kill themselves. Mad depressing, but I was very fascinated by the movie and liked it. (One of the things I learned from spending time with this girl and other experiences in life is that I should try and be more openminded maybe. Heh.).
This movie looked cliched and unattractive to me, but my ex-girlfriend wanted to see it, so we did. I liked it more than I thought it would. Was definitely kind of a formulaic romantic comedy, but it raised some interesting questions about a certain type of woman (“driven,” future-thinking) and a certain type of man (aimless, vaguely artistic) that we spent time discussing afterwards.
10. Jackass 3D
When I went to see this in theaters, I thought, surely they can’t make me laugh my ass off a third time, doing the same shit. I was wrong, it was hilarious. And 3-dimensional.
My friends and I went to this movie sort of as a joke, or because we knew it would be cute to post photos of us on social media being like, “Yeahhhh wooo, fuckin Justin Bieber brah, can’t wait, woooo!!” and we did that, got some sick bathroom selfies of us in the theater bathroom, et al, but I gotta say, this was actually a very touching film. I liked it, especially Justin’s mother, she was very endearing. I guess it just goes to show, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.