1. Generation Um… (2012)
- Cast: Keanu Reeves, Bojana Novakovic, Adelaide Clemens
- Director: Mark Mann
- Where to watch: Netflix
A few years ago after the sad Keanu meme came out, I became even more interested in the actor and began reading about him. I read about the loss of his girlfriend in a car crash and his child being stillborn. I read about the troubles with his dad along with his generous donations to charities for cancer research and Harley Davidson gifts to all the stunt men on the Matrix films. It’s not often you hear about an actor who hasn’t let the fame and fortune go to his head, Keanu Reeves is one of the few. Since the release of John Wick last year, Keanu Reeves career has been on a resurgence as of late. After a quick look at what he’s been doing post-Matrix trilogy, you may ask yourself if you have ever heard of any of his recent movies, but that’s not the point right now. Out of the films he has done post-Neo, the one that stood out the most for me was a film that has scores ranging from 0 to 25% on most sites. That film is Generation Um…
The plot of Generation Um… revolves around two New York City escorts and their personal driver who document their lives after stealing a camera. Once the camera is on them, it reveals their innermost feelings. The plot may seem thin on paper, but this is actually one of the most realistic depictions of a sad and lonely life. It’s almost uplifting knowing a director can translate the feelings of isolation, failure, and loneliness so well on screen. Generation Um… should be thought of more as a documentary of the three main characters’ lives instead of a film.
For those looking for a fast and gripping story you won’t find it here. What we have instead is a quiet study of the intimate nature of these characters and the slow burn pace of the film that only releases information little by little is rewarding to watch as the characters reveal their stories. This is one of those films where it’s paramount to listen to every piece of dialogue and watch the actors unravel as the circumstances as to why there at this particular point in their life comes to fruition.
The film starts off with the three characters coming off shift. They’ve been together for an undisclosed amount of time, but throughout the film, we know they have never gotten to know each other until the stolen camera is in the room. They seem like three wanderers living separate failed lives, but by the end, they become something more. The loneliness and isolation of their lives brings them together as family. This is by no means a fast-paced gripping story. It may seem aimless at first, but stick with it until the end and you’ll be treated to a bleak film with possibilities of change. I’ve tried to have friends watch this movie but to no luck. They seem more interested in stylized CGI explosions and drunken comedies instead. But for anyone who was an outsider in life that has ever lived alone, failed to meet expectations, had no date for the weekend, or had a job you just have to do to get by; this film is for you. And best of all, it’s available free on Netflix.
2. Alien 3: Director’s Cut (1992)
- Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dance, Charles S. Dutton
- Director: David Fincher
I remember watching this film on TV around 1996 — I was about six years old and at that age, I just cared for action, violence, and the alien, so I couldn’t comprehend the story very well…but I loved it! It wasn’t until high school where I found out there were two versions of this film and also that there was a lot of hate for this movie. After seeing the theatrical cut, I can understand why some people didn’t like the movie, but I also watched the director’s cut and since then I have always defended the film and still say the best film in the series is the director’s cut of Alien 3.
Beyond the simple two reasons as to why this is the best (they kill off the annoying Newt character and bring the series back to its useful roots); it’s the most beautifully shot film in the series along with having the strongest characters and story. Ripley crash lands on planet Fiorina 161, a desolate barren planet, where she is the sole survivor of the crash and literally the only female on the planet. The people who inhabit this planet and also bring her to safety are the most despicable criminals that have been convicted of rape and murder. They are so violent that they have been sentenced to live out the remainder of their lives on that planet isolated from the rest of the civilization.
Ripley’s character is completely broken in this film — she lost all of her crew in the first film and from the second one she was stuck in cryogenic sleep for over 50 years, then she finds out that she lost her daughter on earth and loses her potential new family with Hicks and Newt. When she discovers they have died from the crash, Ripley wants an autopsy done on Newt to make sure the alien wasn’t inside of her. They then go through with the autopsy finding no alien inside, meaning she had a painless death, but this is followed up with a powerful eulogy and funeral scene which is the most unforgettable shot in the film thanks to the dialogue and the score by Elliot Goldenthal. (A quick search online for the Alien 3 <a href="http://[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rewrRDo9DGA&w=420&h=315%5D”>funeral scene can give anyone who hasn’t seen the movie an idea of what the film is about). It’s also the scene that sold me that this wasn’t just going to be a regular Alien film; this was going to be a bleak film that deals with the themes of loss, redemption, religion, hopelessness, and the way these themes are executed on film makes this more than a horror and science fiction film. It makes it an overall great film about redemption and hopelessness; not everyone has gets a happy ending and good doesn’t always prevail over evil.