Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Movies of 2009

I was inspired by Courtney's list of movies she's seen so far this year. I already have a section in my side bar that covers the books I'm reading, music I'm listening to, and even beer I'm drinking (if I can ever get it working again), so why not a more complete handling of my movies than just the comings and goings of my Netflix queue? I'll try to keep it up to date throughout the link. There'll be a link in the sidebar eventually.

1. The Devil Wears Prada: I honestly can say that I never planned on watching this movie. I just happened to be in the room while K watched it. That being said, I can not honestly say that I didn't enjoy it. I can now understand why there were a pair of Oscar nominations for this film. I am glad it was just a best actress nomination for Meryl Streep and a costume nomination, though. The movie was entertaining, and not as dumb as I thought it would be. It really was worth the time I spent watching it. Oh, and Anne Hathaway is closing in on Audrey Hepburn as the most beautiful actress ever. They have very similar figures, but a slightly goofy quality in Hathaway's face keeps her from reaching that point. Don't get me wrong, it's that same quality that makes her so endearing, but you've got to split hairs when talking about the best. That quality of her face also makes her the most convincing ugly-duckling-turned-drop-dead-gorgeous-stunner ever. Usually, it's just a case of hot girl dressed badly. Hathaway actually looks like frumpy fits her as naturally as elegance. She's not half-bad as an actress either. Honestly, even if this movie sucked, I could probably watch Anne Hathaway for an hour and a half. Anne Hathaway.

2. Pineapple Express: I like Seth Rogan. I think he's funny. I'm also partial to stoner movies, even though I have very limited experience with either being or being around a stoner. This, however is both a funny stoner movie and a passable action movie. I'm really not sure how a pothead writing a movie about potheads managed to work in an interesting plot underneath all of the gags, but he did. It was tough not to wake K as I giggled my way through this film on my computer next to her in bed. If you're not keen on marijuana jokes or movies where both the good guys and the bad guys are total idiots, then this isn't really your kind of movie, though. One side effect I noticed: I had a dream last night, two nights later, about buying baby marijuana plants from one of my current students in a deserted strip mall parking lot in a city 200 miles away.

3. Burn after Reading: I'm a huge Coen Brothers fan, but I was a little disappointed in this one. Don't get me wrong, it was done in their usual comedic fashion. The main characters are all idiots who think more of themselves than they should. It just wasn't that funny. The movie is played too straight and the characters end up seeming more out of place than funny. It's not a bad movie by any means; I was just expecting something along the lines of Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, or O Brother, Where Art Thou, and I ended up with something more like Intolerable Cruelty. Let's just say that when this movie is a disappointment, you've set the bar pretty high for yourself.

4. Tropic Thunder: First, I have to say that pulling off a white actor in black face as a main character for the entire movie without it coming across as offensive is impressive. Of course when both the type of actor and the movie industry in general are being mocked through this character, it's pretty easy to get away with. This is really just a screwball comedy, which makes some of the acting jobs surprising. Robert Downey, Jr. really didn't have to do such a good job with his character, but the movie benefits from his effort. Jack Black actually keeps himself in check enough that his hamming isn't taking over the movie. I'm not sure I'd even classify his performance as hamming this time around (and I like the guy despite the way that sounds). The cast works really well together, which is a surprise considering that several members are more used to being the star clown. I don't necessarily recommend any of the other three mentioned so far (although I also really don't discourage you from renting them by any means), but this one I do suggest you see if you haven't already.


Julie said...

I, too, was disappointed in Burn After Reading. Of course, I would never give them full points for a movie anyway because I still hold a grudge for Fargo. But it was like they were counting on a goofy Brad Pitt to carry the whole movie or something.

As for Tropic Thunder, I thought it was good, but I don't think I liked it as much as others because it suffered from others insanely high opinions. Movies are much more likely to impress me if the bar is set low. It's not fair, but fairness is not my thing.

Courtney said...

1. Meryl Streep was good in it and I'm also rather fond of Anne Hathaway, but I hated The Devil Wears Prada. Well, maybe I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. It's on the low side of mediocre for me.

2. I've not seen Pineapple Express yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

3. I was also disappointed in Burn After Reading, and you're right, it's probably because expectations were too high. Julie, I'm afraid I can no longer be friends with anyone who didn't like Fargo. That's a good movie. Burn After Reading, not so much.

4. Tropic Thunder was hilarious. RDJ is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors, and this movie made me hate Tom Cruise marginally less.

Jacob said...

Julie: I don't understand. Fargo was nearly pure awesomeness.

Courtney: On Devil Wears Prada our difference may be the starting point. I expected total crap and got something better. You may have expected more given the cast and was disappointed. Otherwise we just disagree. I'm also going to expect that you weren't sexually attracted to either Hathaway or Streep and there wasn't much of the way in man-candy with extensive screen time. It's still my #4 of the four films I've seen this year.

I think you like the Express.

I spent some time mulling this over today, and I think my disappointment in Burn after Reading came from bad marketing. I had expected a silly comedy and I don't think it was supposed to be that way. This wasn't supposed to be Raising Arizona or O Brother, and yet all of the ads focused on the silliness, which wasn't a major part of the movie. The more I think of it, it's more of a serious movie with a lot of comedic elements than it is a comedy. I think my opinion of it now is higher than right after I watched it. It's definitely their best since O Brother.

Jacob said...

And Tom Cruise was really good in Tropic Thunder.

Julie said...

When I saw Fargo when it first came out in theaters, I was not sophisticated enough to get past the stupidly annoying accents. I'm sure it had some good elements that I would appreciate now, but I cannot get past that. I was downright angry in the theater by the time they got to the wood chipper. I am an extremely patient person when it comes to accents because I've lived in a place where I relied on the patience of others but I have met one person with the Fargo accent since I saw the movie and I had to talk myself up each day I saw her to keep from smacking her. It's my nails on a chalkboard.

So there. Let me know if I need to find new friends.