September 22, 2014
Autumn is here. After coming home from a rainy Ireland to a rainy Colorado, I despaired that I had missed the end of summer entirely. But no, I got a good week or so of wearing shorts and sandals and sitting outside to read and stuff. And now the weather is turning.
As I mentioned last week, I’m working on five or so different things simultaneously — research, critiquing, writing, etc. What this means is I feel like I’m not getting anything done. But it also means I’m going to finish up most of these things at the same time. Then I will likely be at my wits end and flap my arms around like a mad thing.
I caught a couple of movies, or at least part of a couple of movies this weekend:
Another Earth: this is an art-house science fiction/slipstreamy thing. A very intriguing concept: one day, another Earth, seemingly identical, appears in the sky. It has some really beautiful shots associated with this phenomenon, and touched on at least some of the implications. But the story itself was so angsty and contrived I couldn’t take it very seriously. (Like, when he said his wife was pregnant when the accident happened, I laughed out loud, which I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to do, but it was so clearly the movie saying to us, “Hey, you thought it was bad before? Well it turns out it was even worse than you thought! Ha! Wallow in misery!” And no, I don’t think I will.)
Neptune’s Daughter: This is an old one, and I finally found where my line is. You know — you’re watching old movies and they’re chock full of really uncomfortable racism and sexism and the like, but you keep watching ’cause it’s old and interesting and classic and has some great acting and it’s important from a cultural standpoint? (Like, I totally put up with the harassing baby in Gold Diggers of 1933?) Well, I know now that it can indeed get bad enough that I have to stop, and this movie did it. The really terrible racist stereotypes, and the really ditzy man-chasing sister in a
comedy “comedy” routine with Red Skelton pushed me around the corner and I had to turn it off. Which is too bad, because this is an Esther Williams film — the woman who made an entire career out of being a swimming actress — and it also featured a young Ricardo Mantalban as a hot Argentinian polo player. So yeah, I wanted to see it, but I just couldn’t.
Also, a question: when did shaky cam and incomprehensible action scenes in big FX movies become a thing? Is there one movie that really started the trend? Transformers maybe? Because I caught part of the original Stargate movie this weekend, and I was kind of surprised and impressed at how clean it was — action-wise, it had quite 1980’s sensibility, which made it pleasant to watch but also made it seem a little older than it really is. (It’s 1994, which yeah, it might have more of an 80’s sensibility I guess.) It just got me thinking about when sensory overload became the way to do adventure movies, and I can’t pin it down.