Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"What I Watched" Wednesday - Movie Time

Okay, not enough TV watching worth talking about right now, so I'll just do a quick three-movie-roundup.

Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party
: Entertaining kinda-sorta-documentary which follows prolific actor Stephen Tobolowsky (currently playing Bob on Heroes, although he will always be Groundhog Day's Ned Ryerson to me) on his birthday as he relates numerous stories about his life. Tobolowsky is an incredibly charismatic and engaging storyteller, and his energy and humor make this film fly by; there are times you might want to question how factual his stories might be, but in the end it's more about the hoy derived from hearing the stories than the truth of the stories themselves . If you do happen to rent this one and enjoy it, I would highly recommend watching the deleted scenes, which are, on the whole, equally as entertaining as any scene in the film itself. One odd note is that Tobolowsky's general storytelling style, right down to speech cadence and inflection, is spookily reminiscent of that of our church's associate pastor who is currently in charge of the Singles. Anyway, that's really neither here nor there; bottom line is, I liked this movie a lot.

Waitress: Quirky Indie film about a small town waitress (Keri Russell) whose plans to escape from her rotten husband (Jeremy Sisto) are derailed by an unexpected preganancy. I liked this one a lot; made me laugh out loud several times. Andy Griffith's turn as the cranky diner owner with a penchant for speaking his mind was a definite highlight, and it was interesting to see Nathan Fillion playing such a nervous character . Sadly, writer/director/co-star Adrienne Shelley, who showed so much promise as a filmmaker with this outing which she wrote while pregnant with her daughter Sophie (who plays Russell's daughter at the end of the film), was murdered shortly before the film's release.

No Country For Old Men: The latest outing from The Coen Brothers (Raising Arizona, O Brother Where Art Thou, Fargo, Big Lebowski to name a few) is a deliberately paced drama about a mule-headed Texan who stumbles upon a satchel of over $2 million of drug money, and then has to avoid the sociopathic killer tasked with recovering the loot. Before I go any further, let me just say this: after we saw this on Saturday, Cap'ns Shack-Fu and Peanut ranked the movie 2-3 out of ten, while Li'l Random and I ranked it 7-8 out of ten. So, yeah, a bit of a divide there; considering that Li'l Random and I are The Odd Squodd, then you can probably bet that most people's opinions might lean towards those of Shack and Peanut. So, there's your disclaimer so none of you blog monkeys can complain to me if you don't love it even though I said it was a great movie. Which is not to say that I left the theater totally satisfied; there were at least two instances in the film where the usual painstaking, methodical approach to storytelling was tossed asunder. leaving me vaguely nonplussed, discomfited and disappointed due to their abruptly anticlimactic nature. Both of these instances were cited by Shack and Peanut as reasons for their dislike of the film. I suspect that upon subsequent viewings I won't be as bothered by the items in question as I was on my initial viewing, especially upon reflection that these shifts were more than likely intended to generate such a feeling. The dangers of thwarting audience expectations, I suppose. Anyway, the movie made me laugh, made me cringe, and made me think; not bad for a couple hours worth of entertainment, in my opinion. One I would recommend few, and then only with the caveat that anyone expecting a typical Hollywood resolution is going to be disappointed.


Flunky lover said...

I finally watched No Country for Old Men and wanted to look up what you had said about it.

I enjoyed the movie. I don't really know what to say. There were some unexpected events. I didn't like the ending at first but I kind of do now. It felt abrupt but it really wasn't. It was just the end of the original story. Well I still think the very last surprise involving the car was unnecessary.