Seven Movies in Seven Days

I’d like to thank the Academy for a shorter, more entertaining Oscar show this year. I’d also like to thank my husband G. Grod for enabling my pre-Oscar movie-watching compulsion. I saw SEVEN movies. In SEVEN days. Talk about indulgence.

G and I watched The Visitor together. It might not have been his pick for the flick to watch on his birthday, but we both enjoyed it. Richard Jenkins is winning in this quiet movie about a lonely man moved into engagement by the people he meets, and the injustice of post-9/11 US immigration laws (or lack thereof). It’s an excellent rental.

Then we did a complete 180, like a U-turn on the Batcycle, and watched The Dark Knight. 5yo Drake and 3yo Guppy were difficult about going to bed. I’d wanted to start watching early, since it’s so long. Oh, well, I thought. We’ll just watch part of it. Ha. As if. Two hours and forty-five minutes later… Dark Knight is loud, scary, provocative, in your face–the antithesis of a quiet movie. Thus, I find it kinda perfect for the times. Great plot, character, actors, etc. This WAS one of the best movies of the year, no matter what Oscar said.

Then I hijacked my kids in my Oscar compulsion and we watched Wall E. And were amazed all over again. Animation? I don’t think so. Science that looks like magic? You betcha. Remember all the critics who wondered if kids would like it since there was no dialogue for most of the movie? Watch it with a kid. The kids GET it. They LOVE it. How can you not? Best movie of the year? For me, yep.

Next was The Reader. Woo. Another movie mash-up whiplash. I saw it at St. Anthony Main, not usually my first pick of theaters, and there was an enormous night-before-Oscars line. But the staff did a great job–moved people through efficiently and with smiles, and delayed the starts of movies so no one missed out. As for the movie, I don’t think the world needs another Holocaust movie. Or another movie that shows that people can do horrible things but still be good people. Ooh, look, it’s complicated. However, Winslet is still living in my head in that role. Even though her turn in Revolutionary Road seemed technically better, her role in The Reader has quietly insinuated itself into my head.

Then, after weeks of attempts, I finally made it to the ONE theater in town showing Rachel Getting Married. It was a lot darker, and less funny, than I expected. It felt exactly like attending an often-uncomfortable but still happy wedding weekend. But the performances, especially Hathaway’s, were more than worth it. Hathaway completely embodied her haunted, selfish, struggling ex-junkie, hatchet-hair, slept-in-my-kohl-liner look. She’s played an ingenue before? Coulda fooled me. Rosemarie DeWitt (Midge from Mad Men) was appropriately loving and exhausted as her long-suffering sister. But Debra Winger was the surprise standout for me–so cold and brittle I felt frost-bitten just watching her.

At which point G. Grod thought, “whew, the Oscars are tonight. She’ll stop going out all the time.” Then he looked at the calendar, and said, “D’oh!” Because last night was Take Up Productions noir double feature at the Heights, with Criss Cross, and The Killers.

I blame my friend Kate for my compulsion to mix Dots and popcorn, but thank her for the guilty deliciousness. As for the films, there weren’t a lot of happy endings for Burt Lancaster and his femme fatales, but their pain was our gain. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite manage 3+ hours of movie, and was nodding off by the end. I’m off to look up the ending to The Killers, and rest up for the next double feature, The Blue Dahlia and The Glass Key, in two weeks. The Big Clock is next week. Other than that I’ll try to give G. a break and switch gears back to reading, and transfer my consumption compulsion to the books for the Morning News 2009 Tournament of Books.

7 Responses to “Seven Movies in Seven Days”

  1. Steph Says:

    I haven’t seen The Reader, but I did just finish reading the book, which I really didn’t like for pretty much the reason you said: is it really groundbreaking to point out that in times of war, people may behave in a way that they would consider despicable at any other time? And that these people don’t necessarily take pleasure from these acts but perhaps do so out of desperation? I thought the story was unremarkable and the whole storyline related to the tile (i.e., reading) was ridiculous, in my opinion. I will probably see the movie at some point, mostly because I am curious about Winslet’s portrayal of Hannah, but that’s about it.

    Also, yes to The Dark Night and WALL-E being great 2008 movies. I also really enjoyed Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

  2. Kate Says:

    shout out for dots and popcorn. woot woo!

  3. Amy Says:

    I’m still miffed that Dark Knight didn’t get a nod for the top Oscar. It wasn’t as good as Benjamin Button? Really?

    That said, I loved Slumdog and was glad it won.

    I had problems with Revolutionary Road, though.

  4. girldetective Says:

    Dark Knight was better than Benjamin Button, The Reader and probably Frost/Nixon. So was Wall E. Slumdog and Milk belonged there; I thought both were great. I thought Winslet and Shannon’s acting in Rev. Rd. was good, but that the film overall was manipulative, and screamed “I want an Oscar!”

  5. girldetective Says:

    Someday, a comedy will get Oscar love. And it will probably be an Apatow one.

  6. Sydney Says:

    Kate’s scene in the Reader, where she is waiting in the jail cell for a visitor that never arrives…. THAT scene haunts me. THAT is why she won the AA. She was AMAZING in that role. As was Ralph Fiennes, still tortured over her so many years later. Not an easy movie to watch, but she was just mind-blowing in that role.

  7. girldetective Says:

    It was an interesting contrast to Revolutionary Road, which was a very loud, dynamic performance. I think it would be easy to overlook her performance in the Reader, as it’s quiet and subtle. I think my favorite role of hers, though, was as Clementine in Eternal Sunshine.