Sunday, December 27, 2009

Some Ramblings About Love Inspired By The Movie (500) Days Of Summer

Love is a strange and wonderful thing. It may be something that's nearly impossible to catch on film because it's such an individual feeling. Some think it's breathlessness. Some think it's a constant state of happiness. Some think it's safety. Some think it's comfort. Most of the time, if you try to capture it, you lessen it. You somehow make it commercial.

"Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths is a pretty damn good love song.

I think the most interesting spin on love is in Punch Drunk Love when Barry (Adam Sandler) says to Dean (Philip Seymour Hoffman) "I have so much strength in me you have no idea. I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine."

I think that people get passion confused with love. They're not the same thing. The trunk scene between Jack (George Clooney) and Karen (Jennifer Lopez) in Out of Sight is hot, but love isn't involved.

My parents got engaged the first night that they met. They've been married nearly 50 years. That's a pretty amazing story and I love to tell it. I could have allowed that to really screw up my sense of what love is, but I didn't. My wife and I dated a year before we were married. I'm very much in love with her.

Love is not standing by her window with a boom box over your head, blasting music.

For some reason, a man staring at the top of a woman's head signifies love. George (Jimmy Stewart) staring at Mary's (Donna Reed) hair while she's on the phone in It's A Wonderful Life and Rupert (Gene Hackman) staring at the top of Mrs. Pell's (Frances McDormand) head in Mississippi Burning. It seems strange, but love is in the smallest things.

I find the love story between Parry (Robin Williams) and Lyndia (Amanda Plummer) in The Fisher King to be very intoxicating.

I think When Harry Met Sally is a pretty damn good love story because friendship is a big part of loving someone.

I prefer movies that don't try to define love or understand it, but instead just go with it. For that reason, I didn't care much for (500) Days of Summer. It felt a bit too self conscious for me. The storytelling technique felt fresh, but the story didn't. Do you think that part of Zooey Deschanel's contract insists that she sings in every one of her movies?

Monday, December 21, 2009

James Cameron Doesn't Date Ugly Chicks

Wow. I've been away so long, I feel like the unfrozen caveman. You're... ways... are... strange... to... me. This... blogging... thing...

And to think the one thing that brings me out of blogging hibernation is James Cameron's Avatar. That's not really the case though. I've been meaning/wanting to write for some time, I just haven't had the time. So let's get started.

Movies really are like dating when you think about it. At first, everyone is attracted to the pretty ones. The ones that wow and amaze and that don't challenge you too much. The problem is, they're like trash. You use them up, throw them away and never think of them again. There really isn't any longevity to them.

The ones with a lot of personality get a little lost. They take some time to get to know and fall in love with, but once you're hooked, you're hooked.

Once in a while you get brains and beauty and watch out when that happens.

James Cameron's Avatar is all beauty. And boy is it beautiful. The ships, the robots, the scenery, the action. It's all there, but that's really the price of entry with James Cameron. You expect that, and he always delivers. But as of late, his beauty comes with a lot of baggage in the form of lousy storytelling and even worse dialogue. And if you look at Cameron's filmography, it starts to make sense why his more recent movies don't deliver. He co-wrote Terminator 2 and Aliens, however he was the lone writer on The Abyss, Titanic and now Avatar. There's a big difference between the former and the latter and it shows big time. There was a scene early on in Avatar where Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) pulls Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) aside and explains why making contact with the "Na'vi" is so important. The "Na'vi" have settled on large deposits of a precious metal that needs to be mined. As I watched this scene I couldn't help but roll my eyes. The Avatar program had been functional for some time. And I'm sure this wasn't the first conversation Parker and Dr. Augustine had ever had. So what's with the 101 on why they're doing what they're doing? Oh wait, I know. Bad storytelling. A much defter hand would have written that scene in such a way as to not be so obvious.

But hey, it's a James Cameron movie and I should just shut up and enjoy it, right? Right. Only I can't help but call bullshit on all these reviews I'm reading. They say it's visually stunning, but that the story is bad and the dialogue horrible. Then they give it 3 1/2 stars out of 4 or they give it an A- rating. Seriously? Last time I checked, a good review was reserved for films running on all cylinders. You can't give good reviews to movies that just look good. Right? Man, I wish that was right.

And let's briefly talk about how visually stunning the film is. It is. I would say that there were one or two scenes where I found myself noticing just how well-done they were. That said, I'm just not that impressed by special effects anymore. I've seen Orcs storm castles. I've seen incredible space battles. I've watched people morph from one character to another. I've seen it all, so I'm looking for something more. And truthfully, was there really anything about Avatar that was more stunning than something in Star Wars? Or Lord of the Rings? It's like comparing flat panel TVs (which I did recently). You can't really tell until you look really close. And how many people really do that?

So here I am, out from underneath the rock that has been on top of me for the past couple of months to say that for what it's worth, Avatar is a sexy picture. Just don't plan on much pillow talk after.