Mary and I cancelled our Blockbuster online membership recently (we’ll be busy enough in the coming weeks), so here are two of my final movie reviews:
- Sideways. Good storytelling about two pathetic, sometimes reprehensible middle-aged men. Although the on-screen sex does little for the movie (it hardly ever does), Sideways gives us a pretty tight narrative about one of the arbitrary relationships that we value beyond what we should (the two main characters were freshman roommates in college–no offense to Paul Helphinstine if he’s reading) that doesn’t quite manage to redeem either of the parties involved. The bits of farcical comedy come just at the right moments to keep the viewer from “going dark side,” and the wine-as-life metaphor, though overworked in some of the “deeper” scenes, works notably well when it’s not being overworked. Overall quite a good movie.
- Spanglish. Keeping Adam Sandler on the margins of this movie was quite a good decision (no, I’m not a fan). Framing the story within the story of a young woman’s Princeton admissions essay was even a better idea. Subverting the standard chick flick story line was brilliant. Adam Sandler does not run off with the housekeeper with a heart of gold, and his almost-too-stereotypical quasi-liberal yuppie wife (played by Tea Leoni) does not lose out in the end. Instead, the movie lets the main characters in a chick flick choose their children (who are real characters) over their own impulses and live for something other than the abstract punchline that Hollywood calls “romantic love.”
I realize as I wrap up our little Blockbuster experiment that my reviews are more insider musings than newspaper-style movie reviews, but I suppose folks can pick up a newspaper to get those. I think they serve more to clarify my own thinking than for anything else, but this whole blog thing is supposed to be egocentric, isn’t it?