Wednesday, May 27, 2009

some of my favorite movies

My diatribe on Abram’s Trek movie prompted me to rewatch another one of his recent products – Cloverfield. I was hoping Em would make it through the whole movie, but I’d forgotten about the creepy, miniature creatures, as well as the Alien-homage chest exits. What a cool movie.

A movie doesn’t need much to impress me. I’m an easy sell. The more inspiring speeches a leader gives his soldiers, the more I like the movie. Thus, Braveheart has been my favorite movie since the late 80s. Anytime a character experiences a FUNDAMENTAL change for the positive, the more I like the movie. Thus, American History X, especially with its cinematography, has been on my top five since it came out.

I dig world destruction movies – especially when established landmarks are destroyed. Independence Day was a ton of fun, for the same reasons Cloverfield was fun. These two movies show us how our world would change if our worst nightmares came true, if sometimes unrealistically so. They are imaginative, and they are scary. I cannot wait for 2012 (the movie). It's gonna be awesome.

Sometimes writers/directors will knock a concept out of the park, and other times they completely fail. Shyamalan’s 2002 Signs looked very promising, even well into the film. And then you find out these far-advanced alien beings have an extremely unfortunate Achilles heel – they are allergic to water. As in, alien beings sweeping the planet are allergic to the most common molecule on Earth. No – conventional warfare won’t work, but that’s okay – we’ve got super-soakers. Another flop: Oliver Stone’s 2004 Alexander was unwatchable. When your hero has basically no redeemable qualities, you’ve lost my interest, whether or not the real Alexander was just as appalling.

Which brings me, naturally, to Adam Sandler. Ten years ago I enjoyed most of his films. Ten years ago I was an idiot. He couldn’t help but make his characters as unrealistic as possible, just as he couldn’t resist including at least one fellow Saturday Night Live comrade to fulfill some gross humor element to the movie. As a general rule, Rob Shneider should not be cast in anything over 3 minutes long.

He made two movies, though, that I really enjoyed. The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. Perhaps not coincidentally, Drew Barrymore starred opposite Sandler in both. Their chemistry is almost unequalled in Hollywood, IMO. And the movies were funny, honest, and something Sandler and Barrymore both do very well – hopeful.

And then Sandler made a movie that is the first to seriously threaten Braveheart at the top of my list. Reign Over Me did everything right and nothing wrong. It didn’t overindulge on the tragedy of September 11, and the director/writers went out of their way to not overdo scenes of Sandler’s grief. This movie was as much about Don Cheadle’s character attempting to reconnect with Sandler’s character as anything else. I watched MANY post-9/11 movies and documentaries, and while I don’t think you can put this movie in that category, none of them brought me as much peace as did Reign Over Me. This is one of the decade’s best movies, hands down.

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