Dec 30, 2004

I Love Netflix!

My nephew, Steve, got Marilyn and I a subscription to Netflix for Christmas. Our first three movies arrived 2 days ago (about two days after the order was placed), and I just sent two of them back to Netflix today. This service is GREAT! It is wonderful to not have to stand in line to pay for the video and pay the inevitable late fees (inevitable if you are me, that is). The first film we watched was Garden State and it was very good. It is one of those films that is hard to classify. It's funny, sad, poignant, quirky... not really a comedy, not really a drama, not really a dramedy. It is one of those films that you find yourself thinking about for days after you watch it, and it has a really original storyline, which is refreshing given the typical recycled movie fodder released year in and year out.

Monsieur Ibrahim , our second Netflix pick, was a wonderful film. Omar Sharif befriends a boy who has been emotionally abandoned by his family. Omar Sharif is amazing, and even in his 70's, I still love his sparkling eyes. The boy in this film had the most expressive and beautiful face, and for not having much acting experience, he did a great job.

I just finished watching
Monster, our third pick.
Monster is on my list of "must see one time only" films - films that are great, but too emotionally draining (for me) to see a second time. All the buzz was right, Charlize Theron is amazing. Christina Ricci's performance as Selby, Wuornos' lover, is not mentioned enough in reviews of this film. Her character is as complex as Theron's, and she still looks like she could play a 13 year old, so it gives her portrayal an extra layer of creepiness. I never did figure out how her character was supposed to be. In the job search scenes, Charlize Theron reminded me of all the addicts I've worked with who come in for help after 20 -30 years on the streets doing drugs, stripping or prostituting themselves. They finally decide at age 45 the party isn't fun anymore and it's time they get sober and get a career. By then, their lifestyle choices have caused had some permanent effects on their brains and their characters that prevent them from seeing their options realistically. Theron did a wonderful job of portraying the frustration and rage of finding out that the bridges burned during addiction, really do cut people off from the opportunities and choices that the sober world enjoys. I think Monster is a pretty even handed portrayal of Aileen Wuornos' life. Some of the reviews I read talked about how the movie would make people feel sorry for her at the expense of the memory of the victims, but I didn't feel particularly sorry for her at the end of the movie, I just felt sad for the futility of her life. She (like many) grew up amidst terrible abuse and neglect, but she made choices throughout her life that led to her tragic end.

The last movie we watched,
Saved, wasn't a Netflix movie. I bought it at Blockbuster (along with Clerks and Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban) and had to mention it in this blog, because it is GREAT!!!
Saved is irreverent without being obnoxious. The script for Saved is intelligent and funny, and the cast is brilliant. I laughed all the way through this film, but the scene that tickled me the most is a "blink and you'll miss it" bit in the film. Macaulay Culkin's character, Roland, is in a wheelchair. In this scene he is with his friends at the mall, and he's holding this sign that reads "Will Dance for Food." The next shot is a close up of the two girls in profile talking, with Roland a little out of focus in background, between the two characters - and he is clacking and bouncing in his chair, doing a little dance - too funny. I wish I watched this one right after Monster - it would have helped me get to sleep that night.

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