Category Archives: Movies

The Trouble with Trainwreck

Trainwreck_posterTrainwreck got a lot of acclaim from people and was even being talked about before its release since it was expected to be a unique take on romantic comedies that was written by a woman. People that had seen it before me lauded it for being a feminist masterpiece, saying that Amy Schumer’s film was shaping the romcom genre in a big way. Yet I left the theater feeling more than a little bit dismayed.

I’m not going to say that I didn’t laugh, and despite not being over the moon about Trainwreck, I enjoy Schumer’s standup for the most part. (I think sometimes her jokes are a bit too crude for my personal tastes, and she tends to put her foot in her mouth with racist jokes or jokes that are in poor taste, though.) Bottom line: I don’t hate her, and I don’t even necessarily hate Trainwreck. It was good for some laughs, I enjoy Judd Apatow’s movies, I was thrilled to see Bill Hader in a larger role, and it is refreshing to see a movie written by a woman.

Now here is my biggest issue with it: Once again, we have a romantic comedy where a woman prospers with the introduction of a male character to her life, as if she needed saving or redirecting. It seems like the places where Schumer deviated from the norm were when she made her female protagonist into a woman that likes to drink, smoke weed, and sleep around. This is fine and all, but it wasn’t consistent—as soon as Schumer meets Bill Hader’s character, she changes anyway and stops drinking, smoking, and meeting up with other men to enter into a committed relationship, something she previously scoffed at. Schumer had dated other men and never gave into their pressures of monogamy, yet she does immediately for Hader. (In fact, I’m pretty sure she told him no multiple times and he was just like, “No, you like me and we’re dating now” to which she complied.) Are we supposed to walk away from this thinking that the influence of true love is able to transform us into the “right” kind of person and that all of our questionable actions are fine and dandy until we decide it’s time to settle down? Hell in the end of it, she’s dancing with professional basketball dancers, something she previously rolled her eyes at, because she knows he likes basketball! And of course there’s the typical trope of working as a journalist and writing an article to win back the affections of your estranged lover. This INFURIATES me. When does this happen?! I’m glad I’ve never seen it because that means I must be reading the right editorials and not the kind of magazines that every movie star bases journalism off of where they’re able to post this “I love you, I screwed up, please come back” garbage.

Schumer had a platform where she could have done anything, but she basically rewrote How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with a Kate Hudson character that doesn’t [initially] give a shit what anyone has to say. From the way people were discussing Trainwreck, I was expecting to walk away having seen a movie that might set romantic comedies on a new course, but I feel like she fell into predictable patterns and ultimately didn’t do anything special. She had a unique character for a little while, but she let it succumb to the influence of a man. Schumer could have written it so the character stayed the same throughout the film and found a partner that accepted her as is, and that alone would have been drastically different from other romantic comedies.

Honestly I love romcoms. They’re cheesy and I don’t have to think a lot while watching them—and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in a movie. I’ll keep Trainwreck on my shelf as a comfort movie to watch when I’m sick, unable to process complicated scenarios, and all I need is a cheap laugh.

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Into the Wild

Jon Krakauer took on the arduous task of covering the death of Chris McCandless, and I for one couldn’t be happier about that. To say that I loved the movie and the book is an understatement.

I watched the movie first, and usually I’m a strict “the book is better than the movie” kinda gal. But in this instance, I loved them both equally. I’m a pretty harsh judge of films (READ AS: I have little interest in viewing upcoming movies or flat-out dislike a lot of movies that my friends love), but I can honestly say this is in my top favorite movies of all-time. Stranger than Fiction, City of God, When Harry Met Sally, and now, Into the Wild. I know, it’s a weird list—let’s just move on.

Multiple times while reading the book, I had to put it down and redirect my eyes and mind to something else. It was THAT intense that I was on the verge of sobbing in public. I don’t condone judging people for breaking down in front of strangers, but looking at myself from someone else’s perspective as I marched along on the elliptical in a huge sweaty t-shirt made me feel like the crying wasn’t a good idea.

There were so many moments where I could easily put myself in his shoes. I HATE commercialism, big business, and what greed does to some people. When I graduated college, I told my father that I could easily live a minimalistic lifestyle and that I wished money didn’t matter so much. He shook his head as if to say, “You have so much to learn.” I stand by that statement and hope I never change, yet my mind is still blown at what McCandless did. Because although I say I hate these things, I have my bank accounts and credit cards.

He overcame so much, and he represents a part of human nature that I think exists in even people who abhor the great outdoors (if that’s a thing). McCandless stands for the the things we say we want to do, those unattainable dreams that are oh so impossible. Because honestly, what makes them impossible? We make them unreachable to ourselves. We can do whatever we want, but we hold ourselves back with fear or lack of confidence or insert reason why you can’t do what you really want. There’s almost always a reason to stop ourselves from doing what we say we’d love to do, when in actuality all we have to do is do what we love. It might be scary and it might end up being the wrong decision in the end, but if it’s something that we’d supposedly love to do then it should be worth it.

Maybe the reason this spoke to me so much is because lately I’m trying to do just this. Not in a selfish way, but my goal is to make my life the most ideal it can be and to live happily. Or maybe it’s because I can picture my boyfriend running off into the woods for a long period of time to find himself. Whatever the reason, I love Into the Wild, and I feel like Chris McCandless is my best friend.

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LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring

fellowship

Yaaaaaay I read it! And I’m actually halfway through the second book but I’m bad at posting lately.

Mostly it’s very disappointing to read this series since I already know how it all ends. I keep reading things and when I start to recognize things, I’m basically thinking two steps ahead and waiting for the next character to die (or resurrect). And if I don’t recognize something, my immediate thought is “I don’t remember that from the movie, THEY LEFT IT OUT!” Or I just think that I need to re-watch the series…Which I probably do.

It’s seriously such a bad feeling to have watched the movie first. Luckily this is an awesome movie series, but still. It’s kind of ruining the series for me.

Besides that, it is still interesting to be inside Tolkien’s warped and intricate mind. Someone was telling me the other day that they thought that Tolkien was a terrible writer, but had great and profound ideas. I don’t even think he’s necessarily a bad writer, though. Sure there’s some things that happen grammatically that make me grit my teeth, but I also think that maybe there were some different rules in that time (maybe? hopefully?). Such as not putting punctuation inside quotation marks. It’s terrible, but I’m assuming (and I don’t want to know if I’m wrong honestly) that this was somehow right.

I also still have yet to see The Hobbit MOVIE! I have to get on that, I know. Maybe tonight. Maybe not though.

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Catching Fire & Hunger Games Movie

Catching_Fire

All right so remember that post where I said I read The Hunger Games and disliked it? Yeah, I take it back. A thousand times. Because after reading Catching Fire, I fell in love! I was so much more interested and realized I had completely misunderstood the purpose of this series. I thought Suzanne Collins was trying to rival the Twilight Saga and make a stupid romance story, but I actually really love it now. I find the story more compelling and the history of this crazy America that came to be this way so interesting.

I kind of saw that President Snow was going to throw Katniss and Peeta back in the arena when he mentioned that he wanted her to squash this uprising that she was unknowingly about to cause. The whole thing was so intense and pretty distressing while all these people are dying, and then suddenly… confusion. It was a planned scheme the entire time to keep Katniss alive and turn her into this image for uprising!? Woah. I was definitely caught off guard by that ending. And then District 12 is destroyed too as President Snow’s attempt at revenge!? Good job, Collins. Got me again.

As I was reading this, I also decided to watch the movie for The Hunger Games. I thought it was REALLY well done. Especially how they added in little parts from Catching Fire about the rebellions going on during the games and how President Snow was displeased with Katniss and with the gamemaker’s decision to keep her and Peeta both alive in the end. That would have been difficult and confusing to incorporate in the second movie I believe. It was also just well performed and well filmed I think. I really loved watching it.

My only complaint is that this is a young adult story! The writing is so simplistic and I just think there’s so much more potential for it! I wish it was an adult fiction story because it would feel more appropriate to me and I feel like she wouldn’t be holding back as much.

Watchmen

Just read Watchmen by Alan Moore anddddd I just found myself bored for a lot of it. But I think it’s really just me here. I think I just don’t like literature about superheroes and this was how I discovered it. I liked the overall story, and the ending reminded me of 9/11 conspiracy theories which I used to (slash still do) entertain. By tearing people apart with a tragedy and having it lead ultimately to their unity was proven through the attacks on the World Trade Center, which made the ending of the graphic a lot more compelling. Well, that’s if you believe any ideas that the government may have purposefully created the September 11th attacks, but I don’t want people to call me anti-American or anything. So I’ll keep my opinions on that to myself. (:

Anyway, in the graphic there were a lot of interesting sections to split up the chapters – excerpts from Veidt’s novel, news reports, Rorschach’s psychiatric evaluation… But for some reason a lot of it bored me and was difficult for me to power through. I guess I just can’t cut it with the traditional superhero comic.

I have seen the movie, but I really don’t remember much of it. I recall people saying the endings were drastically different and that’s what ruined the movie for everyone. At the time, I thought it was an all right movie, but I didn’t care enough to remember it and I probably won’t ever see it again. It was just one of those movies. I saw a great article that I really enjoyed reading about all the nitpicky little differences – obviously able to talk about it a lot better than I could.

I like Batman, I like Spiderman, I don’t care for Superman, and I guess that’s how I also feel about the Watchmen.

The Road

theroadWhen I saw the movie The Road, I was so moved by it! I was scared for the man and son, I cried when the father died – I was entirely invested in it. I had heard the book by Cormac McCarthy was equally stimulating, but I actually think I enjoyed the experience that the movie allotted me more than the book (for potentially the first time EVER).

While I was reading this book, I honestly thought that McCarthy wasn’t a native English speaker or that the book was a poor translation. There were spelling errors, lack of commas and apostrophes… I know I’m super nerdy with my reading, especially since I had my publishing internships and started focusing on the meticulous parts of works, but it was REALLY jarring. It might have been some stylistic technique, but I didn’t like it very much. There’s a working system for a reason, duhh Cormac. Anyway, I really did enjoy the book but I guess having already seen the movie I wasn’t shocked by the things that I knew were to come. I wish I had read it first because then it probably would’ve have had a more positive impact on me, but I can’t change that obviously. Regardless it was interesting to read the scenes that weren’t in the movie, but having seen it on the screen helped me to more easily keep a picture in my mind. The book also made some of the rushed scenes that seemed a little unnecessary almost more realistic as well. The scene with the son getting sick was dragged out more in the book so that I saw that the father was worried over his life, while the movie made it into a nightlong virus that didn’t really seem necessary to even acknowledge. So I did appreciate that. The one thing that I didn’t like about the movie and the book was that literally a day or two after the father dies, the son happens to find a family to stay with that won’t kill him and that he can trust. Oh really? Well that’s awfully convenient. His father warned him every single day of his life not to trust other people and to stay alone, and his body isn’t even decomposing before he decides to shatter that mindset. That just seemed so completely unrealistic to me, but I guess no one wanted to go through the trouble of creating more scenes where the boy meets with other people who are bad and fends for himself. I think I have to keep with the habit of reading the book before seeing the movie from now on.

——

Okay so I talked to a friend who happens to LOVE this novel and I mentioned how I didn’t like all the writing errors. He said that when he read it, he took it as since the world was over anyway, who was there to care about missing apostrophes and missing commas? McCarthy was trying to emphasize that point further. Well, I can accept that but I still think it was a little strange to do because there wasn’t a first person narrator. If it had been as if the author were trying to write down his story, then that would have made more sense to me. But instead we have this omniscient narrator who isn’t involved in the story at all, so I think he should still comply to the rules of writing. Also, I think it’s a silly thing to think that just because the world is over that caring about certain given rules of the past shouldn’t matter anymore. That’s how things are continued into the future, by caring about them and showing them importance. They upheld the morality of not eating other people and not killing others for the same general reason. But maybe that’s just my way of thinking.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. I

hpSo I did it. I saw the newest Harry Potter movie. And for only $2, thank you Cinema Saver! 😀

I usually actually hate the Harry Potter movies (as seen in a past post) but this one I really enjoyed. I heard from friends who had seen it that it was a lot better and that people who had not liked it before actually did this time. And I fall completely into that stereotype. I laughed at the jokes for once, I was in suspense, and I truly cannot wait for the second half. I like that it had a darker side, similar to how the books took a turn and stopped being just about a magical world and starting incorporating more sadness and death into Harry’s life. It made it more realistic in the books to get enveloped in Harry’s life in this way, and the movie did a great job portraying it. I think they should have been splitting the movies up like this from the start and it’s just a shame that they only started to do it now. So my review: Great movie, can’t wait for the second half!

Harry Potter vs. Twilight

harrypotterOne movie that is coming out soon and causing a buzz like it does every year is the new Harry Potter. Unfortunately, I am not in on the whole Harry Potter movie craze, but I do have a minor obsession with the books. I am a huge advocate for the creation of an alternative universe where wizards, witches, werewolves, vampires, and the like all exist and unimaginable things can happen. I read all seven books back-to-back two summers ago and loved every second of it. However, I cannot get into the movies at all. J.K. Rowling has a way with dragging readers in, creating an obsession and fascination with Harry Potter and his English wizarding world. Unfortunately Hollywood destroys that by creating movies that try to make viewers laugh at awkward interactions between characters and leaves out parts that readers see as crucial in the books (which for a dedicated reader is every sentence of every book). My favorite book was the fourth, The Goblet of Fire, where Harry is entered mysteriously into the Tri Wizard Tournament. The book was done in an elegant way and finally introduced the reader into the realism of Voldemort and his power. However the movie lacked transitions between scenes where a viewer would be watching Hermoine, Harry, and Ron outside and then jump to a scene which is completely unrelated and leaving that viewer confused as to how she got there in the first place. The worst part about this movie is that it is for the seventh book and they (finally) decided to split it into halves to incorporate more of the story. This is probably something that should have been done from the start if they wanted to recreate the stories more accurately, but now it just feels as if Hollywood is trying to scam some extra cash out of the fans. They are going to drag people in, tempt them with this movie, and then slap on a “To Be Continued…” and charge another $11.50 for the next half of a more than likely horrible movie. Yet people go crazy for it, including myself.

I can’t bring up the Harry Potter series without mentioning the now equally popular Twilight saga. Like I said earlier, this is right uptwilight my reading alley and I have actually read through the series twice. However, after being fully enticed up until the third book, waiting anxiously for the release of Breaking Dawn, and then being thoroughly disgusted and disappointed, I can say that Stephanie Meyers can never compare to J.K. Rowling. The second time I read through the series, I no longer liked the romance between Edward and Bella, but saw it for the cliché and silly thing that it was. Every romantic cliché that one can think of is used between the two protagonists to the point that a reader might want to induce vomiting to make finishing it easier. Aside from that, Meyers has so many spelling mistakes that her editors did not catch that it leaves one to wonder how many they did find. The movies speak for themselves in horror by hiring Kristen Stewart to play the main role of Bella. Being one of the worst actresses in Hollywood is no easy feat of course, and unfortunately she only brings Twilight down further by falling into her usual monotone and depressed character. Luckily she fits right in with the New Moon movie since all that Bella really does in that book is cry and deal (not well either) with her first break up. If only everyone in life could be as lucky as this girl to have their first break up end so easily and then to find themselves back with that person, but alas only in the books can it happen. The first three novels really are not that bad when you get past all the clichés and spelling errors, but Breaking Dawn is what really set me over. Meyers ties up every single character into a sickeningly happy ending where they become the happiest of little families in a happy little house living happily ever after. She also jumped into the maturity creating a sex filled and bloody story that I cannot wait to see depicted within its PG-13 limitations.

For me as far as novels go, I would have to say that J.K. Rowling wins the fantasy world challenge with Harry Potter, having created a world that most people would want to join while Stephanie Meyers merely reminds everybody that perfect love is not real and if it were, would we really want to have it or would we just be sick to our stomachs after so many love filled clichés? As far as movies go, it is pretty hard to say because while Kristen Stewart manages to drain the excitement out of a vampire and werewolf battle, the Harry Potter movies move around so much that it’s a surprise more viewers do not have whiplash. I just cannot bear to pick a winner of worst movie series unfortunately, so we will just have to call it a tie for now. Maybe after the release of the Breaking Dawn movie, depending on how blown away I am (seeing a maybe half-vampire tear its way out of Kristen Stewart’s lifeless body should be interesting enough) then maybe we will have a winner afterall.

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