Vulcan’s Peak

Summer movies

July 3, 2006 8:34 pm

What? Have I suddenly overcome my family’s seemingly chronic case of being cinema-challenged? Well, only if you don’t expect me to be up-to-date.

In the last, oh, year or so, my dad has joined the ranks of Netflicks customers (you know, the annoying red Flash ads?). I forgive them the ads, actually — for one, I don’t see them on my machine because Adblock gives me power over my world — but also because the service seems to be very prompt and well organized.

At any rate, there is always a movie around or one on the way these days, so we feel we are becoming most educated. (Or at least we might get a few Jeopardy questions — another current addiction.) The June line-up has included Mel Brooks, crossdressing, solitaire, apes, rockets, and genetic profiling.

Comedically speaking:
High Anxiety. Perhaps inspired by the recent reincarnation of The Producers, we’ve been going through the Mel Brooks canon. This one spoofs on Hitchcock every chance it gets — fortunately, I’ve seen just enough Hitchcock to get most of the jokes! — and is a rollicking good story about the new director of a mental institute who happens to suffer from high anxiety (think vertigo. And Vertigo.). Also features a song and dance number: Mel Brooks and a song called (what else?!) “High Anxiety.”

Silent Movie. And yes, it is. HiLARious!! Mel Brooks stars as (more or less) himself, with Marty “That’s Eeegor” Feldman as one of his sidekicks. Also lots of big names who drop in here and there. A jolly little romp around Hollywood. Pure comedy, complete with a corps of truly wicked and totally inept villains from the take-over hungary corporation Engulf & Devour.

Tootsie rounds out the comedy section this month, proving that the Brits are not the only comedians who can pull off a spot of crossdressing! Dustin Hoffman actually makes a fairly good-looking woman — all things considered — and especially when you compare him to the guys in Some Like It Hot! I appreciated the level of seriousness that Tootsie gave to the discussion about gender roles and the confusion of gender roles. But I won’t write that essay here. (Or at least not today.)

Dramatic

The Manchurian Candidate has been on my to-see list for some time, though (as often happens) it turned out to be very different from what I expected. Nonetheless, I thought it was a neat movie and enjoyed figuring out what was going on. At home, one of our new favorite lines is “Wouldn’t you like to play a little game of solitaire?”

King Kong was one that I was very sad to miss in theaters. (Snide comment away…I know it was around forever.) Most of it was great, though I could have done without all the giant bugs. I’ve never seen the original, so I can’t compare to the incomparable Fay Wray, but I enjoyed it.

October Sky was a GW pick — part of his summer homework is to write short reviews on several movies that have some relevance to U.S. history (he was given a list). It’s based on a book called The Rocket Boys, which is about the author’s childhood in a mining town in West Virginia. There’s a lot of conflict between the son, who is eager to get away from the mine, go to college, and build rockets, and his father, who knows the mine inside and out and wants his sons to follow in his footsteps. I thought there was a good balance between explosions and sentimentality.

Gattaca makes the list only because I’ve been pokey about putting this list together — I just saw it last night with Pug and Carmen. Good if you’re in the mood for 1984-esque fare. Not that it’s about a police state. Like 1984, Gattaca takes a disturbing trend in society and imagines a future in which this trend is dominant. Here, it’s genetic engineering. Like October Sky, Gattaca features a protagonist who is inherently disadvantaged, but here’s it’s merely because he wasn’t genetically engineered to perfection. A tale of warning, but also a tale of perseverence.

There’s a few more to round out this list — a couple of foreign films and a documentary (yes, really), but they’ll save a day or two. I’m here in Gainesville enjoying some downtime with my boy. Strange not to have anything that needs to be done! We’re planning on grilling for the Fourth tomorrow and maybe we’ll go find some fireworks somewhere! I can hear someone getting an early start on them already. (Not like I know anyone else who did that…we made some fire and noise at home the night before I left.)

6 Responses to “Summer movies”

Tae wrote a comment on July 3, 2006

Heh, one of the reasons “Some Like It Hot” was filmed in b&w was b/c Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis looked even more hideous in color.
So Netflicks is worth it? I’ve been chewing on getting it, thanks to the whole “No Cable” thing (which may or may not change in the near future) and also b/c of the limited selection of movies arounds here. *ponders*

Pug wrote a comment on July 3, 2006

I use Blockbuster Online here. Same deal, except with Blockbuster’s setup you get a free rental at a physical Blockbuster location every week. Sometimes that’s nice for spontaneity.

E wrote a comment on July 4, 2006

See ya tonight!! Glad you liked my movie 😉 [Gattaca]

Odette wrote a comment on July 4, 2006

Ha! I didn’t know that about Some Like It Hot…a good reason!

But yeah, Tae, I think Dad’s pretty happy with Netflix. We have the cheapest deal — one movie at a time and the send the next one as soon as they recieve one you’ve sent back — but there’s a range (details on their site, of course). Similarly, I know Pug’s pretty happy with Blockbuster.

Tae wrote a comment on July 6, 2006

I’m giving Netflicks a whirl- expecting “Kingdom of Heaven”, “The Muppet Show Season 1”, and….something else >_> Oh well, mystery movie!

Odette wrote a comment on July 6, 2006

Awww, Muppet Show!!

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