Friday, July 31, 2015

"A Thumbnail Reaction To Six Summer Movies"


Harmless summer entertainment.

“Anything else?”

I like harmless summer entertainment.

And there’s this Mexican or something guy in it who’s adorable.

Plus, I was tickled by Paul Rudd’s self-effacing reading of “I’m Ant-Man.”

“Anything else?”

I’m doing “thumbnail.”


Jimmy’s Hall

Supercilious Pronouncement:  Irish filmmakers should be forbidden from making any more movies about “Da Troobles.” * 

(* The Irish rebellion against England and its blood-spilling, internecine aftermath.) 

I get it.  It was terrible.  Move on.  (Try to read that less insensitively than it was written.)

In direct contrast to the innocuous Ant-Man, Jimmy’s Hall triggered an apprehensive foreboding from its earliest moments.  Something horrible was going to happen.  On this green and glorious terrain.  There was no question that Jimmy’s Hall (a community meeting place) was doomed to extinction.  And, dollars to donuts, Jimmy himself’s extinction was a certainty as well.

I made my way to the lobby a half an hour before the inevitable.  I was later informed that Jimmy’s hall had indeed been incinerated, but that Jimmy himself was merely permanently exiled.  The “split decision” did not make me wish I had remained there until the finish.  The outcome was irrelevant.  I was escaping the anticipatory tension.

I have been to Ireland.  It’s magnificent.  There are, I am sure, other wonderful stories to tell.  Note to Irish filmmakers: 

“Tell them.”

Infinitely Polar Bear

An endearing autobiography (written and directed Maya Forbes, whose life it depicts) in which a bipolar father is required to raise his two pre-adolescent daughters on his own. 

Dr. M who deals with mentally troubled people every day was not won over, due to inadequate verisimilitude.  I, on the other hand, was charmed.  I did, however, have one intruding thought undercutting an otherwise positive experience.  That the role of the father, capably if not viscerally portrayed by Mark Ruffalo would have hit the bull’s eye dead center if it had instead been portrayed by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. 

I have never had a movie experience impaired by a casting concern.  Especially when the alternative has passed on.

The Stanford Prison Experiment   

I went, thinking this was a documentary concerning a subject I was interested in and, though it turned out to be a fictional representation of it, I was surprisingly not disappointed with the result.

Trainwreck – Judd Apatow is Cecil B. DeMille backwards.  DeMille leavened his preachiness with debauchery; Apatow leavens his debauchery with preachiness.  Both commercially successful.  Although morally questionable in their approach.   

Inside Out

Enchanting without being entirely comprehensible.  (I liked it.  I could not follow it.)

A Confession:  I invariably watch movies – and plays and TV shows, for that matter – with my ears.  For me, the story is everything – if I can follow it, if it makes sense – that’s what important. 

The visuals?  If it’s not falling off the side of the screen, I’m fine with whatever they put up there.  That’s why, when someone tells me about the glorious re-mastering of some enduring classic, although I act like I’m interested, my contrarian belief is, “If you can see the thing, why bother?”

For me, everything begins and ends with the story. 

Having said that – a transparent euphemism for “I am about to contradict myself” – I was as lost in the specifics of the storytelling of Inside Out as the movie’s characters were in the protagonist’s brain.  (I understood this much:  They were someplace, they got lost in the “system”, and they finally got back.  Great.  I have the comprehension level of a four year-old.) 

Although I could not connect all the narrative’s dots, I remained charmed by the movie from beginning to end.

High praise from a man who requires things to make sense.

Three other brief points before I depart.


It’s okay.  I’ll be back.

Brief Point Number One:  Artistically, Inside Out’s softer edges made it feel less as if computers were involved.

Brief Point Number Two:  If I ever decided to break my “No optimists” rule, Amy Poehler’s Inside Out character – or Amy Poehler herself if that’s actually her underneath – is the one optimist I’d be willing to talk to.  This was the first positive personage who did not terminally annoy me.    

Brief Point Number Three:  The surprise contributor to Inside Out’s successful resolution was “Sadness.”  It’s nice seeing an unpopular emotion getting its moment in the sun.

What I like about movies is what I like about the types of people who end up becoming president:

Their remarkable diversity.

I may not enjoy them all equally.

But no two of them are the same.

1 comment:

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I hate - really hate - to be difficult (hah!), but...

>> What I like about movies is what I like about the types of people who end up becoming president:

Their remarkable diversity.>>

I don't see the US's range of presidents as particularly diverse, despite the fact that the incumbent is only half white. Elect a woman - or an atheist - and then we'll talk.