Steal This Blog

I’ve been trying to work up the energy to write about some of the movies we’ve been watching lately. The problem is my thoughts about them aren’t very profound, they’re on the level of “hey, that was okay. Now, where are the cookies?” Anyway, these are some good movies I’ve watched recently:
(1) Princess Mononoke: This is one of my new favorite movies. It was really, really long, but I was glad because I enjoyed it so much. Andy warned me that Japanese movies have a different pace than American ones, with lots of long pauses and silences. I noticed when I watched a Japanese “action” movie one time that it was quite different from American action flicks: just as violent, but with different pacing. American movies have these really long action scenes, with the good guy fighting off all sorts of bad guys with a variety of weapons. In the Japanese movie I saw, what would happen would be someone would insult the good guy, there would be a really long pause, and then something extraordinarily violent but not taking longer than 5 seconds would occur; then the scene would change.
Anyway, Princess Mononoke. The artwork was so beautiful, I just loved looking at the movie. I’d love to have lots of stills of different parts of the movie to just stare at for hours. The Forest Spirit changing into the Night Walker is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The fact that the forest creatures were not lovable Disney types, as many critics seem to have noted, was really cool–it added to rather than took away from the beauty and mystery of the forest. I also found that it was clear that there was no obvious “good guy”–one side placed the well-being of humans over that of the forest, and the other did the opposite, but neither was completely wrong.
(2) The Seven Samurai: I saw “The Magnificent Seven” a while ago on TV and enjoyed it a lot, but had never seen the original. I really enjoyed it. Once again, it was really long, and I was getting pretty sleepy toward the end, but it was great. I seem to remember that “Magnificent Seven” was quite a bit shorter and more what I’d expect out of a movie: mainly focused on the middle part of the story, when the guys were already at the village and fighting off the bandits. I also seem to remember (spoiler) the ending of the American movie being “happier” and less ambiguous than that of “Samurai.” Anyway, it was a very good movie and I learned a lot about Samurai, my previous knowledge of them having been derived from a Trixie Belden mystery.
(3) Catch Me If You Can: I watched this movie through sunglasses with no corrective lenses of any sort due to having developed something called “iritis” in my left eye, for this I have to use dilating drops which makes everything blurry and bright. I think I got the gist though. It was a very fun, enjoyable movie to watch, and one of the best parts was the interviews with the real Frank Abagnale on the “special features” DVD. It is about a teenager who runs away from home due to his parents’ divorce, and makes a living by forging checks (several million dollars’ worth) and traveling the world while posing as an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer. This really happened back in the 1960s. After the real Abagnale was caught and spent a few years in French, Swedish, and American prisons, he was released at age 26 and has spent the intervening years helping the FBI catch check forgers, and building up his own company which assists banks and companies prevent fraud. Very cool. The movie also reminded me that Leonardo DiCaprio is in fact a really good actor. He was so good in “Gilbert Grape,” but the whole “Titanic” thing made me not want to watch anything with him in it any more.
(4) Ghostbusters: Somehow I had never seen this before, so Andy and I watched it last weekend. It was really funny, and made me nostalgic for those simple, goofy, funny, good movies they made back in the 80s. I don’t think movies like that are made any more; any that try end up seeming just kind of dumb. Comedies now need more sarcasm, vulgarity, and good-looking people, it seems. But, my saying that just means I’m getting old, that’s the kind of thing everybody says about movies/books/and so forth made during their childhood versus today.

4 Responses to “Steal This Blog”

  1. alan says:

    Good movies all around. Catch Me and Ghostbusters were both fun entertainment, and Seven Samurai is simply epic storytelling. Trivia: my son is named after the actor who played Kikuchiyo 🙂

  2. Kim says:

    If you liked Princess Mononoke, you should also check out Spirited Away which came out last year – I think it’s by the same guy and the movie is just magical. It’s about a little girl whose parents are transformed into pigs and she needs to go around this enchanted world to find a way to change them back. The animation is likewise breathtakingly beautiful.

  3. pcg says:

    Very good movies. Incidentally, _Princess Mononoke_ is (one of?) Roger Ebert’s favorite film(s) of all time. I’ve never seen _The Magnificent Seven_, but _Shichinin no samurai_ (see how multicultural I am!) was surprisingly funny and (less-surprisingly) intriguing.

  4. michele says:

    Alan, that’s very cool. I read that that director and actor worked together on a lot of movies, we’re looking forward to watching more of them (if we can find them at the local Blockbuster’s).
    Kim, I’m looking forward to watching that one–thanks for the recommendation!

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