Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer of Hits & Misses

My life is back.  After a summer spent toiling away at my legal studies—studies which, at points, seemed about as useful in a real-world setting as going to Wikipedia, clicking “random article” and memorizing the first 300 pages that they pop up—I can finally get back to doing a thing or two that I actually enjoy.  This morning, for example, I woke up at 6:30 (optimum film-watching time for me, for whatever reason), ate an embarrassing amount of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, drank coffee in my underwear, and watched Dog Day Afternoon, and it was one of the best mornings of my life.

And, of course, this also means that I hope to be updating here more often.  I plan to bring back my Film Friday column, talk a little bit more about upcoming movies that you may or may not be interested in, and hopefully give a little bit more depth on this year’s awards race, which is shaping up to be pretty great. 

This summer in film has given us some head-scratching hits and misses.  For example, why did Thor do so well but The Green Lantern didn’t?  Why is Smurfs destroying everything in its path while poor Winnie The Pooh was hung out to dry?  Who knows.  For now, I thought a good way to cover some ground that I’ve missed over the summer would be to identify some personal hits and misses.   I’ll also throw in some other general hits and misses from the summer, both in the movie realm and in otherwise.

Hit: Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.  I touched on it briefly in my Tree of Life review, but this was a very fun and imaginative effort by Mr. Allen, who didn’t necessarily tread any new ground thematically but looked at it from an impressively refreshing angle. 

My Disappointment of the Summer.
Miss: J.J. Abrams’ Super 8.  I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this, and at first I thought I would, but the plot here went from “fun and adventurous” to “Double-U-Tee-Eff” in a matter of about 14 minutes, and it ruined the whole thing for me. 

Hit: My first summer where I’ve lived at an apartment with a pool/hot tub. 

Miss: Not being able to actually go to the pool due to studying.

Hit: My first watching of Gone With The Wind.  As I tweeted afterward, it’s completely worth the hype. I’ll have to knock off half a point for the romanticizing of the antebellum south, but other than that it sits nicely at a 9.5/10 for me.  The horrific final hour of the first act is among the most riveting sequences of cinema I’ve ever seen. 

Miss: AMC Theatres charging $15/ticket for a fake IMAX screen. Give me a break.  If I’m going to get raped by a price at the movie theater, at least let me get some popcorn and coke out of it.

Hit: Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love.  The movie itself was meh, but Gosling (and his love interest Emma Stone) were well-worth the price of admission.  Plus, when my wife oggles him, I can’t even be mad because even I realize what a sexy beast he is.  It’s unfair, really.

Miss: Everyone else in Crazy Stupid Love, especially the annoying 13-year old pervert son. 

Hit: The Taco Bell, Chipotle and Starbucks that were right across the street from CU, where I spent most of my summer studying.  It’s like they knew exactly what I needed.

Miss: My digestive system, due to Taco Bell & Chipotle.

Hit: For the snob in me, the Cannes Film Festival back in May produced some much-buzzed-about films to be released over the coming months.  The Artist, Melancholia, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Skin I Live In, and especially Drive (starring the aforementioned Mr. Gosling) are all on my radar, and they should be on yours, too.

Miss:  Anyone who went to see Zookeeper.

Hit: The NFL in ending the lockout.

Miss: United States Congress. You know why.

Hit: Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer.  Surprisingly good performance in a surprisingly good film.

Miss: Source Code.  Apparently I’m in the minority on this one, but this was a disappointment to me. Maybe I was expecting too much.

Hit: Me actually having time to watch and write about films again. 

Miss: The U.S. unemployment rate, which is why I will have time to watch and write about films again.

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