Tuesday, February 28, 2012

News from TL, The Help, Midnight in Paris

Clearly I'm behind AS ALWAYS. I just barely finished getting the gift cards off to the winners of the BEST MOVIE EVER project despite being no where close to finishing watching your recommendations; I'm still doing them (even if no one is really reading this anymore after I quit Facebook. Again). If you are reading and not just getting here by image searches on Google, you should shoot me a comment because I'm wondering if it's even worth doing another contest for April (which is probably when I'll finish your film suggestions). I'm thinking maybe a magazine subscription for a prize this time. Tell me what you think.

I had most of a review finished for my other . . . outlet and planned on doing the rest of the Best Picture nominees up properly also, but something has happened that has left me feeling a little disenfranchised about certain things, not the least being what I'm okay doing in order to get my content published and playing ball in the journalism field vs. being true to my own values as a writer. Telling me something I've written needs a paragraph break is fine; dismissing my content (which I put at least a pint of flesh and blood into) for needing . . . get this . . . MORE LINKS----I dunno if I can be okay with that. There are more issues, none of them major, but let's just say I gained a bigger perspective about all this. Anyway, enough bitching.

The Help, 2011. Directed by Tate Taylor
starring: Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard

"An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis." (IMDB).

I didn't expect to like this very much so I was pleasantly surprised when I really enjoyed it. I mean, as much as you can enjoy a film about a bunch of pampered, racist, bullies, I guess. I don't know how realistic it was, since I wasn't around in Jackson, Mississippi during the sixties, but I'm sure that for every true story or situation mentioned there were about a hundred more disturbing, not-so-smoothly addressed ones that could not and never will be resolved simply by putting them into a narrative (that ends more or less on a positive note). The best thing about this film are the characters, they're interesting, well-written, and portrayed very well by each respective actor.

I think the most difficult thing about this film for me was having to try to figure out how I felt about it from a human standpoint. Obviously it's a story, obviously it's gotta end and tie up more or less neatly, but sometimes there are social issues that you really just can't lighten. Like, at all. The film was a decent production, and like I said, I enjoyed it, but I have this nagging issue with so much of the behavior shown in the film (as I'm sure many others do, too) that no matter what the outcome, no matter how rightly humiliated the perpetrators eventually were in their own ridiculousness----there's just absolutely no excuse for it. It's like there's this safe kind of distance from all this pain and suffering because it's being shown in a fictional film, but . . . that doesn't really work for very long when you admit to yourself that the events in this film and much, much worse really happened and are still happening. I like that Aibileen and Minny actually took a stand and tried to do something, indicating they were doing it for their children (and so that Skeeter could "put a stop to all this,") but you can't just let people off the hook with, "sometimes courage skips a generation." That really got me pissy.

Midnight in Paris, 2011. Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams

"A family travel to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple who are forced to confront their differing views of a perfect life." (IMDB).

Seriously, this one is in my top five, ever. I was dumbfounded by it, was so utterly impressed and excited by it (even days later) that thinking about it just makes me giddy and happy like nothing else. This is such a writer's film; I had no desire to go to Paris (in the current year or any others prior) but seeing Gil (Wilson) walk around, discovering everything, and getting inspired by everything he sees was enough to make me want to go a little. I loved every minute of this.

1. If you want to see how to be the world's most awful spouse to a writer, pay special attention to Inez (McAdams). Actually, I think she'd be awful to anyone she married, really. All the interrupting, condescending, and complete disregard for Gil's work and feelings? What a bag.

2. Hemingway: "My response is that I hate it. If it's bad, then I hate it because I hate bad writing. If it's good, then I'll be envious and hate it even more. You don't want the opinion of another writer."

3. Adrien Brody as Salvadore Dali and the entire discussion among the surrealists. This is maybe going to sound a little snotty, but if you know anything about Bunuel and the stuff he did (or were forced to watch it for hours as a film student) you'll find this whole exchange hilarious. Predictable but hilarious.

Also HOT.
Perfect. All of it.


Donald said...

How is Dali a character in this movie? Is it a period piece? And is this worth watching even though I hate Dali and think his work is awful?

madamsvito said...

It's just something you have to see. Doesn't matter if you hate Dali, I hated Bunuel but loved the way he worked into this film. It's good and I loved it, which probably means you'll absolutely hate it.

Anna said...

Dammit, that was me again.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Donald: it's time travel.

I think I commented on another post you did in which you mentioned Midnight in Paris. I don't think I loved it quite as much as you did, but I did really enjoy it. For all the same reasons you did.

Anna said...

I just reread your comment on Midnight in Paris and agree about Owen Wilson---he was perfect as blond, rambling faux-Woody Allen.

I want to watch it again but I spent like $10 already since I am physically unable to return films to the red box on time and I don't think I can trust myself. Maybe I'll just have to buy it.

Christian Genzel said...

I think about 30 minutes into MIDNIGHT IN PARIS it became clear to me that it'd rank among my favorite movies ever. What a beautiful movie.

My favorite line? "Oh, of course it all makes sense to you! You're a surrealist!" ... closely followed by "You always take the side of the help. That's why Daddy says you're a communist."

Anna said...

CHRISTIAN! Yes! All that banter about the Tea Party was pretty funny, too with that father.

You're up next on the rotation, btw. I can't wait.

Donald said...

I watched the trailer on youtube. I dunno. I'm sure it's a great film, but that's a *really* bad trailer. But because I trust y'all, I put it on my netflix queue.