Light-Hearted Movie Round-Up

For the first time in a long time, Emily and I are experiencing a summer where we aren't completely broke. We both make more money than we did when we were in grad school, which means that this summer, we've been able to afford a few luxuries, like going to the movies.

In fact, I've seen a lot of movies this summer. Here are some of my reactions:

Spider-Man 3: I think history will be kinder to this movie than audiences and critics were this summer. Everyone was really quick to point out that the movie's not nearly as good as the first two-- bad pacing, less-compelling villains, awkward and unfunny humor... But still, the movie's not nearly as bad as some people claim. It's kind of like the third X-Men movie-- pretty fucking far from high art, but still entertaining enough in its own way.

Pirates of the Carribean At World's End: The biggest source of marital strife in my household this summer. Emily insisted that this movie was good. I insist the exact opposite-- except for the last half an hour, which is, admittedly, pretty kick-ass. I mean, Keith Richards has a cameo where all he has to do is act like Keith Richards, and he fucks it up! I mean, damn!

Knocked Up: This movie got a lot of love early on, then faced a pretty serious backlash. While I understand the critics who were disappointed that the movie didn't really discuss abortion in an intelligent way, it also seems to me that making a relationship comedy that tried to tackle abortion would be about as ill-advised as, say, Chasing Amy, a relationship comedy that tried (and failed) to tackle sexual identity (I know most of my co-bloggers disagree with me on Kevin Smith. Sorry). The movie was funny, all of the characters were likeable-- but complex-- and I walked away from it pretty certain that the filmmakers wanted me to know that the decision to have the baby was her decision-- she let the father know what she decided, certainly, but-- in the end-- this was a movie about one woman and the difficult choice she made. And it was funny, too.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Best Harry Potter movie so far. Even better than the third one. And I typically hate Harry Potter, so that's high praise from me. Finally, it felt like the series is about more than just special effects-enhanced magical hijinks-- this was a movie about adolescence and rebellion. And it was really entertaining, too.

Sunshine: What a fucking trainwreck. The first hour of the movie is absolutely excellent, calling to mind really good science fiction movies like Aronofsky's The Fountain and Soderberg's Solaris. Then, in one moment, the entire movie unravels and proceeds to suck ass for the remaining 45 minutes. It was incredible. I've never been so disappointed by a movie.

The Simpsons Movie: You know, I remember liking this while I was watching it, and thinking it was better than the TV show has been recently. But if you asked me to tell you what happened in it, I couldn't do it. It's that memorable. But I must have liked it-- I recall laughing while I was watching it, at any rate.

Hot Rod: Unfortunately, I think this movie's going to be forgotten-- overshadowed by the two Judd Apatow movies released this summer. That's a shame, because the movie was actually quite funny. Written by "the other South Park writer" Pam Brady, the movie stars current Saturday Night Live golden boy Andy "Lazy Sunday" Samberg as a cape-wearing aspiring stuntman with no real knack for stunts. It calls to mind your childhood-- assuming you were a child in the late 70s or early eighties when stuntmen were still kinda big, kids eagerly awaited the next volume of The Guiness Book of World Records, and Kevin Bacon "punch-danced" out his aggression when life in John Lithgow's tiny, closed-minded midwestern town got him down. Really, really funny.

And now, we're off to see Stardust. I'm not much of a Neil Gaiman fan, but the promise of seeing Robert DeNiro as a cross-dressing pirate intrigues me...

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