Posts in Category: Movies

Johnny Cash and Redemption

Posted Sep 24th, 2006 at 2:52 pm in Movies | Comments Off

I watched Walk the Line, the movie about singer Johnny Cash last night. Overall I was very impressed.

If there’s any complaint I have, it’s that the movie was very much like Ray. Singer has an incredible amount of talent. Singer has emotional and psychological damage from childhood. Singer turns to drugs and adulterous affairs, destroying his life and nearly killing himself. Singer finds redemption in painful recovery process. In this respect, the two movies are identical. Still, both are great movies with great performances by their lead actors (Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line and Jamie Foxx in Ray).

Watching the movie, I was reminded of song Cash sung not long before his death. The song is titled Hurt, and it’s a Nine Inch Nails cover. For what it’s worth, I’m no fan of Nine Inch Nails. But this song, combined with the video, is one of the most poignant pieces of art I’ve ever seen reflecting on the mistakes of a lifetime.

I’ve included the video, and if you haven’t seen it, give it a watch. The words, the corresponding imagery, and the tiredness of Cash’s voice give me chills.

I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that’s real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar’s chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

King Kong Surprised Me

Posted Jun 14th, 2006 at 10:18 pm in Movies | 5 Comments

While at home last weekend, me and the Mrs. watched King Kong. I must admit, it really surprised me. Surely it must be difficult to make a movie this bad.

The movie starts off well enough — you don’t see King Kong for the first hour. While that might seem like a long time, trust me, it’s nothing compared to the next two hours you’ll spend with him.

Most offensively to us was the portrayal of the natives on Kong’s island. We see black people living as animals, while at various times the good white folk from the ship (with an exception to the black first mate who’s killed off as quickly as possible) shoot a few here and there to save their own. Gee, couldn’t we move past our disgusting stereotypes?

Then comes the ecological lala land. Where enormous apex predators and herbivores, like dinosaurs and Kong, live on an island. No one bothered to ask an ecologist about the limitations of body size on island. Okay, for this I can forgive them, even if it doesn’t win any points with me. It’s just a movie, I can accept the idea.

What I cannot accept is the next hour of utterly pointless film, with little dialogue and lots of fighting between Kong, T-Rex, and the crew. The special effects were so dominant over the actual movie that I expected Jar Jar Binks to get involved in the fray at any moment.

I understand the idea behind the movie and where the tension is supposed to come from… Kong loves the hot blond, but unfortunately the prezygotic barrier is just too big, and there can be no hope of a relationship. Still, this is not enough to sustain a three hour movie.

Even the ending stunk. Jack Black’s character, who is obsessed with exploiting Kong for a quick profit to show him off to the public, utters the worst ending line in recent memory.

It wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.

Man, glad I waited three hours to hear that!

Just in case anybody else is like me, and catches up on the latest and greatest six months to year after it happens, don’t worry with King Kong. You can do far better.

M:i:III

Posted May 6th, 2006 at 9:23 am in Movies | Comments Off

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to watch a crappy movie that’s short on plot, characters, or point but high on action. You will realize after the movie the superiority of 24, and be thankful for it.

My wife finished her student teaching yesterday. She was excited. We had to celebrate. The penniless couple saw a movie and went out to dinner.

We’d heard that Mission Impossible 3 was the best of the bunch, and while that might be true, I can’t say that makes it worth seeing.

Save yourself the trouble and start with season 1 instead. (You can rent it). You’ll be glad you did.

And while we’re on the subject of movies, I noticed that Hoot has gotten absolutely wretched reviews. I mentioned the movie earlier and noted:

While the movie is certain to be ridiculed by those who think conservation gets in the way of progress, it does seem to portray the message that subdivisions aren’t compatible with natural ecosystems. That’s a message most people don’t understand in my estimation.

Well, it seems the movie makers have done us the favor of making sure that ridicule is well deserved. Just what I love to see. An important message (habitat IS conservation) that weakens rather than supports its cause. Someone should tell them to do us a favor and not make the movie next time.

The Walt Disneyfication of Nature

Posted Jan 9th, 2006 at 11:22 am in Culture, Movies, Nature | Comments Off

For a long time, I’ve rather disliked the subtle messages that we communicate to our kids through kid movies. Nature and it’s relationship to humans are shown to be a block party. All the creatures hang out, the rules of ecology are simply non-existant, and nature is portrayed in a surreal way. Over Christmas I watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and it certainly fit this decription.

Now I realize that I’m in grave danger of being labeled a fun-hater (by the only jury that counts no less — my wife). I think these kid movies condition us though (starting when we’re kids but continuing in adulthood for most people) to not see the connection between habitat conservation and conservation of nature. Most people just don’t realize that a front lawn is NOT a prairie with a crew cut. And leaving a few trees in the backyard or city park doesn’t constitute a forest.

While at the movies the other day, I saw a couple of trailers that really seemed to be put forth a more realistic message.

The first movie was Hoot. The premise is that children work to save a population of owls from impending suburbian development. On the one hand, the movie looks a little hokey and there are some birding inaccuracies with their trailer. They show a Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) land on a police car at night (the owls are diurnal) and then give the call of a Great Horned Owl. It’s a shame too because Burrowing Owl’s calls are so much cooler. (They also give a shriek which is particularly neat, but I couldn’t find a vocalization of it on the net.) However, I got particularly excited when the trailer briefly showed the kids looking through the Sibley Guide to Birds (also known as the bible for birders) at the illustrations of Burrowing Owls. While the movie is certain to be ridiculed by those who think conservation gets in the way of progress, it does seem to portray the message that subdivisions aren’t compatible with natural ecosystems. That’s a message most people don’t understand in my estimation.

The second movie was Over the Hedge, and it looked to be good. It’s animated and done by Dreamworks, the same people that did Shrek and Madagascar. (I haven’t seen the latter, so I have no idea what their portrayal of the most spectacular island on earth, one who’s ecology is in tatters, is like. I did hear it was a funny though.) Over the Hedge has good voices too. From the trailer, the movie was a somewhat funny look at how wasteful our society can be, and how a group of animals with nowhere else to turn head for the suburbs to raid the trashcans.

All in all, these back to back trailers advertised movies with a subtle message — we share the earth with all living things — that I think is a positive, if small, step in the right direction.