I was text chatting with my Mother the other day (it seems the world has come full circle, we used to exchange letters, then came the telephone, followed by emails, which has now led to real time text chat, which will probably be followed by morse code, odd how that is going, eh?), and we got to talking about movies. I don’t watch many movies, since I am generally disappointed with them. It just seems to me that if they are going to spend 150 million on a movie, it really should be somehow better than the 1 hour shows that are on television every week, yet they rarely ever are.
I find that the movies I enjoy seeing the most are the ones that were released at least five years ago (from today’s date, you know?), and that I have never heard of. Or in some cases, like The Butterfly Effect, it can be of any age, and as long as I never paid any attention to the press about it, I can still enjoy it. By far the biggest part of enjoying the movie, for me at least, is not knowing what is going to happen. I don’t mean that they give to much away in trailers, I mean that if I have seen a trailer at all, I probably already know too much to actually enjoy it (I exclude comedies from this, since my only expectation when watching a comedy is that it will make me laugh. If it accomplishes that -no matter how absurd the plot (if there is one) or the characters- I am satisfied).
A great example of this is the movie Seven. I had absolutely no idea what that movie was about when I sat down to watch it (on video). When it went into the VCR, I was kind of expecting to see a gangster movie about gambling in Vegas (no idea why), and having absolutely no knowledge of the story really made that movie. I have since watched it again and I still find it enjoyable, but there is something about seeing it with absolutely no knowledge or expectations that ups the ante as far as the suspense is concerned. Good stuff.
When I recommend movies to my Mom, I like to recommend the ones that she has probably never heard of either. We have roughly the same taste in movies (imagine that), so I am perfectly comfortable with giving her the titles of some of the dark comedies that I enjoy, yet would not really cop to watching -at least not in person-. Sometimes I manage to recommend movies that she really enjoys, sometimes though she is forced to yank that crap out of the deck ten minutes into it. Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?
I recommended two movies to her while we were chatting. One is 11:14, and the other one is Lucky.
When I watched Lucky a couple of years ago, I threw up a review typed thing that made complete sense to me when I wrote it, but as I look at it now it is quite convoluted. I remember that when I wrote it, I was just pissed off that everyone that reviewed it had missed one extremely key point, and I wanted to note that. I didn’t do a very good job of it, but I was probably as drunk as old Millard himself when I wrote that, so I suppose it is to be expected. I am not going to try to fix that pseudo-review, so read it at your own risk and don’t expect me to answer any questions about it. Do watch the movie though, well if you happen to really like your dark comedy. Lucky was probably the best dark comedy I had seen in at least ten years, and some might not even classify it as “dark comedy” (which would just further prove my insanity, but who is really doubting that at this point anyway?).
11:14 is another movie that I had never heard of. The cast is a who’s who of people you’ve never heard of (or forgotten all about). Patrick Swayze is in it, but he is far enough removed from his bad-ass-turned-into-wussy-spirit days that his role in this one wasn’t huge, and I almost almost made it all the way through without once thinking of Whoopi Goldberg. Hillary Swank was also in it, but while I have heard the name, a quick look at her film credits (while impressive) shows that I have actually only ever seen her on screen in the movie Insomnia, and I don’t know which character she was playing in either film (at least I don’t recognize her face in either film. I never watch any of the shows or look at any of the magazines that paste the faces of actresses all over them. I honestly wouldn’t be able to tell apart Hillary Swank and Hillary Duff. Unless one of them really is named after the skin mag, in which case I probably had a few or her pictures on my wall at one point -no tape, no glue, no thumbtacks, just stuck right on the wall-).
11:14 is another movie that I went into knowing absolutely nothing about. I had never heard of it, didn’t know who was in it, and only decided to watch it since it was on a free preview channel so I knew it wouldn’t have any commercials. It is another dark comedy, and another one that works pretty well. An event happens at the stated time, actually several events, and you get to see it all through the eyes of five different people. The flow of the movie is similar to that of the older comedy Noises Off, in that there are so many things happening at the same time that you find yourself rooting for a bad person who is doing a bad thing, since there is a worse person who is doing a worse thing, and you just hope that they don’t run into each other. If you find yourself rooting for anyone, you are rooting for someone who, were it to happen in real life, is going to be spending a long time in prison. But you do root for people, ’cause just when you think you hate someone, another guy trumps them in the evil deeds department.
Yeah, I really liked this one. Again, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had never heard of it (I wish Ebert had so that I could steal a snippet of his review; mine does it no justice. Alas, Ebert has no such review, so you will just have to take my word for it). It is obviously going to help if you are able to make light of death (deaths), because if that offends you it is going to be a real deal breaker.
Yeah, anyway. So my mom put these movies on her blockbuster on-line order list, and she got one of them in the mail yesterday. She started watching Lucky, and called me a few minutes into it to ask me if she had the right movie. See, when I told her about this movie, I gave her the release date, the actor’s names, and the character names to make sure that she got the right one, as there are a lot of movies that share that title. She was reading the description from the back of the box to me, and she indeed had the right movie. But when she took the dvd out of the player to see if perhaps it was the wrong disc, she found that while the movie was indeed called Lucky, that was only the US title. The one that she had was a foreign release distributed by Eros entertainment. Yup. They put a porn in the box for the movie they sent my mom.
Being the caring and compassionate son that I am, I did what any caring, compassionate son would do in that situation: I laughed so hard that it gave me cramps. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.