Saturday, January 23, 2021

What's Next On My List? Girl's Best Friend

This is the 10th year of my blog, and as always, I have at least 40 movie reviews planned, as well as my personal entries and a good chunk of games and TV shows. Some of these are going to be classics that I just took off my bucket list, others are going to be contemporary ones streaming on major services online. So let us just get onto the next item on my list of chores:

Girl's Best Friend (2008)

Mary (Janeane Garofalo) is a music critic, who after a failed marriage, closed herself off, and now dating a musician is scared to not like his music. Her mom moves closer to her and her sister for health reasons, and she asks Mary to drive Binky, her dog, across the country, so he does not have to fly. Despite not wanting to do it, Mary bonds with the dog over the trip and slowly moves on from her previous pain enough to truly open up to the great guy she started to date. Her mom never gets back Binky!

I watched this movie years ago, but it stuck with me for a couple of reasons. First of all, Janeane Garofalo is just wonderful in this role. She plays cynical and introverted characters very well, and I found it endearing that she opened up to the dog. She had somewhat lost faith in both herself and other humans as well, and having another creature that she was responsible for did help her change her attitude in a big way. Second, I also liked the genuine progression of her character and story. She was over her ex-husband, but actually facing him was the final thing that reassured her of her feelings. All along there was this underlying idea that she was not over her marriage and that is why she could not open up to her new boyfriend. In fact, she wanted to open up to him even more. Third is my absolute favorite scene in the whole movie, is after Mary goes to her ex-husband's wedding, as he invited her out of politeness, and she hears that the couple's first dance is to the song "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes. In the scene afterwards she is explaining to the dog that this song is about cheating. It is fun not just because she points out what a horrible choice it is, but it also brings in the fact that she is a music critic, and thus knows her way around a playlist. Her outburst to the dog, which leaved her laughing too, is one of the most endearing scenes I had seen in a long time. You feel like you are there with them and you laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

Watch it? It is a delightful movie, simple plot, but great actors and quite emotional at times. You understand Mary's struggle, and you root for her to figure things out with her boyfriend. Her commitment issues are no surprise, and learning to care for someone other than her opens a new chapter in her life. If you can get your hands on it, make sure you do!

Until the next item on my list!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

What's Next On My List? Knives Out

This is the 10th year of my blog, and as always, I have at least 40 movie reviews planned, as well as my personal entries and a good chunk of games and TV shows. Some of these are going to be classics that I just took off my bucket list, others are going to be contemporary ones streaming on major services online. So let us just get onto the next item on my list of chores:

Knives Out (2019)

A detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is hired for an assumed suicide, and slowly he unveils that everyone in the family of the deceased had motive to kill him, and perhaps it is not a suicide at all. 

Before I head into the review, let me just say that Rian Johnson is an exceptional director. I loved his Star Wars movie and I am super excited about all of the projects he will head in the future because I was not disappointed yet. At this point you have heard hours of praise for this movie, and I am sure you have seen it yourself. But I decided to talk about it again because I just want to put out there that there are very few movies that have such a star studded cast and are actually good films. This is part of the very few exceptions. Each actor showed a side of them I had never seen before, and the casting director deserves all the praise, as every character had wonderful chemistry with anyone they shared the screen with. You can tell that they had a well made ready script before they started to get the actors, because what made it a perfect story with a beginning-middle and an end, was that they did not rely on the stars to patch up any plotholes or forgotten stories. At a time when even murder mysteries resort to remakes of classics that we all know the ending of - at least my generations and the ones older than that - it was a breathe of fresh air to have a story that surprised me so much. 

Watch it? If it isn't on one of your watchlists already, then you are a fool. Perfect for next Halloween, as it is a cold, autumn going into winter movie, with a scary old house and a murder mystery on our hands. And Daniel Craig delivers a perfomance I have never seen from him before. Truly marvelous.

Until the next item on my list!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Blogger: What a time to be a Star Wars fan!

This is not going to be a long entry, but one that got me feeling blessed at the end of a horrible year like 2020: and that is because of the expansion of the Star Wars cinematic universe.

This is going to be the 10th year of my blog, and as such, I wanted to talk about my favorite franchise of all time, because May the 4th seems very far away for now - which is when I have my usual yearly review -, and also because Star Wars seems to be the one thing that has been my companion ever since I started writing reviews. One of my very first entries ever on movies, or reviews of any kind, was "Why you should enjoy Star Wars Episode I, II and III in spite of public opinion", and I still proud of that. I love the prequel trilogy, especially because it gave life to so many great projects that helped survive the quarantine. Honestly, the addition of James Luceno's Darth Plagueis book is probably the reason I grew to care for The Phantom Menace, despite its faults. And when it comes to the Clone Wars cartoons, well, try to watch the last 4 episodes of the seventh season and try to tell me that this universe does not have some of the best writers in Hollywood. And I won't even start talking about the Timothy Zahn books because we will be here all day.

For the longest time I did not care for the extended universe, because it all felt like fan-fiction to me. I knew I wanted more, and shows like Clone Wars and Rebels showcased that I was not alone. Having them be part of the canon was their biggest appeal to me. Admittedly not everyone is a fan of how Disney has dealt with buying Lucasarts, but I had faith in them all along, and it paid off. Even with the new trilogy being a big mess (and also making some realize that perhaps the prequel trilogy was not a mess at all), they did not give up and we already have proof of the fact that live-action TV shows can be just as good as the cartoons. 

The Mandalorian was a great example of how - in the hands of good people - every Star Wars fan has something that will get them back into the universe. And speaking of universe, I think we can farely assume that we all had enough of the Skywalkers. I wouldn't mind seeing a young Luke, and quite frankly, if there was a way to give us as much Princess Leia as possible, I would give good money for it (if only Disney+ would come to... you know... the rest of Europe...). But this family, as crucial as they are in the history of the Force, are just one of many. My favorite thing about Episode VIII (which WAS a good movie, you stiff idiot), was the possibility of a whole new galaxy of Force wielders that have nothing to do with those that survived Order 66. I want more of that and maybe next to Grogu we can get there. One thing is certain: it is not just about the Force wielders, and Star Wars: The Bad Batch as well as Rogue Squadron will demonstrate that. And all the other SW projects on the way.

I still remember seeing Episode III in original language with my brother, and the theater was filled with foreigners and at the very end the applauded the movie. It is a custom in the States, but I had not experienced it before and it was cathartic. I love that movie, I really do. I am lucky to be alive now, to have seen the ending of Clone Wars and the beginning of everything new. I will still remain a fan of what is actual canon, slowly expanding to the huge comic universe as well as all those marvelous books, that clearly have a big inspiration on the writers of the new cinematic shows as well as the cartoons.

And I did not even mention the video games! Fallen Order had me crying like a baby, and I sure hope Cal Kestis shows up some more and not just in the games. 

I could go on and on, but I did want to take this minute to address that despire the horrible year that we had, and some hardships to follow in 2021, it is sure a great time to be a Star Wars fan!

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If you'd like to read more from me, here is a list of all my writings concerning Star Wars: