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You Wouldn’t Like me When I’m Angry and Watching Movies

January 2, 2013


looperAs a new dad my time is limited where entertainment is concerned.  I love movies, but can never find the time to watch them.  I love books but can’t find the time to read.  I like to draw, but my primary medium of late is coloring books.  I’m not complaining, it is simply a fact of life.

ruby sparksSo, when I find that rare 2-hour period to watch a film, I try to make the best possible choice.  In the past 2 weeks I’ve had three occasions to watch a new film; Django Unchained, Ruby Sparks, and Looper.  People would say it’s impossible to compare these three very different films, a period revenge fantasy, a time travel ‘would you kill Hitler given the opportunity’ film, and a romantic dramedy about a dream girl spontaneously created from one man’s imagination, but you’d be wrong.  It’s easy. All three endings  fall quite short of expectations when you consider their very ambitious plots.  All three films give in to the easy Hollywood ending.  In true American form, they give us a protagonist that gets the girl, the cash, the revenge, the treasure, and gets everything he or she ever wanted.  This is my biggest problem with American cinema of late.  There is no real fear, because Universal pictures, Sony, Disney, MGM,  will not let the protagonist lose.  Sure, the Police detective’s partner will always die, and it might seem like the couple will never get back together in time for the wedding, but you know they will.

I’d like to offer some alternatives to these three films, where you might sit a little closer to the edge of your seat:

time crimesInstead of Looper watch Time Crimes (Los cronocrímenes), . Time Crimes explores the concept of paradoxes, fate, and avoidance of your fate through time travel in such tragic and moving ways.  When you get to the end, you’ll want to put it on again to see what you missed in the first half hour.  This film could very easily have been called Looper, and I’d be willing to say it out loops Looper at least three times over.

sliding doorsInstead of Ruby Sparks watch Sliding Doors.  Ruby Sparks, which was a wonderful film, is 104 minutes long.  It should have ended at 103 and it would have been perfect.  I’m not going to say anything beyond that, because it is a wonderful film, as I say again, and I do not want to spoil the end.   Sliding doors is another very engaging romantic comedy with a Sci-fi twist, which explores alternate universe possibilities for a woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow.  The film follows two timelines, using whether or not she makes it onto a train as the divergent moment.

Instead of Django Unchained watch The Great Silence (Il Grande Silenzio) – –  directed by Sergio Corbucci . Really, you can go see any spaghetti western though.  Europeans, particularly Italian directors, were enamored with our wild west.  It was one of the last places on earth that ‘civilized’ man had yet great silenceto conquer in the 1800s.  It was a lawless place where men and women did what they needed to in order to survive.  Tarantino embraced the anarchy and grey morals of the spaghetti western, but then disregarded it quickly in favor of cartoonish violence … There was so much blood in one of the final scenes that I thought I was watching Evil Dead 2.

There is a formula to a Tarantino film.  The formula is as follows:

-Everybody wants something and is willing to kill for it.

-Everybody experiences small side adventures/ horrors on the way to what they want.

-Everybody still living converges on one location and has a witty conversation for about an hour.

-Everybody pulls out their guns.

-Everybody dies except for one (maybe two) people.

-A really cool retro song, which will enjoy a sales spike on itunes,  will bring the closing credits up as the survivors ride off into the sunset.

I’m not knocking Tarantino.  I  like the formula.  I like the witty dialogue.  I like his ability to take a character that should be a villain in any other film, and make the audience care about him or her.  All I’m saying is that there are other films that don’t adhere to his formula which might surprise you like The Great Silence.

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