Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Movies Alone

I write a column every week for about movies and it can sometimes be tricky. I’m lucky in that my editors have given me a pretty free reign on what I can write about, but I need to keep in mind that a big chunk of the audience is, well, people who watch MTV. Most weeks I tend to take on the role of Professor Rewind, trying to teach the kids a thing or two about the history of film, or get them to broaden their horizons or thinking a wee bit. Occasionally I’ll pander to the crowd, tossing in a list of movies about losing your virginity, but more likely I’ll tell them why my pop culture is better than theirs (something some would claim I've been doing for decades).

This week I’m working on an overview of the films written, directed by and starring Albert Brooks. And it’s been a real test of my “Don’t Spend Money” resolution because as I’ve been writing, I’ve had a big ol’ hankering to own Modern Romance, Real Life and Lost in America. Two things are holding me back, though: Not all of Brooks’ films are out on DVD and those that are are (1) too expensive and (2) really lacking in bonus materials, especially for the price. Modern Romance is coming out soon and it’s happily a cheap price, so I’ll eventually get that (it’s my favorite Brooks film anyway). But Geez Louise, doesn’t it seem as if most of Brooks’ oeuvre is ripe for the Criterion treatment?

Speaking of movies, I realize I’m late to the table here, but I saw Million Dollar Baby on HBO last weekend and HOLY SHIT.... That.... movie..... SUCKS. Bowing the eternal reign of subjectivity, I still think that it’s just a flat out BAD MOVIE.... awful cartoony characters, ridiculously huge plot holes, a clichéd, predictable story... I honestly do not understand the heaps of praise this movie earned. My biggest (of many) complaints? That not ONE PERSON ever told Maggie (the so overrated Hilary Swank) what “Mo Chuisle” (the Gaelic term on the back of the robe given her by her beloved trainer / manager / surrogate whatever Frankie [Clint Eastwood]) meant? It seems minor, but it’s such a huge part of the plot that it’s just too much to buy that she remained ignorant of its meaning until Frankie tells her right before he pulls the plug on her (and calmly walks out of the facility). Yeesh.

This week I went to see two movies alone. I never used to do that when I was younger. But these days, Movies Alone feels like the wave of the future. Or the name of a Blog. Hey, how about just the heading of this entry.

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