This weekend, I made it a point to do nothing. The last few weekends have been pretty booked up for me, so I made sure I kept this weekend void of responsibility and agenda. I did my regular DJ gig on Friday night, which was fun. I really like my DJ job. On Saturday, I redid an old art deco rod iron table for my room. Russ cut and stained the wood for it yesterday. Other than this table, I did nothing but watch movies and and download music.
The first movie we watched was "In Her Shoes" with Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine. The previews definitely bill this movie as a somewhat light hearted comedy, but be prepared, this movie is more a study of relationships and how they affect our self-esteem than a light hearted chick flick. One reviewer did say this film would appeal to both sexes, but this movie is very distinctly about the relationship between two sisters. I honestly can't imagine my father or either of my brothers watching this movie unless forced to by a female counterpart. I found this movie to be well written and well acted, but it was not without it's flaws. The movie centers on two sisters. Rose (Toni Collette) is the older and responsible, if not somewhat frumpy sister. Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is the younger beautiful sister who gets by solely on her looks. Rose is constantly taking care of Maggie and cleaning up her messes. I won't give away any film spoilers, but after a big fight, they end up reconciling with a long lost grandmother (Shirley MacLaine). The movie doesn't really end in happily ever after as I fully believed that these characters would stay true to who they are and life would continue to have it's ups and downs after we left them at the end of the movie. The movie had a few flaws, the biggest being the timeline between when Maggie took off to Florida and Rose meeting her there later on. Apparently, A LOT of time passes because Rose goes on to quit her job as a successful lawyer, become a dog walker, fall in love, get engaged, have a wedding shower and then get dumped by her fiancee. It seems to always be winter in Philly and Rose never struck me as the kind of woman who'd get engaged so quickly. A lot less time seems to pass for Maggie while in Florida. Also, Maggie and Rose are both close to their father, who seems oddly content only hearing about Maggie from Rose over this time period, then hearing from Maggie herself. These flaws aside, I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys well-written character driven movies.
The next movie I watched was "Saw II." I'm a big fan of movies that are actually scary, this not being one of them. The first "Saw" had a very scary premise and almost succeeded until it's absolute atrocious and completely unbelievable ending. So, I was curious as to how or evey why they'd make a sequel to the first. You know, other than the obvious money hungry studio execs beating the proverbial dead horse until it's made as much money possible. In the second film, there are now 5 people who wake up in a house, having no idea how they got there and unable to figure out how they are all connected. They have to figure out a series of clues and/or riddles to find the keys to staying alive. I have to tell you that the minute I saw Shawnee Smith return as the only victim to ever survive the killer "Jigsaw" I knew she had to play a role in the ultimate demise of the rest of the characters. This movie is less gory than the first, but even less believable on about 100 different levels. This isn't to say I didn't enjoy it to some extent. It was fun watching the 5 victims run around this weird house (oddly void of windows) like mice in a maze looking for cheese. Donny Wahlberg, as the detective on the case, gave a pretty good performance. I'd like to see him make a good film with his brother Mark. The actress Dina Meyer from "Starship Troopers" is in this as another detective. This woman is so annoying in every tv show and movie she appears. I have no clue why she has a career. She's pretty, but not strikingly so, and she's far less talented than most actresses out there today. Which would explain why she continually turns up in mediocre films. To describe her acting as one-dimensional, would be over shooting it by one. If you thought the ending in "Saw" was contrived, this one will make the first ending look like a masterpiece. It boils down to this, if you thought "Saw" was a brilliant gore-fest of a movie, you'll probably drool over this one. If you weren't all that impressed by it, than the sequel will have you rooting for the death of the characters.
Last night, we watched "Walk the Line." I had a tough time going into this movie due to it's recent Oscar wins and media accolades. It makes me hyper critical of the piece. This was a good movie. It can be put right up there with the other great country legend bio pics "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Sweet Dreams," and even the tv miniseries "Love Can Build a Bridge." Playing a real person is a difficult task for an actor. You don't get as much freedom to create a character because the character is real. It means you have to study the person's life, personality, body language, speech patterns, etc. You have to embody someone already loved and adored by the general public. Not an easy task, but one both Joaquin and Reese handle rather well. I can honestly say that I believe Reese earned her Oscar. These were stellar performances. To top it off, Joaquin learned to sing and play guitar for the movie and Reese learned to sing. And quite well, I might add, on both their parts. John and June were never known for being great vocalists, but they had the "it" factor. They were the type of performers who brought so much heart and soul to their music that you could not take your eyes off of them. I only have two complaints about the movie. Johnny's first wife, Vivian, was not given a fair shake. She dealt with him when he was constantly on the road, drinking too much and on drugs. When he was home, he was non-existent. Still, in the film she comes off as an ungrateful and mean woman. I think she was a far better person than portrayed to have put up with Johnny as long as she did. Especially since his love for June was very obvious early on. My second complaint is the film only covered Johnny's life from 1955 to 1968. It does touch on his childhood and very briefly on his life into he Air Force. Once June accepts his proposal, the movie ends. And they sum up the remaining 35 years of his life in 2 sentences. WHAT???? That's it? We watch him struggle, grow as a person and an artist, finally get to a high point and we leave him there? So his life was all roses and lollipops from 1968 to 2003? Nothing about how he dealt with June's death 4 months prior to his own? Nothing about how he dealt with is daughter's rise to fame? I was disappointed, but not turned off. As a matter of fact, I bought quite a bit of Johnny and June's music on iTunes after watching the film. I think I'll read the biography and auto biography on him as well. On a side note, it was interesting to discover that June wrote his big hit "Ring of Fire" which believe it or not, was covered by Olivia Newton-John early in her career. That's an entirely different blog altogether....which will appear sometime this week.
On a side note, I watched the flick "Paper Moon" with Tatum and Ryan O'Neal directed by Peter Bogdonavich. Such a great timeless classis. Rent it soon. Tatum O'Neal won an Oscar for her performance and to this day is still the youngest person to ever with the coveted award. Some great lines from the movie.
Moze: I got scruples, you know what they are?
Addie: Nope, but I'm sure if you got 'em, they belong to somebody else!
Later on as Addie and Imogene talk about the slutty Trixie (Madaline Kahn):
Addie: What d'ya mean she puts out?
Imogene: I mean she be like a gumball machine. You put money in and she puts sumthin' out!