Surprisingly, I Don’t Give Rave Reviews To Every Movie I See, and Here’s the Proof!

I know it typically seems as though I write glowing reviews for a lot of movies.  The fact of the matter is that, like all of us, my time is limited so I typically write only reviews for those movies I actually enjoyed.  My wife and I watch many, many movies on DVD, so it’s hard for me to let you know about every single one of them, especially those that failed to move me in some way, shape, or form.

So, here it is!  Here’s a list of all the movies I’ve seen in the last six months that I didn’t feel compelled to write a review on.  Prepare for an onslaught of nastiness…

The Brother’s Grimm – Terrible acting, terrible story.

The Ice Harvest – Cusack usually good.  Movie bad.

Corpse Bride – I actually enjoyed this one.  Great animation with a fun premise.  Burton is gold in my mind.

The Weather Man – Nothing special about it.  At all.

Munich – I actually had to turn it off.  I can take some violence, but this just got to be way too much for me.  I understand violence is a part of our world, but I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to watch this one.

Broken Flowers – Hate to admit it, but it bored me to death.  Had to turn it off.

The Producers – Had to turn if off.  Very, very annoying.

The New World – Bored me to tears.  Didn’t watch the whole thing.

I Heart Huckabees – I actually loved this one.  I sadly simply never found the time to write a review on it.  Really good movie, but only if you’re into postmodernism and metafiction.

Fun With Dick and Jane – Run away from this movie as fast as you can … and don’t look back.  I’ll be praying for you.

Ultimate Avengers 2 – About as good as the first one, and that’s not very good.

Date Movie – Utterly stupid and insipid.

Memoirs of a Geisha – I know I’m supposed to like it, but I found it very difficult to sit through.

The Da Vinci Code – A heartless copy of a fun book.

Stay – Darn it!  I actually really liked this brain tease as well, I just never found the time!  Rent this one if you get a chance, I thought it was very engaging and it had some excellent acting.

March of the Penguins – See Memoirs of a Geisha

The Invincible Iron Man – Vincible.  Very vincible.  (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but alas …)

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut – If you’re that into Superman, you’ll get a kick out of this.  It’s how the sequel was originally supposed to be, before director Donner got canned halfway through.

Lady in the Water – I won’t mention the director’s name because it’s obvious he’s in the business of promoting himself over his art and I’m not going to assist him what that, but let’s just say that this movie was wrong on every possible level.  It’s one thing to subtly give yourself a quick shot on screen if you’re a director, it’s another to make yourself an integral part of the plot, especially when you act as well as my dog Lady, and she’s been dead for 27 years (true story).

Beerfest – I can’t very well chide this movie when I’m the one that sat through the whole thing, but I am not proud of that fact.  If you’re actually drinking beer yourself, this will probably seem hilarious.  If you’re sober and you like it … God help you.

Marie Antoinette – Again, visually interesting at times, but rather snore-inducing.

A Scanner Darkly – Crud!  I really wanted to write an in-depth review on this one.  Long story short, rent it if you’ve got nothing else to see.  Kind of cool, kind of discombobulated, but definitely hard to take the eyes off of. 

Okay, the bloodbath is over.  Hope you enjoyed learning I, in fact, don’t like every single thing I see.  Disagree with some of my choices?  Feel free to sound off!

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Lars and the Real Girl – A Movie Review

I’m proud to admit that the main reason I wanted to see Lars and the Real Girl is because I’m a Ryan Gosling fan.  I loved his work in The Notebook, Stay, and Fracture, so I figured as strange as Lars and the Real Girl sounded, I’d give it a shot.

If you ask anyone, they’ll tell you Lars and the Real Girl is about a guy who falls in love with a sex doll.  On the absolute most superficial surface, yes, that’s what this movie is about.

(SPOILERS)

However, what it’s really about is a repressed young man who absolutely has no idea how to interact with the world.  His mother died giving birth to him, and his older brother left him with their equally antisocial father.  So after the father dies, years later, the older brother and his wife return to share the father’s house with Lars.  Lars, being a genuinely good man, lets them have the whole house and moves into the garage.

Lars forever wears a baby blanket his mother made him around his neck as a scarf.  When he discovers his sister-in-law is pregnant, his awkward behavior intensifies.  You realize that he is suffering from a crippling fear that she will die giving birth as well, but he has no idea how to verbalize or even address these fears.

Enter Bianca.  Bianca is a sex doll Lars orders online.  The minute she arrives, Lars begins acting more normal and even happy.  When he brings Bianca over for dinner, his brother, Gus, and sister-in-law, Karin, are at a loss, but they don’t attack him over it.  Instead they watch as Lars interacts with Bianca as though she’s truly speaking to him, and he then asks if she can stay in the house because she’s very religious and doesn’t want to give the wrong image.  This is very important because it allows the audience to realize that sex with the doll is the last thing on Lars’ mind.  He needed a companion and something to help him get through his anxieties, and Bianca was the answer.

Karin suggests they take Bianca, who, according to Lars, was just in from Brazil, to the doctor to make sure she hasn’t suffered any illness as a result of her travels.  This, of course, is really a subtle way of getting Lars to the doctor.  The doctor pretends Bianca is real, and she later explains to Karin and Gus that Lars is experiencing a delusion, but he’s not schizophrenic.  Her suggestion is to treat Bianca like a real person and see what happens.

Before long, the entire town gets in on the act.  Bianca becomes a thriving member of their community, even getting elected to the school board.  It’s not that the town believes she’s real; it’s that they all love Lars so much that they’re willing to do anything to help him through this possibly life-long phase.

Before long, Lars undergoes several growing experiences that I believe ultimately leads to his relinquishing Bianca, though in a slow, heartbreaking, and natural process … relatively speaking.

(END SPOILERS)

I adore this movie.  My wife and I both were all-but crying at its conclusion because Gosling completely immerses himself in Lars’ quirks and Lars’ emotions.  Plus, the message is so absolutely touching.  I felt ashamed because throughout the movie I kept expecting some jerk to get on Lars’ case, but it never happened.  Lars and Bianca were accepted at Church, at office parties, at the bowling alley, at the hospital-everywhere.  And I felt shame because I forgot that when dealing with people face to face, when dealing with people you know, they will usually do right by you.  People are good.  People do care.  And it took this movie to help me realize I shouldn’t always assume the worst, most people in this world really are kind and generous.

Seriously, I implore you to watch this movie if you haven’t done so.  It’s labeled a comedy, but you’ll be amazed at the emotional depth of it.  It is so much more than just a movie about a guy who falls in love with a sex doll.