Thursday, April 13, 2006

Movie Binge

We haven't been hitting the video store as often lately as we were last summer, mostly because work, the current TV season, and life in general have kept us busy. Maybe I'll have a chance to blog about how I was out of town four weekends in a row, but maybe not. Like I said, I've been otherwise occupied.

Anyway, this past weekend we rented a whole pile of movies. This was on the heels of a trip to the theater to see Slither, which was a good time. After the movie we went to our favorite Hollywood Video location and rented the following:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966): I had never seen this one, but my husband had been a fan of it for years. He misspent more of his youth on musical theater than I did, which is impressive. It's a fun movie, bawdy and energetic, but ultimately everyone is happy and goes home with their own wife and/or freedom from slavery. And I had no idea it featured an elderly Buster Keaton!

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005): I'd heard good things about it, and am happy to report that it's a nice movie and I'd be happy to have my future children see it one day. There's so much crap aimed at "tweeners" and teens today, but this managed to be sweet and touching without being really stupid and saccharin. It gets bonus points for having Bradley Whitford from The West Wing in a supporting role as one of the girls' father.

Making Love (1982): This is a movie that's better for what it tried to be than what it actually is, but I still enjoyed watching it. It stars three people who I mostly know from TV: Harry Hamlin (right after Clash of the Titans, before L.A. Law and waaaay before Veronica Mars), Michael Ontkean (after Slap Shot, but well before Twin Peaks -- in fact, this role probably dented his career for awhile) and Kate Jackson (after Charlie's Angels, before Scarecrow & Mrs. King). The plot can be summed up quickly: a married doctor (Ontkean) figures out he's gay and has an affair with a hot commitment-phobic writer (Hamlin), eventually ending his marriage (to Jackson). It has occasional terrible dialogue that belongs in a play written by someone very earnest and younger than 20, and oversimplifies a lot of things, but it was a noble effort. There weren't a whole lot of mainstream movies featuring dudes making out in 1982, and even fewer that showed it in a positive light or treated the characters as people.

Longtime Companion (1990): I guess I went on a gay cinema kick when Brokeback Mountain was released on DVD last week. I bought it, but still haven't watched the movie. I know I'm going to cry buckets over it whenever I do, just like I did watching Longtime Companion. This was one of the first films to deal with the AIDS epidemic, showing its effect on a group of gay men in New York during the 1980s. The film hit me harder than I expected, but it brought back a lot of hard memories from the year I spent volunteering in a local AIDS hospice while I was in college. A solid movie, and not as awkward and simplistic as Philadelphia was a few years later.

Good Night and Good Luck (2005): I was surprised at how little of the story I knew, specific to Murrow. Very nicely directed, and crammed with actors I recognize from TV. Ray Wise from Twin Peaks and 24, Reed Diamond from Homicide and The Shield, Aaron the Secret Serice Guy from 24, and several others. There's nothing I can say about this movie that hasn't been expressed better and recently in reviews, except that George Clooney is my secret boyfriend. Don't tell anybody.

There were two more films rented, but I'm saving them for another post.

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