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Choir practice I: Summer movies

Post by Brian O'Neill on July 6, 2012 at 9:23 am with 2 Comments »
July 6, 2012 10:32 am

The lunch room in my station is the place where pecking order usually takes a back seat to comraderie. The idle chit chat is a lifeline that keeps us afloat, especially given the stresses that exist on the other side of the doorway. I often listen (and sometimes suffer) the opinions of my co-workers on a variety of topics: politics, food, kids’ sports, romance and movies.

And, best of all, I make a point of listening with my elbow on an actual water cooler.

Which leads me to my first installment of choir practice, a series devoted to matters far outside my wheelhouse. As such, I offer zero guarantee on content which represents the combined “expertise” of a bunch of cops who couldn’t critique their way out of a coffee shop.

First up: Summer movies (or at least the ones I know about).

Rather than write a lengthy dissertation about a single flick, a la Soren Anderson (whose analysis my wife and I typically reverse), I thought I would hammer out the entire list at one time. Any resemblance to a police report is mere coincidence.

1) The Avengers: If you like superheroes (i.e., you’re a male between the ages of birth and not quite dead), you will like this movie. It flows like a comic book series, jumping from one implausible scenario to the next in a single bound. If you’re outside this movie’s demographic (i.e. not male), you may be swayed by the well-written plot, the suave and impeccable acting of Robert Downey, Jr. (I really like him sober) and the fact that Thor is, honestly, one good-looking dude (or god, whatever).

2) Men in Black III: Will Smith is awesome. There’s little else to say. Okay, there is a decent plot here, insofar as the movie is a prequel to the first two installments of MIB. It’s a fun movie, sure, but it has a nice edge to it. Most of that edge is provided by Josh Brolin, who plays a younger Agent K. Brolin absolutely nails Tommy Lee Jones’ character as a young man, almost to the point where Jones, in the end, appears to be channeling Brolin. Like The Avengers, it’s not a thinking man’s movie – which makes it a great summer flick.

3) Battleship: Sorry, I couldn’t talk my wife into watching exploding aliens.

4) Magic Mike: Sorry, my wife couldn’t talk me into watching male strippers.

5) Snow White and the Huntsman: As an English major, I’m always interested in reinterpretations of classic literary works. This movie, a more realistic version of the Grimm brothers’ story, is an all-out attempt to make a movie that appeals to everyone: action adventure freaks, book club ladies, kids trying to sucker their parents into taking them to a PG-13 movie, and Twilight fans (Snow White is the saga’s main character). Putting it all together, however, is the cinema version of the anecdote, “jack of all trades, master of none.” Even Charlize Theron can’t seem to figure out what type of movie she is filming. I give it a solid, “Meh.”

6) Prometheus: See review #3 above. I will see this movie, though. Somehow.

Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages"/ AP Photo

7) Rock of Ages: From the moment the words “It’s 1987″ were spoken, I was hooked. It was the year I graduated college with aforementioned English degree (though I should have received a minor in MTV videos filled with the guitar gods of rock). The movie was a remake of a musical, yes, but the use of iconic LA music locales, cameo appearances by legendary rock musicians and measure after measure of great songs made the movie a great event for myself and my wife. Also, there was this: Every time I’m ready to diss on Tom Cruise (and who isn’t preset to dislike the guy), he makes a movie where he is not the alpha and omega, and when he does he’s brilliant. I mean it – check out Tropic Thunder. If you hate ’80s rock, steer clear of Rock of Ages. Otherwise, go see it.

8) You may note that I have not discussed any art house movies. Films that make you think are fantastic, but when given a few spare hours my brain craves something less real and more artificial. I did, however, see Salmon Fishing on the Yemen, which was absolutely superb.

9) I am looking forward to all the new or upcoming movies, such as The Amazing Spiderman, Savages, Dark Knight Rises, The Watch, but like everyone else, there’s never enough time. Such is life.

That’s it on the film front. Until next time, if I see you at the movies let’s pretend we don’t know each other.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. APimpNamedSlickback says:

    I hadn’t even heard of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen until one day my boss closed the office early and took everyone out to see it. If I had known about it, I never would have thought to go see it, but I’m glad my coworkers and I were forced into an awkward forced socialization under the guise of “team-building.”

    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was indeed a superb movie. One of the few artsy movies that doesn’t take itself too seriously to be enjoyable.

  2. Brian O'Neill says:

    Sometimes that’s what it takes to get a person to do something out of the ordinary. I’ll be catching more art house films in the future, if they’re that good.

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