Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Popcorn and Social Change

We haven't done this in a while and the Golden Globes were last night (not that I watched), so movies are on my mind. There really are two you need to see so we can talk about them, and a few runners up, as well.

Brokeback Mountain won Best Picture last night, apparently. I have to tell you that I went to this movie out of desperation. I didn't think I would see it -not because it's a "gay love story" but because cowboy movies have never appealed to me much. But I was crazy-deranged looking for something to do one night, and this friend was going so I tagged along with him (and a bunch of his friends that I didn't know. Way to be a pain in the butt, Andrea.) See this movie. Really.

I know nothing from nothing about cowboys. Some of these people are into rodeos, so they were a little disappointed in the cowboy details. It's always interesting to see movies with experts, but, really, the details were entirely accurate enough for me. Another person is a computer graphics person, and he thought the CGI work with the mountains was disappointing. I didn't even know it was CGI until he told me. I'm not crazy about Heath Ledger, but he worked his way past my aversion, doing a fine job. I liked the music and have a good chunk of it downloaded onto my ever-present iPod.

And the story... oh my lands, the story. I didn't cry, but many people did. I find myself wondering what's going on with the characters and have to dope-slap myself, reminding myself that they were in a movie, for crying out loud. To me, one of the most interesting parts was after the movie as people were leaving the theater and hanging out in the little nearby coffee shops. It was like college. People were draped over chairs and tables, discussing the movie. When was the last time that happened? Sometimes stories really do change the world. As stories like this one become more a part of our cultural fabric, possibly tolerance and even celebration of many kinds of love will be more common, too. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

And then there's Syriana. This one is much more self-consciously a social justice movie, billed as a political thriller. On the down side, it has Amanda Peet, who is just a major "no" for me, and George Clooney, who doesn't appeal to me for reasons I haven't analyzed. George Clooney did fine, playing a character very different from his usual choice. And Amanda Peet's role isn't huge, so I got past it. I spent a good part of the movie frantically trying to figure out who one character was; it was Christopher Plummer. When was the last time we saw him in something? Anyway, now you can relax and pay attention! Which you'll need to do because the plot moves quickly and has multiple layers, as political thrillers frequently do. In any case, the idea is that governments put oil interests ahead of the well-being of individual citizens. Well now, there's a news flash. But do watch it and post your thoughts. I think I'm going to have to rent it from netflix and give it another look before I fully decide.

And there's always Good Night and Good Luck and even, if we stretch the definition of social justice a little, Walk the Line.

What else should I see?

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