Monthly Archive for January, 2005

Meet the Parents

Meet the Parents (1/31/05) Netflix (2000 ***) Directed by Jay Roach, starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. I am probably the last person in the continental United States to see Meet the Parents. It was enjoyable enough, I suppose. I watched the first hour while walking on my treadmill and the movie took my mind off the physical exertion. Honestly, this wasn’t my kind of comedy. I just didn’t appreciate the form of humor derived from a guy feeling bad about things and having everybody be mean to him. It dredged up too many old feelings from the 2nd grade playground.

The Boy With the Green Hair

The Boy With the Green Hair (1/20/04) Netflix (1948 **) Directed by Joseph Losey, starring Pat O’Brien, Robert Ryans and Dean Stockwell in the title role. This was one weird-ass movie. I rented it because my Father had mentioned it in one of our conversations. It had some kind of strange peace message, but it wasn’t completely clear. Or maybe it was way too clear. I don’t know. At times it reminded me of an Ed Wood movie, but it wasn’t quite awful enough to be entertaining. It was also odd that it starred a very young Dean Stockwell (Al in Quantum Leap) as “the boy.” What an odd career that man has had, huh?

Before Sunset

Before Sunset (1/19/05) Netflix (2004 ***½) Directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. This was my first Netflix rental! Having bought and watched Before Sunrise I wasn’t expecting much from its sequel, but I thoroughly loved it. It was far more romantic than I’d expected and worked far better as a movie than the first. The fact that the characters were older helped. The conversations in the first film seemed somewhat immature, but then the characters (and Linklater himself) were a decade younger.

In Good Company

In Good Company (1/16/05) Hollywood Arclight (2004 ***½) Written and Directed by Paul Weitz, starring Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. I’d heard good things about the movie and it was even better than I expected. The simple premise (a young boss falls for his subordinate’s daughter) was well-executed. It’s definitely in the categories of movies I would have liked to have made. I particularly enjoyed Topher Grace (Traffic, That ’70s Show) and hope he has a good, long career in front of him.

Hair High

Hair High (1/12/05) DWA Screening (2004 **) Written, directed and largely animated by Bill Plympton. It was, I suppose, an honor to see the latest film from Bill Plympton. He was a hero of mine back when I was doing my (mostly animated) TV show in college. Largely because of pacing reasons, Hair High was barely watchable at times, though the second half picked up a bit. I suppose it’s hard to reset my expectations of what a film should be, and the aforementioned slow pacing was probably out of 1-man-production necessity. Still, I admire Plympton for his efforts.

Before Sunrise

Before Sunrise (1/9/05) DVD (1995 **½) Directed by Richard Linklater, screenplay by Linklater and Kim Krizan, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. This film was less moving and insightful somehow than I anticipated. I admire Richard Linklater for making these conversationally-dense (“talky”) movies, but I wasn’t nearly as involved by Before Sunrise as I was by Waking Life. Also, I don’t think Ethan Hawke delivered a very compelling performance; I know it was partly his character, but he still came off mostly as a jerk at times when he should have been more sympathetic.

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby (1/9/05) Glendale Mann 4 (2004 ***½) Directed by Clint Eastwood, screenplay by Paul Haggis, starring Eastwood and Hilary Swank. I went to see Million Dollar Baby on a rainy day while still suffering from a bad cold. Once again my enjoyment of a movie was diminished by my poor hearing. Most of the dialogue in the film was mumbled. I suppose I’ll have to re-watch it on DVD someday. Also, I wished I hadn’t read the reviews, since I anticipated the film’s “surprise turn” in its third act.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby (1/8/05) DVD (1974 **½) Directed by Jack Clayton, screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow and Sam Waterston. I don’t think I’ve watched this film since I was in high school, where I seem to recall watching it in English class. Certainly as a 40-year-old I can appreciate its themes more now, although the affectations of the idle rich characters were hard for me to believe.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (1/1/05) San Francisco (2004 ***) Directed by Brad Silberling, starring Jim Carrey. When a trio of children lose their parents in a fire, a distant relative takes them in, then tries to do them in. I had relatively low expectations and more or less enjoyed it. Carrey was creepy but effective, and the children were likable enough. Still, it never completely came together for me as a unified whole.