Saturday, October 23, 2010

Part 2 of Top Ten Most Memorable Movie Experiences

Please refer to the post before this one to see what I'm talking about!

 Titanic  (December 24, 1997) My Girl had remained my favorite movie...up until the day I saw "the biggest movie of all time" with my mom. I know it's the in thing to hate this movie, but I loved it and will always love it, bad dialogue and all. I love the score, the costumes, the special effects, the cinematography, everything!! I was 17 when I saw it, pretty much in the age range that was targeted. I always thought it was cool that I was the same age as Rose and she was a redhead like me! </dork> I cried buckets towards the end...I don't think I had cried so hard during a movie since My Girl! Mom and I loved the movie so much that we saw it again with my dad on January 24th (he wasn't that impressed!), then we saw it on March 24th one final time before it left the theater. The ending is one of my favorite movie endings ever.

 South Park (July 9, 1999) - In July '99 I was attending "college camp" at KU and I had made friends with two other girls, Emily and Cybil. Well, some of my fondest memories are from the summer of '99 (heh) and one particular memory is when we went to see the South Park movie one Friday night at nine o'clock. Luckily Emily had a car (named Friday) and we went out to eat at Long John Silver's before seeing the movie, I remember that minor detail! Well, of course, we loved the movie and on the way home we kept quoting the movie and I swear, "Punch and pie!" became our motto for the rest of the month. (And sadly, also, for the rest of my life). You can read my review of the movie here.

 The Sixth Sense (March 4, 2000) - Even though this came out in August '99, I didn't see it until next March when it was re-released for the Oscar season. The reason I didn't see it when it first came out is because I hate scary movies. I had seen the trailer and I got shivers down my spine when they showed the scene where Cole and his mother are in the car and he's saying that a lady had just died and his mom says, "Oh my God, you can see her? Where is she?" And he replies, "Standing next to my window." Brrrr! It soon began to grow more and more popular and when it was nominated for six Oscars, I decided to finally go see it and find out what the fuss was all about. My friend Amanda and I went to see it that March evening at 9:20. (She hadn't seen it either). I remember being surprised that the theater was nearly full - I didn't think there would be that many people since it was re-released. You know what's really pathetic? I was scared at the first scene. I thought a dead person was going to jump out at us! I became a little tense when Vincent appeared, but after that, I relaxed and enjoyed the movie. It wasn't until the party scene where I began to feel my heart beating out of my chest for the rest of the movie. From the moment Cole is locked in that closet till the very end, I was clenching my stomach so tight and had my hands ready to reflex quickly to my eyes if I needed to! But I'm proud to say that I never had to leave the theater and I never completely covered my eyes. It turned out that I absolutely fell in love with it and it's since been one of my favorite movies since. I even called my brother the next day to discuss the movie with him. And I remember one time I was on a four hour car ride with my mom and we discussed the movie the entire ride! I even made a website about it. Yeah, I was pretty obsessed with that movie for awhile.

9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (December 25, 2003) - My brother and I had an argument over this movie whether we should get tickets in advance or just get them on Christmas Day at noon when we planned to see it with our parents. Two days before Christmas we were doing last-minute Christmas shopping with Mom and since we were near the theater, I suggested that we get tickets for the movie. Bill scoffed and said "Nobody is going to be at the movies on Christmas!" (Yeah, right!) So we got into this huge squabble and I made a bet with him: if the theater was crowded, he would have to owe me five dollars, and if it wasn’t, then I would pay him. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out who won that bet. Luckily, Mom agreed with me and told us to get the tickets that day. On Christmas, Bill and I left at eleven (Our parents were gonna come later, so we would save seats). A lot of other people had the same idea as me and had bought their tickets in advance. We were lucky to find four seats in a good row and, big surprise, every seat was full.  I remember towards the end of the movie (or what I thought was the end!) I really had to use the facilities, but the movie just kept going! The screen would fade to black, and I'd think, "Oh, thank God," but nope, not over yet! I mean, I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but come on!

10. The Dark Knight (July 20, 2008) - This was one of those big movies I was anticipating and wasn't able to see it until the third day of its release because it was sold out the first two nights. I was spoiled even before entering the lobby of the movie theater when I overheard someone from the group of people who were coming out of the theater from seeing the movie earlier say to their friend that they couldn't believe that they killed off Batman's girlfriend. (Yeah, I know, technically she wasn't his girlfriend). But even that couldn't spoil my excitement of seeing the film, and honestly, I was glad when Rachel was killed off because she was so useless! The theater was packed and I sat next to this girl and her boyfriend, who was REALLY excited for this movie. Before the movie even started, hell, even before the previews started, he started clapping and soon the entire theater was applauding. I've never been to a movie where everyone applauds BEFORE the movie! His girlfriend turned to me and apologized, saying that he was just really excited for the movie, but I didn't mind; I thought it made for a memorable experience! You can read my review here

Top Ten Most Memorable Movie Experiences - Part 1

Sometimes when I see a movie, I can't remember anything about it the following week. That's probably why I've kept a journal with a list of all the movies I've seen in the theater since 1999. The following ten movies are ones that I remember mostly due to the whole experience of going to see them, though I did enjoy most of the actual movies too. 

I had to make this in two parts because it was too long and didn't fit when I tried to post them all together. Blogspot is so annoying sometimes! Sorry for all the extra space at the bottom - I can't seem to delete it. 

In chronological order:

 My Girl !!SPOILERS!!  (November 1991) - It was either Thanksgiving or the day after when I saw this with my mom and brother. It instantly became one of my favorite movies (until another tearjerker replaced it six years later). What made watching it memorable was that it was the first movie I remember not just crying during, but actually bawling my eyes out. I don't have the best memory in the world, but I don't remember ever crying during a movie before. And everytime I would wipe my tears away and be able to see the screen again, I'd start crying all over again, like when Vada comes down to Thomas J's funeral and says, "Where are his glasses? Put on his glasses! He can't see without his glasses!" Yeah, that started the waterworks again! Then I'd composed myself again, and the next scene would be Vada telling Thomas J's mother that he would be all right because her mother would take care of him. :::sobs::: I'm sure my eyes were red and puffy when we left the theater! That movie is really, really sad!

 Aladdin  (December 1992) - Not my favorite animated Disney movie, but what makes the experience of seeing this one so memorable was that I was going to see A Muppet Christmas Carol with my dad and brother. We had paid for our tickets and were seated with our popcorn, candy, and pop in the nearly crowded theater waiting for the movie to start. Instead, a manager came in and told us that they were having technical difficulties with the film and that everyone could either get their money back or go see another movie that was about to start. Since we were already at the movies (and I'm sure we were there in the first place to get out of our mom's hair), we decided to see another movie and that turned out to be Aladdin. Nothing like that has ever happened to me since. And in case you were wondering, we did see A Muppet Christmas Carol the following week.

 Jurassic Park (Summer 1993) - I was wanting to see this when the promos were out and after my brother had seen it with his friends and was telling me how great it was, that only fueled my desire to see it more and my mom took me to see it. Wow, what an experience on the big screen, especially seeing it for the first time. Now that I've seen the movie SO MANY TIMES that while I still love it, I'm not scared anymore because I know when all the scary dinosaurs are going to jump out and attack. (Though I still get nervous when the T-rex attack the kids in the jeep). But the first time you see this movie? Especially when you're a 12 year-old? It is the scariest thing in the world! And not only for me, but my mom too! I think she scared me more than the dinosaurs because she would leap in the air and grab my arm, which startled me a great deal! The scene that freaked me out the most was when "Newman" (heh) gets attacked by that little dinosaur that seemed cute and chirpy at first, then it flares out its clown collar and starts to hiss, and I'm like, "Oh, shit!" That scared the bejesus out of me!

 Independence Day (July 3, 1996) - This was one of the first movies that I saw on opening day. (I've now seen many movies on their opening day, that it isn't even a big deal anymore). ID4 was deemed the biggest movie since, well, I don't know, Star Wars, maybe? It was being promoted everywhere and everyone was going to see it. I mean, who doesn't want to see a movie about aliens taking over the world, especially with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring in it? Well, it turned out that was the week my friend Emily, and her family were visiting  after she had moved out East a few years earlier. So Emily and I called our friend Jill and on the afternoon of July 3, 1996 my mom drove us to West Ridge 8 Theaters. We (okay, I) was so anal about getting good seats (I HATE sitting in the damn front row), so I insisted that we leave one hour early to get good seats. Well, we were the first ones there when my mom dropped us off (I guess it would probably have been more crowded at night), but it was all good because the three of us just sat and chatted and caught up on old times. Good thing we did get there early, because the theater was packed! It made for an awesome viewing experience too; the audience really got into it. Ah, there's nothing like a huge blockbuster on the Fourth of July!

5. The Fifth Element (July 1997) - This is not one of my favorite movies and I've never seen it in its entirety, but seeing it was definitely a memorable experience because I saw it in a small town in France. (I was on a tour of the country with my high school French club). I've lost my journal that I kept while I was on the trip, so I don't remember what part of France this was in, but a group of four or five of us decided it would be fun to see a movie at the cinema while in another country. (Oh, how young and stupid we were...) One of my friends assured us (from one of her friends who had been to France before) that the movie would be dubbed in English, or, at the very least, there would be English subtitles. Wrong! But before the movie started, we bought our tickets and walked into the theater. Now I don't know if this is because we were in a small town, or all theaters in France are like this, but the first thing I noticed was that all of the seats were on level ground, not the slope you see here in the States. It could be that we were just in old theater and they hadn't renovated yet, who knows. We watched the previews - all in French, of course. Most of them were for American movies; I remember one was for Men in Black and it was really weird hearing Will Smith's voice dubbed in French especially since it didn't sound like him at all. Actually it was weird to hear all the English-speaking movie stars dubbed with another voice. After the previews, the lights came on again and an employee came in wearing a box around his neck that held boxes of candies that he was selling - kind of like you see at a baseball game. I wasn't planning on buying any refreshments, so I really hadn't noticed there wasn't a concession stand. Again, I don't know if it's like this in all French/European theaters, or this was just a rare case. So the movie starts and the entire thing is in French and there are no subtitles to be found. Keep in mind we have had only one or two years of French so of course we have no clue what is happening. (And when I did see the movie a couple years later, I still had no idea what was going on!) We were so bored - a couple of my friends ended up falling asleep. Finally, in the middle of the movie, someone suggested we leave, so we did. When we returned to the hotel we were staying at, our French teacher was pissed at us because we came back after the curfew and hadn't told her where we were going. Whoops.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A '90s Classic

Pretty Woman
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Hector Elizondo, Jason Alexander
Released: 3/23/90

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Julia Roberts (lost to Kathy Bates for Misery)

Before I begin my review, you have to watch this hilarious YouTube video from Vh1's I Love the '90s (1990 edition) where comedians and d-list stars reminisce about Pretty Woman. It's hilarious. My favorite bit was the one about hookers generally not having as many teeth as Julia Roberts. Also, if you haven't seen the movie, it gives away pretty much the entire movie, but I'm guessing most people have seen it. It's a '90s classic, after all!

The trailer for this movie makes it look like a slapstick comedy. She's a prostitute who doesn't know how to behave in social situations and must learn how to act like a lady! He's the billionaire who can't seem to find love and ends up falling for her! Hijinx ensue!

This film does paint street walkers in a somewhat glamorous light. Now I don't know any prostitutes in real life, but I'm guessing most, if any, don't look like Julia Roberts - because if you looked like Julia Roberts you wouldn't need to be one!

Pretty Woman is not realistic at all. I'm guessing that if a hooker (even if she did look like Julia Roberts) walked into a posh hotel in Beverly Hills like the one in the movie, she would be escorted out in seconds, even if she was with one of their best clients. Also, does the $3000 that Gere offers her to be his "employee" for the week seem a little cheap to anyone else? It doesn't even seem like that much twenty years ago.

I talk about one of the most well-known scenes in the movie:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno
Director: John Guillermin
Cast: Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Jennifer Jones, Fred Astaire
Released: 12/14/74

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to The Godfather Part II)
Best Cinematography (won)
Best Editing (won)
Best Original Song - "We May Never Love Like This Again" (won)
Best Supporting Actor - Fred Astaire (lost to Robert De Niro for The GodFather Part II)
Best Art Direction (lost to The GodFather II)
Best Sound (lost to Earthquake)
Best Score - John Williams (lost to Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola for The Godfather II)

Watching a movie about hundreds of people being trapped inside the world's tallest building while a fire blazes below them, it's hard not to think of the World Trade Center, especially since the novel it was based on was based on the WTC and what would happen if a fire would ever occur in a building that high. The only differences are that this fictional building is located in San Francisco, is 130-something stories, and didn't collapse. I have to admit: I kept waiting for the building to crumble. There's a bit of a prophetic line in the movie when Steve McQueen's fire marshall told Paul Newman's architect, "We were lucky we only lost 200 people; the next time it could be 10,000." Okay, yeah, maybe not that many people died in the WTC, but still a little eerie considering it was uttered 27 years before 9/11.

The fire is started by faulty wiring which is discovered by none other than a technician played by O.J. Simpson. Hmm, who wants to bet that HE started the fire? Of course the building (which is an office and residential building) has just opened and everyone is attending the grand opening on the top floor. The fire starts on the 80th floor but the owner of the building isn't too concerned with it, thinking it's just a small flame that can be controlled by the fire department and doesn't want to disturb his party.

Being that this film is very reminiscent (aside from a few dashes of Hollywood ridiculousness) of what those people in the WTC went through on September 11, it was a little hard to watch it at times because it seemed too realistic. This wasn't one of those disaster movies like 2012 where everything is so over-the-top, that you can sit back and enjoy the ride and laugh at the absurdity of everything.

I will say that I was caught off guard when one of the characters played by someone in the cast I listed above has a sudden demise. Usually you can tell who's going to live and who's going to die in these types of movies, but this one totally shocked me; I wasn't expecting it at all.

This is what I learned from The Towering Inferno:
-When constructing the tallest building in the world, never be cheap. (The owner wanted to save a few bucks and that's what ultimately caused the fire).
-If you are having an affair with your secretary, both you and your mistress will die a horrible death if there's a fire in your building.
-NEVER get in an elevator when there's a blazing inferno. What the hell were you thinking, Newman?
-Always make sure you have tanks of water on top of your building so you can put out fires. (That may have been a bit of a spoiler).

I really liked Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in this; I might have to check out more of their films.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sara Likes This

The Social Network
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield,  Justin Timberlake
Released 10/1/10
Viewed 10/5/10

Here is an anecdote before I begin my review. Don't worry, it's related to the subject of the movie. About a  year ago, my mom was telling my brother and me news about some of our cousins and each time she would tell us about one of them, we would both reply, "We know, we already read about it on Facebook." She would then go on and say, "Oh, well did you know that so-and-so is pregnant/has a new job/fill in the blank here." And again, yes, we had already in fact known this news because we both have Facebook along with our cousins who posted the news. That's one of the benefits (and perhaps also one of the downfalls) of Facebook: news can get around in seconds. Along with Facebook, I also have LiveJournal, Twitter (which I hardly use) and this blog. Who needs the newspaper when you can get the latest news with the click of a mouse?

Directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, two of the best working in the business today, The Social Network is a smart and provocative drama about the founding of Facebook and how creator Mark Zuckerberg pissed off a few people who claimed he stole their idea. I don't know much about Zuckerberg except that he's worth billions of dollars and is 26, but he doesn't come off as very likable in the movie. Jesse Eisenberg plays him as someone who is socially inept, not always thinking about what he is saying and hurting people in the process, including his girlfriend and best friend who both part ways with him because he ends up embarrassing or betraying them.

Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, the one-time best friend and partner of Zuckerberg who ends up suing him. You feel bad for the guy because he's given the short end of the stick and is screwed by his friend when Mark wants to take the business in a different direction than Eduardo when he meets Napster creator Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, rounding out the cast), who comes off worse than Zuckerberg because he's bit of a sleaze. Napster was pretty awesome though; I miss getting all those songs for free!

It's difficult to know how accurate this movie is. Zuckerberg says the movie isn't, but Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins who claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea, says it is. Go figure.

While the film is mostly a drama, there were a few funny moments in it. The scene where Eduardo's girlfriend starts freaking out at him because his status says "single" reminded me of Stan and Wendy in the South Park episode about Facebook and the student who came in late to a lecture and didn't realize that Bill Gates had been giving the lecture, though I found that a little far-fetched because these are Harvard students, after all. I mean, aren't Harvard students supposed to be smart?

My first introduction to Faceback was back in 2005 or '06 when a co-worker of mine told me I should get Facebook. When she described it, it sounded a lot like MySpace, which I had at the time (only at the persistence of my younger cousin) and never used. I signed up for Facebook and didn't even use it for about a year. It got really popular in 2007 and I noticed more of my friends, co-workers, high school classmates, and family members were also using it. I'll admit; Facebook can be very addicting. I always have to check it everyday to see if anybody's commented on my status and see what's in my newsfeed. With almost 200 friends (which really isn't that many in Facebook world), it's impossible to keep up with everybody because  I'm constantly pushing the refresh button for live feed.

Even if you don't have Facebook or if you're anti-Facebook, I would still recommend the movie to you. It's worth checking out.