Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Great Divide

I'm cooking up some fantastic stuff for you guys (and also dealing with actual real life things like finals), but fantastic things take time (and, you know, finals. you get it.), so for the moment Sergio will be hijacking my blog to serenade your eyes with one of his newest articles! Enjoy!

[EN: You can read Sergio's other contribution to Popcorn Culture here.]

10 Films to Force Your Boyfriend to Sit Through

When you’ve been dating for as long as Brennan and I have you begin to notice that your personalities can at times clash. There is a lot to be said that most of our arguments have been around films and our differing views on any particular one. So in the midst of California’s fiercest heatwave to date, I decided to take it upon myself and compile a list of films that we have shown one another only to find out that the other hates it. So without further ado I present to you the 10 films that you must force your boyfriend to sit through.

Note: I began this post sometime in September when it was as hot as the devils ass crack. It is now December and we are briefly enjoying rain which is sorely needed here in California. You may continue.

[EN: The rain really is lovely. See? At least there's something we can agree on. Also, please keep in mind that, for those of you facing similar cinematic schisms in your own relationships, movie enjoyment isn't the pillar of a strong relationship. 'Taint the end of the world if your boo don't like the same things as you. They just need to be educated.]

#1 Love is Strange (2014, Ira Sachs)

Who showed who: I showed this to Brennan believing it would be a good idea to expose him to something without stabbing. I was wrong.

Taking place in Brooklyn, this Sundance darling stars Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a middle-aged gay couple who decide to marry after a historic 39 years of living in sin. The movie opens with friends and family gathered around their ceremony welcoming their new marriage with open arms and positive words of encouragement. Things go awry when Molina’s boss (An archdiocese and head of the catholic school at which he teaches) finds out about their marriage and interprets it to be as a political statement that goes against their wholesome catholic beliefs. The two must struggle to maintain their lifestyle with a severely reduced income in the jungle that is New York real estate. They eventually find themselves in separate living arrangements and in essence, testing the strength of their love.

Why Sergio enjoyed it: I enjoyed seeing an elderly gay couple marry for the sake of love, and as Brennan pointed out it was one of the most effortlessly diverse film casts that I’ve seen in a while.

Why Brennan hated it: He thought the ending was unnecessary and that the two spent too much time apart and not basking in the basking glow of each other’s love. That’s all he would do if he was married to John Lithgow according to him.

[EN: Let me just say that, as the author of this piece, Sergio has the right to editorialize a little bit. I'm just here to check for grammar. Anyway, Love is Strange isn't, like, the worst film that ever existed. But it certainly fell flat for me. I mean, yay for representation of platonic, elderly LGBT couples, but I wish it took place in a film with more plot than "old dudes can't live together because they live in a world where people deal with problems like they're in a sitcom, also a kid stole a library book and this is a big deal for some reason." Although I dug the constant digs at the family member who lives in Poughkeepsie. It has nothing to do with the plot and she doesn't end up playing a major role in the character relationships. They just keep relentlessly mocking her. She's the Jerry Gergitch of Love is Strange. Poor Mitsy. Read my review here.]

#2 The Guest (2014, Adam Wingard)

Who showed who: Brennan won tickets via Twitter and invited me down to DTLA to experience the magic with him.

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett team up again after the modest success of their indie horror hit You’re Next. The duo decided to venture away from horror and the result was The Guest. Taking place in the middle of nowhere, the titular character played by Dan Stevens is a soldier who is visiting the family of a fellow soldier who died while in action. The mother for reasons unknown invites this stranger to stay with her and her loved ones for an unspecified amount of time. What follows can only be described as pure film gibberish. In a town the size of a pocket square, people are suddenly dying and no one but a coed with impossibly high knee socks has put two and two together. The audience of course already knows who is behind the recent bout of homicides, but we are also given a few additional details into the life of the Guest. As it turns the one time soldier is a war experiment gone awry and is being hunted down by the CIA or something. The federal agency that is hunting him down is completely incompetent as they manage to shoot off more bullets than the A-Team but our anti-hero walks away with nothing more than a limp. What a story.

Why Sergio hated it: The main reason I hated this film was because it did not subscribe to any one genre. It was never truly scary, or thrilling, or funny… though the film in and of itself is one big joke.

Why Brennan loved it: You can ask him because we have a truce that I not mention this movie in his presence.

[EN: It's true, this film is so divisive that we've had to institute our own Geneva Accord to avoid arguments and personal attacks when it comes up in conversation. Basically the one thing we can agree on is that the knee socks thing is pretty creepy. I won't beleaguer the point here, but read why I enjoyed the film in my review here.]

#3 Only Lovers Left Alive (2014, Jim Jarmusch)

Who showed who: Brennan had previously seen this film with a good buddy of his and recommended it to myself, who waited until Redbox had it for a much more reasonable price.

The latest film to include vampires as its main characters, Only Lovers Left Alive, features dynamo actors Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as an undead couple whose relationship has withstood the test of time. While there is no plot nor reason to continue watching once Hiddleston has clothes on, the film is a snapshot at the lives of an everyday couple who just happen to be vampires. Though technically lifeless, the two breathe life into the drab setting that is Detroit, Michigan and find themselves as relatable as Jim and Pam or Sam and Diane. They do this not by great deals of affection but by simple and subtle banter that is recognizable by anyone in a relationship in which the two partners are truly at ease with one another.

Why Sergio hated it: I did not hate the film itself. I did dislike the artsy scenes that took up ten minutes at a time which had no dialogue and were simply weird for the sake of weird.

Why Brennan loved it: It had not plot, was his response.

[EN: OK, the artsy scenes made me dizzy. But I enjoyed the simplicity of the exploration of a relationship that has every chance of lasting forever (literally) and how the participants dealt with and engaged with that. And no plot? I could point to a few examples of Sergio's favorite films to show me, but that would be quite rude, wouldn't it? Read my review here.]

#4 Chef (2014, Jon Favreau)

Who showed who: It was a boring Saturday night and I wanted to eat and show Brennan porn so we decided that food porn was the way to go.

Jon Favreau has apparently tired of making Hollywood blockbusters featuring Robert Downey Jr. and decided it would be a good idea to make an indie comedy featuring Robert Downey Jr. if only for a brief cameo performance. In his indie debut Favreau plays a chef who is down on his luck and has recently lost his job due to a Twitter tirade with a food critic. While wallowing in his own self-pity his ex-wife decides that he should accompany her on a trip to Florida to help and watch over their son while she handles business. As it turns out the trip is only a ruse to get him to America’s most backwater state and open up a food truck featuring the tasty Cuban sandwiches that make Scarlett Johansson’s panties drop. Along the way back into society's good graces he manages to reconcile with his wife and become more of a presence in his son’s life as he forces him into unpaid child labor. Just kidding.

Why Sergio loved it: Actually neither of us really liked it. The movie was just the product of a self-satisfied director’s idea and not a very good one. Favreau never had any real problems, certainly no financial ones and though it was a cornucopia for the eyes, the mind didn’t believe any of the script for a second.

Why Brennan hated it: See above.

[EN: If Sergio and I can both agree that a film is a waste of time, maybe you shouldn't watch it. Read my review here. Also, check out the multi-paragraph comment on my review (here), proving that this movie has the power to enrage just about anyone.]

#5 Zac Efron Looking Pretty or That Awkward Moment (2014, Tom Gormican)

Who showed who: Brennan showed me this because he thought the plot would be as glistening as Zac Efron’s abs.

Every generation there comes a movie that shapes the films that follow it for years to come. Brennan would be quick to point out that Friday the 13th changed the slasher genre, and for years following its release there were multiple rip-offs and rip-offs of those rip-offs. That Awkward Moment would be a rip-off to the third or fourth degree. It’s unique in the sense that they convinced Zac Efron to do a virtually nude scene (thus convincing Brennan to sit through it), but beyond that there isn’t much to it beyond young and successful people creating and solving their own problems. In one scene we see Zac not go to his girlfriend’s (or not girlfriend, these kids don’t want to get to into the labels of the people they see 2-3 times a week and have sex with but whatever) father’s funeral because he didn’t want to make too much of a statement. He didn’t understand why she didn’t call him back.

Why Sergio hated it: I loved seeing Zac take a girl from behind but as fulfilling as that was it was not worth sitting through an hour and a half of him being a terrible person and being surprised that people didn’t like him for it.

Why Brennan loved it: Brennan actually hated it as much as me, score!

[EN: Yeah, this film was a bust. I should have known better than to trust a January comedy. And the title is nothing but pandering nonsense by ad execs who think they "get" memes. But at least one good thing came out of it: the soundtrack is rad as hell. Read my review here.]

#6 The Hours (2002, Stephen Daldry)

Who showed who: Try and guess and see below if you think you know your bloggers!

Told through three separate narratives woven together by a singular book, and held together by a bevy of strong female performances, The Hours was obviously my choice for movie day. The film follows the stories of Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep as women in three separate time periods. Nicole Kidman plays Virginia Woolf as she writes the Mrs. Dalloway, Julianne Moore plays a housewife reading the story in the fifties, and Meryl Streep plays a partnered woman whose good friend (who is dying of AIDS) is a scholar on the novel.

Why Sergio loved it: I really enjoyed the film's pacing and I especially loved the score prepared by Phillip Glass, the man knows drama.

Why Brennan hated it: According to him “It just wasn’t my speed, and I didn’t feel like it really connected”. Colder words have never been spoken.

[EN: As much as I love strong women and AIDS awareness, I just wasn't captivated. Not that I need a decapitation in a film to keep me interested in a drama, but one or two wouldn't have hurt. Read my review here.]

#7 The Human Centipede (2009, Tom Six)

Who showed who: It was a boring night and we both decided it was time to knock one off of our growing Netflix Queue.

I will never quite understand why it is that this movie got as much support as it did. It was not adequately paced, nor was it interesting, or even gory for that fact. It was original to see three human bodies attached to one another by sowing their mouths onto the other’s anus. However, after the novelty wears off this movie is nothing more than a showpiece that lacks any plot, interesting characters, or centipedes.

Why Sergio hated it: For the same reasons Brennan did.

Why Brennan hated it: For the same reasons Sergio did.

[EN: Yeah, I'm pretty sure centipedes have more than 12 legs, but maybe we've all been brainwashed by our commie propaganda schoolhouses. This movie sucked. It's not outrageous, gory, secretly satirical, or whatever words the people who love it use as defensive shields. It's just boring and pointless. Always remember that it was Sergio's idea to watch this. Don't listen to what he says otherwise. Read my review here.]

#8 Cards of Death (1986, W. G. MacMillan)

[EN: In the preservation of artistic integrity, I included the photo Sergio originally intended to accompany this piece, but to avoid confusion, here's the real promo photo for Cards of Death.

Do you get why he might have wanted to go another direction?]

Who showed who: Brennan had heard of a movie that had never seen the light of day and had to watch it, and so began our journey of traveling to LA to watch Cards of Death. He also paid for the ticket.

Cards of Death is an interesting piece of filmography because it was lost to the sands of time and only recently made available for viewer consumption. I fell asleep halfway through it so I can’t in good conscience describe the plot, but I remember there was an impaling, a woman who does a great Harley Quinn impression, and a twist ending of sorts. Count your blessings that the odds of your viewing this cinematic masterpiece are slim to none.

Why Sergio hated it: I didn’t watch it fully, so I cannot say that I hated it.

Why Brennan loved it: He saw it as the love child of a dedicated man.

[EN: Yeah, well it's not like this shot-on-video crime slasher was ever going to be good, but darn if it isn't fascinating. Sergio certainly has less love for the "at least you tried" genre than I do, but I enjoyed the film's use of color and gung-ho attitude. Even if it was a piece of crap. Read my review here.]

#9 Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008, Nicholas Stoller)

Who Showed who: I will proudly boast that I love the bro-medies of the world, and so I showed this to Brennan not only for the film's humor (which is on point… or on fleek, I forget which we’re using now) but for Hawaii’s picturesque landscapes.

The man behind the Muppets movie, Jason Segel, got some practice in writing and starring alongside puppets in the 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Segel plays a composer who recently broke up with his longtime girlfriend Sarah Marshall played by Kristen Bell. To get over the demise of his relationship he does what any average working stiff would do, buy a one way ticket to Hawaii, and show up at a random hotel with no particular goal in mind. Unbeknownst to Segel, his ex and her new rock star boyfriend (played by Russell Brand) are staying in the exact same hotel where crazy antics are sure to occur. Whereas humorous antics do indeed go down, the film is a success through its use of minor characters and their razor sharp one-liners. Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, Jack McBrayer and of course Mila Kunis carry this seemingly average film into above average heights.

Why Sergio loved it: I loved it for this beautiful one liner “Oh, the weather outside is weather!” When you watch the movie it will make more sense.

Why Brennan hated it: He didn’t hate it. He enjoyed it and laughed alongside me. You’re welcome, Brennan!

[EN: Methinks Sergio is suppressing some bad memories because I distinctly remember complaining about the movie's misogyny, but it's true that the comedy had a lot to offer that wasn't blistering criticism of female sexual agency. Read my review here.]

#10 The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, Martin Scorsese)

Who showed who: I showed Brennan because it was award season and why not?

It wouldn’t be an Oscar season without a Scorsese epic that critics proclaim as a masterpiece without question, and 2013 gave us The Wolf of Wall Street. Leonardo Dicaprio plays a stockbroker with questionable ethics and nonexistent morals. TWoWS works best as a series of short stories that guys tell their pals at a bar, not necessarily as a three hour long narrative that is filled with every racist, sexist, and homophobic slur in the book. The movie gets a pass because it is so far-fetched that there is no reason to be angry at what can be described as a movie that is a satire of itself.

Why Sergio loved it: I enjoyed making fun of Matthew McConaughey for a couple weeks after that, so that counts for something.

Why Brennan hated it: It was three hours long, that’s the amount of time he could have used to watch five slashers.

[EN: Boy does Sergio know me. I always say, if it can't be said in 90 minutes or less, it's probably not worth saying. Read my review here.]

So there goes another Sergio classic! I hope you all enjoyed yourselves! Do you think he is a valiant defender of good taste? Do you think I'm a stalwart champion of non-arid cinema? Let me know whose side you're on in the comments below!
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1 comment:

  1. I like Sergio because he works blue.

    Good luck with exams, Brennan!