26 November, 2006

Movies: Stranger Than Fiction

Favorite movie: Braveheart. It's just mandatory, since the Scot is the only part of my mongrel heritage I'll claim.

Real favorite movie, though: Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day is the perfect movie. It takes a really messed up guy, and puts him in hell. It tantalizes him with hopes of heaven, then pulls the rug out from under him again and again. He changes focus and objectives again and again, to no avail. He still ends up on his butt repeatedly. Then finally he finds life and joy, and even salvation, in caring for people who can never care for him.

It's just too perfect.

Stranger than Fiction may not be quite that good, but it's in the same arena, and I loved it. I think I even liked it better than Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day had one Sisyphean tragic character. Stranger than Fiction has no fewer than four. Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson both reduced me to laughter and fetal huddling in the space single scenes, but Dustin Hoffman's character and the love interest have moments too. (My son pointed out that it was the first movie in which I liked Will Ferrell. Yep.)

The fifth character is literature. Lit is not personified, or anything silly like that, but it's always on the screen, and it pushes the plot forward. As I am making my first forays into literature, this made the movie that much more significant for me. It asks what I think are important questions about literature, and reaches conclusions that I found really satisfying.

Now, unless I'm mistaken, I have not even given away whether or not the movie has a plot. It does. But, I'm not going to tell you anything about it. I think the movie should probably be seen twice, once with no clue what it's about, and again to appreciate how it gets there. If I go again, I will probably wait until I don't have to spend full price because of the whole Scottish thing, but I'm glad I dragged the kids there last night.

If I go again, though, at least I won't have to worry so much about embarassing them with my constant over-reactions. :-(


Kansas Bob said...

I loved Groundhog Day too. Thanks for the review ... I pointed to it on my new blog.

Milly said...

I loved Braveheart. I was taken back when someone told me it was too bloody. I hadn’t realized it was so bad because it wasn’t out of context. Ground Hog Day was ok to me, I think I need to see it again because so many keep telling me things they saw that I missed. I don’t usually miss that much in a movie, I was someone who found comfort in City of Angels, we aren’t alone when we die and she found God in the end, just in time. I tend to over react at times also. Is that why we rent and stay home more and more?

codepoke said...

Thanks, KB. And thanks for the pointer to your Bob blog. I have subscribed it up.

codepoke said...

Most incredible scene - When Wallace rided a horse onto one of the filthy traitor's beds, and deals him justice at the end of a chain.

Best scene - Talking to Hainish and the crazy Irishman about whether to give the Bruce on last chance. They protest that he is laying his neck on the line for less than nothing. Wallace replies that they it's a thing that should be tried.

Wallace says, "Do you know what'll happen if we don't try?"


If that ain't a philosophy for life, I don't know what is. :-)

Groundhog Day:
I don't know what your friends might want you to "notice." There was nothing subtle about GD. Instead, it just wears its heart on its sleeve, and it's one of those hearts that I would love to have.

Phil despairs in 3 or 4 distinct ways. First he despairs by successful suicide. Then by successful debauchery. Then by righteousness. And finally, he decides to do the right thing, and is driven to despair again.

Finally, when no other option remains, he begins to improve himself. Despair finds its answer, not in hope, but in duty. Only then does hell finally reveal its beauties.

I'm a sucker for despair. My favorite book series is 1500 pages of despair.

Come to think of it, I don't recommend anybody watching anything I like. It could be permanently damaging!

I was someone who found comfort in City of Angels,

Oooh. I missed this one.

I'm always scared of angel movies. We don't seem to have gotten much past the reaction of the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah to their angels, and I don't enjoy the stories. I also hurt when I think about the gospel a lot of these movies put out there. They teach that if you want God, you have Him.

It ties into the questions about assurance of salvation. I'm not sure if any of these movies would make somebody take out the trash... ;-)

I tend to over react at times also. Is that why we rent and stay home more and more?

I like to be in a theater where a lot of people are reacting out loud. In Braveheart, I had to let out with a couple sincere, "Hooowaaa's!" It had to happen.

Missy said...

Thanks for the review - it sounds like my hopes for this movie have been met. I can't wait to see it. And I trust you because Groundhog Day is one of my fav's.

Milly said...

In City of Angels I had some problems with the fact that they had sex. There were a few other things but the cool part was that the angels seemed to be everywhere. A surgeon in doubt suddenly realizes it’s not in her hands. The story line is that the angel falls for her and they fall in love, then she is killed. Someone told me it was too sad she died after he fell for her. She found out that life and death was bigger then her hands that God was in the room. It has some good moments a robber and the man being robbed starting to panic and an angels putting hands on them to calm them.

I think for me it was the fact that my mom had passed away at home with my father in the other room, it was a comfort to think that we aren’t alone.

I recommend the movie if you take it for the fact that it has huge flaws and some cool things.

I need to watch Ground Hog Day again. I think I saw it on TV.

I don't get to watch a lot of movies. I have children and a job and it cost way too much money these days.

I once stood up and yelled SHARK in a theater, it was to embarrass my cousin and her friend, Jaws 3 or something. They spent sometime slouching you’d think teenage girls would want to be seen with there college friend. ;-}