Monday, July 14, 2008


The best animation I've seen since the Triplets of Belleville, and my favorite love story since Harold and Maude. It's cute, it's funny, it's endearing... and much to my surprise, it also makes a very poignant statement on consumerism and conspicuous consumption. It's set in a future where humans have evacuated earth and robots have been left to clean up their mess -- but the mission fails and humans orbit the solar system indefinitely while one lone robot, WALL-E, continues about the task on his lonesome. But the monotony of his otherwise charming existence changes when he falls in love with another robot, sent back to earth in search of life. I dare
you to watch this movie and not smile. FINAL GRADE: A

I love documentaries like this. Like King of Kong, it sounds silly — a camera crew follows around a group of kids and counselors at a summer camp in Wisconsin — but emerges as an interesting sociological study that positions children at its epicenter. Here you see 12-year-old boys crying for their mother; girls lamenting (and rather truthfully) how immature all of the boys are; kids battling the traumas of their home life; and the token "fat kid" being made fun of by others... pushed to the point of himself becoming a bully. Forget Meat Balls. This is a true summer camp movie.

Pieces of April
Why more people haven't seen this 2003 film is beyond me. I mean, I was interested once I read the plot, and somewhat disinterested after I realized it starred Katie Holmes. But, well... I was pleasantly surprised. It's a fairly smart Indie film about a young 20-something screwup (played by Holmes) who's been all but disowned by her mother (dying of cancer) and her younger sister. Her father and brother cling to hope as they drive to New York City for Thanksgiving dinner, which the wayward eldest is hosting (along with her new boyfriend) for the first time. A very real movie with believable characters, some of whom you'll actually care about. FINAL GRADE: B+


I originally watched this Wes Anderson film shortly after its '98 release. I hated it. After rediscovering Anderson a couple years later, I decided to rewatch Rushmore, thinking perhaps my mood had impacted my impression. And I suppose it did, in a way... I didn't despise it anywhere near as much this time around, and in fact almost liked it. It's about a 15-year-old boy who gets into a prestigious academy on a writing scholarship, despite being an otherwise awful student (with little to no family income). He's quirky, neuorotic, and even a bit psychotic — particularly when he falls in love with a 1st grade teacher. FINAL GRADE: B-

27 Dresses

Romantic comedies generally aren't my thing — unless there's a very dark twist. I was hoping this would be an exception, as initial glowing reviews led me to believe this was more so a comedy than it was a romance. I mean: a woman is a bridesmaid in 27 weddings and thinks nothing of it — until her crush of several years proposes to her younger sister. Funny in some parts such that I could definitely relate... but it also relied a bit too heavily on the standard love story formula. In other words: you can accurately call the ending about 20 minutes into the film. This predictability doesn't altogether ruin the experience of watching 27 Dresses (it's still fun), but it certainly caused the film to lose a few street-cred points. FINAL GRADE: B-

Charlie Bartlett

Not as good as I'd hoped when I first saw previews, but better than the bleak reviews offered by the majority of critics. This one is about a wealthy teenage boy who just wants to be popular — and who'll do anything to make that happen (even if that means getting kicked out of countless private institutions before his mother resorts to public school). An indie-comedy with a slightly dark twist, it doesn't live up to its potential... but nor does it fail entirely.

Kentucky Fried Movie
When it comes to a collection of sketch comedy, I'll take Monty Python and the Flying Circus over Kentucky Fried Movie, any day. Certainly funny and clever in some parts, Kentucky Fried Movie also relies too heavily on the shock value of exposed female body parts. Perhaps I'd have enjoyed it more if I hadn't watched it alone (hearing other people laugh can sometimes make or break a movie)... or with some chemical assistance. FINAL GRADE: C


disgruntled world citizen said...

You should check out League of Ordinary Gentlemen. An interesting, well done doc.

M@ said...

Yeah, but which morning news crew do you trust to bring you the most up to date news, sports and culture?

david said...

I have seen only Pieces of April and 27 Dresses on your list and agree with both your grades, although I may have given Pieces of April a slightly higher grade. Thanks for doing this.

Changing the subject, are there more photos showing on your flickr badge than have been shown on your blog? or did I miss an entry?

Stacy said...

I am going to check into this WallE movie as soon as I can find some spare time and figure out how to use the DVD player. My laptop is getting too old to even allow me to save and share photos. The others you mention in this post I thought were new reader comments. I thought for instance Kentucky Fried movie was a screen name. Never said I was bright enough to read your Blog.

XOXO said...

You decided to watch Rushmore? I hope it was better this time around.

ds said...

I saw rushmore some years ago. don't remember much. something... saw last king of california (I think that was the name) last weekend. it was pretty good. Mike Douglas and some girl. good just like you think a lot of movies are good. all the same parts used differently.

Pamela said...

Of the people I know who've seen Wall-E... they either love it or hate it.

Workman said...

Amen on Wall-E. Best movie I've seen in years.

Should at least get a "Best Picture" nod at this year's Oscars.