Thoughts About Movies

Our family watches a lot of movies and TV shows. Howard sees them in the theater and reviews on his website. It is one of the ways he gets outside of his box and refreshes his brain to work again. The rest of us go to the theater far less often. Frequently we don’t see things until they hit DVD or Netflix. There are many things I don’t bother to see at all for various reasons, the main one of which is that I don’t have all the time in the world. Today I find myself thinking of some movies I’ve seen in the past few weeks.

Howard and I went to see it in the theater on the Friday it opened. We came out happy and glad we had gone. The internet is rife with reviews of this movie. Many people found triumph and identity in it. Others saw the whole thing as a travesty. I liked it. It made me laugh. In comparing my reaction walking out of this movie to they way I felt when I first saw the original, I can’t say which I enjoyed more. But my enjoyment of the original has dampened through the decades. I still love it, but it isn’t paced for the modern audience. And the love sub-plot in it makes me actively uncomfortable. So right now Ghostbusters 2016 is my favorite of the Ghostbusters movies. I do love that the female heroes get to just do stuff without having to look sexy while they do it. I also loved Hemsworth’s parody of every ditzy secretary and rom com heroine ever. As a story and a movie, it is normal/entertaining. As a deliberate upturning of tropes and challenging the norms of film roles, it is brilliant.

Schindler’s List
Before this week I had deliberately avoided seeing Schindler’s List. I knew that it was heart wrenching. I knew it was a movie composed of grief, death, and disregard for human life. All the more painful because all of it was based in historical fact. I also knew that it is an important movie to have. And it had to be made when it was, when there were still living people who had gone through the experience. Most of the Holocaust survivors are gone now. It is good that we’re that much further away from this terrible historical event. It also means that society is in danger of forgetting, of sliding into some configuration which will allow people to be dehumanized again.

Now felt like the right time for me to watch the film. I think I wanted a clear picture of where the world needs to not go again. After watching I understood why Spielberg would never allow it to be shown edited. There are times when we shouldn’t sanitize history to make it more palatable. The movie was beautifully shot and hauntingly written. I loved how human everyone was, particularly Schindler himself who never set out to be a hero. He just wanted to make a fortune and live lavishly. Only over time his heart opened more and more. He began to see the suffering and to love the people. That is the piece I want to hold tight and remember. Even when the world is at it’s worst. Even when people are being drawn en-masse into evil behaviors. There will always be a chance to transform, to open closed hearts, and to do the right thing if we are brave enough to do it.

Batman Vs Superman

After watching deep dark history, I needed to turn to lighter things. The fact that Batman Vs. Superman came off as lighter tells you much about history. I haven’t seen Man of Steel and probably won’t bother to. This meant that in the opening scenes I was just as confused and dismayed by the battle in the sky as Bruce Wayne was. I was really able to see and feel the powerlessness in the face of demi gods. It helped a lot that I went into the film with the firm idea that I wasn’t actually watching Superman, it was more Steelheart (by Brandon Sanderson). This meant that instead of being disappointed in Superman being not all that likable, I was pleasantly surprised by the moments when I liked him. I found myself thinking about the psychology of Superman as a person. People who have never been hurt are often unable to empathize with the hurts of others. This Superman is young and the consequences of his actions are just beginning to be real to him. He is beginning to see that, even with his powers, he has to make choices about who to save. That he is responsible for the outcomes of those choices.

This is definitely more of a Batman movie than a Superman movie. I liked Affleck’s Batman. I loved the pivotal moment where they stop fighting against each other and instead teamed up. I also loved the fact that each of them was so able to see the negative consequences of the other’s actions and less able to see the consequences of their own. That is so human. I loved Wonder Woman every time she was on the screen. I hope that she can keep that up in her solo movie. I’ve rarely like the extended use of dream sequences in films and that was used here. I felt like those could have been greatly shortened. The one thing that kept throwing me out of the story was the voice of that one senator. Her voice is so distinctive that every time she spoke I started seeing the mother character from Incredibles.

Pride and Prejudice (the BBC mini series with Colin Firth)
I know so many people who love this, but I’d never taken the time. However I had some manual tasks to do (related to book shipping) that didn’t really need my brain. So This kept me company while I did them. At the end of the first episode I wondered why people love it so much. It was fine, but not really drawing me in. By the end of the third episode I was truly enjoying it. By the end of the last episode, I’ll admit to wishing for a little more modernizing of the ending. I really wanted Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to hold hands, kiss, and be less formal. Even though I know that what was portrayed is far more accurate to the book. I don’t know if I’ll be a person who watches it multiple times, but I really enjoyed seeing a romance story full off complex characters where the obstacles flowed from their personalities rather than being imposed from outside. Most conflicts with other people have more to do with misunderstanding than with villainy.