Roger Ebert I Am Not

I saw the movie Flight on Sunday night, and I don't believe I have slept the same way since. I mean, I knew from the title—and I don't think I'm giving anything away here—that there was going to be a fairly tense plane crashy bit, but I wasn't really banking on it being that tense, so tense that I actually had to manually unclench my fists afterwards and massage my palms to remove the indentations left there by my fingernails. Once the plane crashy bit was over, I thought okay phew, I can breathe again for the rest of this movie and not actually asphyxiate myself from pure fear, but what do you know, there was another tense moment about three quarters of the way through, and even though it wasn't plane crashy at all, it was almost more tense, although for entirely different reasons—if you've seen the movie, I hope you know the bit I'm talking about (OMG RIGHT?)—and once the movie was over, I'm pretty sure I had shortened my own life by several days just by watching it. So much for my relaxing Sunday night! 

It was very good all the same, if not waaaaay more depressing than I was expecting it to be, and I highly recommend it if you have a few hours in which to embroil yourself in a gripping drama—I know, I know; sometimes The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills just doesn't cut it—but hoooooooo boy, make sure you know what you're getting yourself in for with this one, because I woke up about four hundred times that night bathed in a cool mist of sweat and terror. Also, if there is someone in your life who has a fear of flying, I'm going to go ahead and recommend that you just pretend this movie doesn't even exist. Just straight-up lie and say you don't know what they're talking about if they ask you whether you've seen it. I think it might be better for everyone that way.

Speaking of movies that were way more depressing than I expected them to be, has anyone seen This Is 40? My god, I just found it so......demoralizing.  I mean, do you have to argue the whole time? Like, all the way through the whole movie? Perhaps it's because I don't like Leslie Mann in the first place—so shrill! Stop giving wives the world over a bad name, Leslie Mann!—but I walked out of this movie feeling like I'd been in an exhausting two-hour nitpicky fight with someone, the really irritating kind where you just keep snipping at each other and making horrible little passive-aggressive digs even when you've promised to stop.

Look, I get that it was supposd to be a Real Movie about Real Life and Real Marriages and all that—and trust me, Sean and I certainly have our own share of snippy little fights—but still. All they did was argue! All the way through! The plot of the movie was just that they argue! And then they make up, and then they argue again, and then they make up, and then they argue again, and then their kids get really upset about all the arguing, and then they make up, and then they argue again, and honestly, at some point, I was just really hoping that they might just get a divorce already and put everyone—the film-goers, their fictional children, the various on-screen family members who have to listen to all this arguing and making up—out of their misery. I know a lot of people who liked this film, so I apologize if we're not on the same page here, but wow. Yes, marriage is certainly not always a bed of roses layered with cupcakes and sprayed liberally with the scent of fresh laundry, baby neck, and Chanel Number 5, but it feels like maybe you should kind of like each other too, you know?

Sorry, this post wasn't meant to be all about the various movies that have clearly affected me deeply in the past few weeks, but it seems to have turned into exactly that, so I apologize. Have you seen anything good lately? There must be something out right now with no plane crashes or petty squabbling. 

Feb 13, 2013

We also saw Flight this weekend. Agreed.

Movies I've been recommending until I'm blue in the face the last few weeks: 1.) Searching for Sugar Man, which has to be one of the most amazing stories EVER, and it's up for an Oscar for best documentary next week; 2.) Sleepwalk With Me, which is based on a funny AND heartbreaking true story (but is fictionalized for the movie, mostly) and produced by Ira Glass of This American Life; and 3.) Big Easy Express, which is a short documentary about Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros riding a train from Oakland to New Orleans and playing concerts the whole way. Awesome.

Feb 13, 2013

The last thing I saw in the cinema was a book club screening of Clueless (with accompanying 'Emma' discussion!) A vastly superior Paul Rudd movie, I hope you'll agree. Although it's slightly eerie how little he's aged since 1995.

And as someone who programmes inflight movies for a living, I am right with you on Flight. Whoo-ee.

Feb 13, 2013

Just finished watching season 3 of Downton Abbey. That, unlike the two films you described, was FABULOUS. And also tearful. And thrilling. And.... I hold a massive torch for Mr. Bates.

Stick to classic movies, British television and film, and you can't go wrong. Real life is stressful enough without watching movies like the ones you reviewed. Thanks for the warning!

Feb 13, 2013

I have no movie recommendations, but if you have Netflix you should watch the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Will Arnet and David Cross from Arrested Development are the main characters. Americans trying to sell energy drinks in London. It's awesome, I actually wrote about it here

Feb 13, 2013

Luckily after watching Flight this past weekend too (I thought for sure he wasn't going to drink the you know what), I followed it up with Here Comes the Boom!

Don't judge me. Dang Redbox.

Feb 13, 2013

If you haven't seen Pitch Perfect, I highly recommend that movie. One warning: if you are sensitive to potrayals of vomit, there are two pretty graphic instances. Other than that, cute movie with cute actors.

Feb 13, 2013

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was a very sweet, gentle romantic comedy that I highly recommend.

On the other hand, I watched Melancholia Saturday, and spend the entire night having end-of-the-world nightmares. And there is lots of squabbling and bad behavior. I wouldn't say that I liked it, but it certainly had me thinking about it a LOT afterward, so that's something I guess. Which is to say that I'm not necessarily recommending it, but if you want drama about family tension, overwhelming depression, and a planet hurtling towards the Earth, then go for it. Maybe watch Salmon Fishing in the Yemen as a soother afterward.

Anna Louisa
Feb 13, 2013

I love that you have a category for "Extremely Shallow Film Reviews". Lately I've seen Les Mis (LOVE), Gangster Squad (huge disappointment), and Silver Linings Playbook (LOVE) recently. Even my husband raved about SLP, even though he went into it complaining about seeing a "chick flick" :).

Diary of Why
Feb 13, 2013

You watching Flight sounds like me watching Breaking Bad. It's a physically stressful experience!

Feb 13, 2013

The crash scene in Flight is singularly one of the best scenes I've ever...seen (too much) in my life. I was surprised by the direction of the rest of the movie, though, and also found it tense and depressing. Very visceral and moving though.

Feb 13, 2013

This is 40 looks terrible. I'm getting married in a few months and I've been generally trying to avoid movies that make everything after 30 and engaged look hopelessly bleak. Surely *some* people still like their spouses, right?

Feb 13, 2013

Agreed about This is 40. It was so depressing and over dramatic I felt.
Zero Dark Thirty is another frightening one but worth a watch!

Feb 13, 2013

You have a commenter who programs in-flight movies for a living! That is something I never thought of as being a job! The last movie we watched was Bourne Legacy, which was kind of odd in relation to the other Bourne movies. We were supposed to watch Taken 2 last night (can you tell I haven't been chosing the movies lately?) but my husband got ill last night, so not yet!

Feb 13, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook is awesome, and has bonus Bradley Cooper!

Feb 13, 2013

Can we just talk about the fact that my airline pilot husband MADE me go see Flight when I just knew it would be tense and stressful. OMG, I was miserable the whole time. Thankfully my airline pilot husband does not engage in the behaviors that Denzel Washington's character does but still... I don't need that anxiety in my life! The only good things I can say about the movie is that Denzel Washington is a great actor and John Goodman was pretty funny. After a couple of months m anxiety is now back to normal but people should not see this movie if they are expecting a happy ending!

Feb 13, 2013

Have you seen Argo? You may have, but it's really good, so I recommend it. Definitely also tense, though (not that I've seen Flight yet, but since that's how you described it). At the big climax of the film I was so nervous and tense that I was actually worried I might throw up in the theater, which is incredibly embarrassing. I did not, at least.

Feb 13, 2013

"Warm Bodies". Yes, it's a zombie movie, and maybe you're not into zombie movies, I don't know. BUT, it's actually a funny, warm, sweet zombie movie. It's not a "zombie movie" kind of zombie movie. In fact it would make a great date night/Valentine's day movie.

Feb 13, 2013

Yes to all of it. I seriously can't stand it when "marriage" is portrayed as this yoke around the couples' necks, and ohhhh man, do you ever have to work at it, blah blah. Yes, you go through phases of infatuation and boredom sometimes, but if it's that tense all the time, you're married to the wrong person! Ugh. Not a good stereotype to be pumping into our cultural air.

Feb 13, 2013

You have to watch Django Unchained. Simply brilliant.

Feb 13, 2013

I'm terrified of flying, but I love to travel, so it's highly unlikely that I'll ever watch Flight. I avoid watching anything that involves any sort of commercial airline disasters. Just the trailers for Flight made me anxious.

I agree about This is 40. Between the constant bickering and whining about their privileged, middle class problems, I couldn't wait for it end.

I saw Top Gun in 3D last weekend. It really holds up.

Feb 13, 2013

Been on SUCH a movie kick lately. It's relatively old (2006), but my favorite of late is The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen). Tense but uplifting, and, according to those who lived through it, a fairly accurate representation of a Soviet block state pre-1989. I cannot recommend this movie enough.

Also loved seeing the Oscar-nominated live-action shorts - favorites were Henry and Curfew. Asad was heart-rending, but almost too bleak.

Feb 13, 2013

I totally agree with you! I feel like the shrill marriage stereotype is going to go the way of the "Mr Mom" death - slow and about 10 years behind reality of society's perceptions and expectations of marriage / parenthood.

Feb 13, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook! It's funny but also kind of sad at parts but overall moving in the most heart-warming way. And the acting is across the board excellent (as indicated by the fact all four major players were nominated for Oscars). Highly recommend it, and I promise it won't give you nightmares.

Feb 13, 2013

"Searching for Sugar Man" was absolutely wonderful! The bonus is that it features Cape Town. Between that movie and your glowing vacation review, I am yearning to visit the place!

Feb 13, 2013

Oh yes, I should mention that I've seen Silver Linings Playbook and LOVED it. Argo, too! Thanks so much for these other suggestions, though.

Feb 13, 2013

Absolutely agree with all the Silver Lining Playbook recs!

Another good movie I saw recently (on Netflix) is Celeste and Jesse Forever. Super cute. Not the happiest subject, if you know the story line (ok, I'll just tell you - it's about a couple divorcing), but I thought it was such a real, honest story. And not totally depressing at all! Highly recommend it :)

Feb 13, 2013


Feb 13, 2013

I'm not afraid of flying, but I strongly suspect that I would be after watching That Movie I Shall Now Pretend Doesn't Exist. And since I HAVE TO fly if I want to see my family (across the Atlantic, no less), I'm going to stay away from That Film.
I just re-watched On A Clear Day, which is a lovely and only slightly sad-ish movie.

Feb 13, 2013

Seriously, please do not miss Beasts of the Southern Wild. Took me 40 minutes to dive in, but I am in awe. Excited to check out SLPB.

Feb 14, 2013

"Life of Pi" and "Hyde Park on Hudson" were both pretty good - especially the first one. (I thought Bill Murray was miscast in the second.) I'm glad Sonja mentioned "On a Clear Day" above. One of those little known films that was hugely enjoyable and I know you would enjoy if you haven't seen it before. (Yes, I saw it on a flight somewhere!)

Staci Magnolia
Feb 14, 2013

It's on DVD but 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' was quite good, I thought.
Yes, it's about the Golden Years and filled with some splendid British actors but I thought it was irreverent and heartwarming and just an all-around good movie.

Renee from GA
Feb 14, 2013

I'd like to second Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and add a plug for Moonrise Kingdom, both of which were very sweet. On the other end of the spectrum, I'd give an ANTI-PLUG for Loopers, which has plotholes out the yin-tang and some super disturbing, uber-violent scenes.

Feb 14, 2013


Renee from GA
Feb 14, 2013

P.S. Please to forgive my lack of proper punctuation around movie titles and egregious misspelling of "yin-yang." I'm having a great day as a copyeditor, thanks for asking (heavy sigh, trudges off to the coffee pot).

Feb 14, 2013

oh, this is fun. I second the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel if you want a feel-good movie and Pitch Perfect if you want to crack up. I also just saw Sessions with Helen Hunt... it's a quiet film but a lovely story that manages to be both funny and touching without being obnoxious about any of it.

Feb 14, 2013

Ditto what Amy said (comment #6) about Pitch Perfect. I didn't know what to expect going into watch this movie but it had some really good moments that I would recommend it.

Basically Blah
Feb 14, 2013

Adding my two cents here.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. No nail-biting moments in there (unless you have a thing about fish). Argo is another good one. Some bickering, some tense moments, but overall, rather good. Same goes for Zero Dark Thirty.

Feb 15, 2013

Man, This is 40 really WAS terrible. My husband and I were coerced into it as a double-date with a friend and his new girlfriend (I can't imagine a movie more ill-suited to be viewed during the beginnings of a new relationship) and we felt like we couldn't get up and leave due to the double-date thing. It also didn't help that the chicks sitting behind us had been drinking and so they were cackling at EVERYTHING, including the horrible yelling screaming parts. I had such an awful headache that I left the theater for about 15 minutes just to enjoy the quiet of the lobby. When I returned the movie was still on the same awful scene and everyone was still screaming at each other. It was some weird form of torture.

Not to mention the characters were so completely out of touch with 99% of the population. Luxury cars, huge McMansion, in-ground swimming pool, weird looking refrigerator with glass doors. I swear no two scenes were filmed in the same room of the house. She didn't ever seem to work, she showed up at her boutique maybe twice? One of which was just so she could fondle Megan Fox? (Who, by the way, I found to be the most likable thing about the movie and I never thought I'd say that about Megan Fox). Okay, I've let this movie affect me way too deeply. I need to let it go.

I liked Silver Linings Playbook so much that I saw it twice (I hardly ever watch a movie twice). Same with Moonrise Kingdom. We recently watched the documentary Queen of Versailles, which was highly rated but I was left feeling so gross after. Really want to see Searching for Sugar Man...

Shelly VanBinsbergen
Feb 15, 2013

Why I thought watching Flight this week (two weeks before our departure for Zambia) was a good idea was beyond me but I too succumbed. The screaming of the engines is now forever imprinted in my mind....but the movie...the ending? Oh my gosh. I loved it. I couldn't get myself to actually feel for Denzel's character until the final 5 minutes.

Another good, strange, moving movie? Beasts of the Southern Wild. No expectations going in but I just enjoyed it!
So bizarre and beautiful.

Looking forward to many good inflight movies in the coming weeks!

Feb 16, 2013

I read all the comments since I've been looking for some good movies lately, and I just want to reinforce that "The Lives of Others" is an excellent film. One of my all-time favs. But yes, it did come out a while ago.

Loved "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Have you seen that one yet?

Also, recently watched "The Hedgehog" on Netflix. Very French (a 12 year old precocious child is considering suicide and ruminates on life and connections between people and hope) but quite good. The book was better, but isn't it always?

Feb 16, 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild. Seriously amazing.

Feb 18, 2013

Iron Man1 & 2 and Thor in order to properly acquaint myself with the characters who appear in the Avengers. I've yet to get off the hook for not seeing it in the theatre per my husband's request. :|

Feb 19, 2013

Thank you for believing I wasn't a spammer. I have had some low level stress about this since I tried to post that comment. Heh.

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