My summer at the movies

peterandmaryjane.jpgBiggest disappointment: Spider-Man 3

Oh, I wanted to love this movie so much. The first two are great, and the additions of Thomas Hayden Church, Bryce Dallas Howard, and my beloved Topher Grace seemed like divine casting. But the script fell prey to one of the horrible traps of screenwriting: too many ridiculous coincidences. The black ooze just happens to land next to Peter Parker? Okay. But then it releases him just when Eddie Brock happens to be nearby? The same Eddie Brock who wants Peter’s job at the paper and is dating Gwen Stacy, who Peter happens to know from school, and who happens to run into him at just the right moment to ruin things with Mary Jane? And the guy who killed Uncle Ben happens to be escaping from prison and becoming a super villian at the same time?!?! Guh! It’s too much, even for a superhero movie, and even before the hateful eyeliner and Fall Out Boy hair that emo Peter sports. Why, Sam Raimi, why? Fix it in Spider-Man 4!!

waitress1.jpgMovie I most pushed on other people: Waitress

This movie should have been this year’s Little Miss Sunshine-style indie sleeper. It’s better than that movie. We should be talking about Oscar nominations for star Keri Russell and the late writer-director Adrienne Shelley. This movie is lovely and funny and full of great characters and performances and the ending made me feel happy and hopeful about life. It’s a gem. It’s what we made up the word ‘gem’ for. And Nathan Fillion is so sexy-adorable we should make a new award category just for that.

sunshine.jpgThe one that should have felt more love: Sunshine

This movie got some mixed reviews from critics who seemed to think that it didn’t live up to the potential of the premise and the talent behind it. I thought it was fantastic. Danny Boyle knows how to invigorate genres, and I thought this was a great approach to a 21st century sci-fi film. The combination of action and existential questioning really worked for me, and the visuals were nothing short of stunning. Good stuff.

superbad.jpgFunniest: Superbad

Like most people I’ve talked to about this movie, I didn’t expect to see a funnier movie than Knocked Up this summer. But the magic of Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow (Freaks and Geeks love 4-everrrr) & friends struck once more, and this time it seemed at double the intensity. Every line in this movie is hilarious. Every scene hits the right note. And I only have one word to describe everything that Michael Cera does: perfect. I want to see it again right now, and then again after that. Oh, and dibs on “These Eyes” next time at karaoke.

scrumptious.jpgSexiest: The Bourne Ultimatum

Matt Damon is delicious. And the Bourne movies are great action flicks, especially since no matter how far-fetched the overall story may seem at times, each individual scene always has such immediacy that you never question it. The third installment was better than the second, and I hope they make a fourth. I’d look forward to that even more than a new Bond. Oh, Matt Damon. I love watching you kick ass so much.

harry-potter-kids.jpgThe ‘I still love you though I would have done it differently’ award: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Easily could have been a half-hour longer to support better character development, fewer montages, and maybe a bit more time with, say, the fricking Order of the fricking Phoenix. Great action though (IMAX 3-D rules), and good acting from the teens who play our Three Main Heroes.

ratatouille.jpgAll-around best: Ratatouille

This should really be called “the movie that miraculously lived up to Brandi’s ridiculous expectations.” I watched the 9-minute preview for this online well before it came out and started clapping like a crazy person when it was over. Then when I was actually watching the film, I wanted to clap like a crazy person all through it. It’s so funny and amazing to look at, and everything about it works: the bizarre friendships, the silly romance, the action scenes, that wonderful flashback to the food critic’s past in the moment that brings the whole storyline together. Thank you, Brad Bird, for this movie.

Though there are technically a couple of weekends left in the summer, nothing about Mr. Bean interests me; The Nanny Diaries was a shitty book that will probably make a bad movie even with Laura Linney and Scarlett Johansson; Death Sentence makes me want to die; and as far as War is concerned, I would gladly give my body to Jason Statham, but he’s not getting my 10 bucks.

As for the movies I didn’t get around to seeing, they fall mostly into three categories:

1. I still have time, right?!?!

Transformers, The Simpsons Movie, Stardust

2. Well, I guess I’ll wait to Netflix it

28 Weeks Later, Once, Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End, Ocean’s 13, Live Free or Die Hard, You Kill Me, Talk to Me

and of course…

3. Chyeah, who’s gonna pay me?

Shrek the Third, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Rush Hour 3


5 Responses to “My summer at the movies”

  1. 1 Chelsea August 21, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I’m alarmed that the only movie I saw this summer was Harry Potter. And that’s just because I needed something to do to kill time before midnight when the 7th book came out. I guess there’s always Oscar season…

  2. 2 patty August 21, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    28 weeks later was not worth it! do not waste your time!

  3. 3 Kelly August 22, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    Apparently I need to go watch Superbad, among others.

  4. 4 Matt McCoy August 25, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I’m sorry Brandi, I agree with most all of your choices (Matt Damon is the best action star going right now) but I have to disagree with you on Sunshine. Trainspotting, Millions, 28 Days later, these movies are top notch. Sunshine was absolutely dreadful. Cillian was an even worse Fall Out Boy emo impersonation than Peter Parker. At least Pete was going through some growing pains. Cillian was supposed to be one of the best physicists on the planet. There wasn’t too much in the way of existentialism, I thought. There was a Freddie Kruger deux ex machina that comes out of nowhere to hack the crew to bits, and then give a few jeremiads at the end. The Queen in Aliens was a better fleshed out character. The most interesting character, the counselor who becomes addicted to the sun, gets off’d just before he might reveal something of substance. I could go on. Where was the gravity, where does one get material that can withstand the heat from the surface of the sun. Hell, I’ll suspend all my disbelief if they’re making a philosophical statement, but I just don’t see how Cillian and his little trick vs. the big bad fundamentalist Freddie Kruger counts as a such.

  5. 5 Carly September 30, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Ratatouille was sososo good! When it switched to the old lady’s perspective in the beginning and all you could hear was squeaking instead of dialogue for a couple of seconds, I almost died. It was everything I wanted it to be, and more. I really did mean to see Once in theaters, the NY critics went effing crazy for it, although actually I usually disagree with them. and I just saw Bourne last week and yeah. Yummy. Still one of two examples I can think of where the movie clearly outdoes the book. The Bourne books are terrible. Truly. the other example is the Godfather, which in book-form is not terrible, but does not achieve the spare visual beauty of the film…because it’s a book. Did you see Shoot ‘Em Up?

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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