Sunday Sevenish

Sometimes, when I fail to post up a Friday Five, it's only cause I got lazy.

Sometimes, it's only cause I got this idea for a thing, and that thing becomes more important than any other thing.

Sometimes both.

Sometimes Jennifer Lawrence.

And sometimes all four.

I spent the morning and early afternoon traveling down and back to see my dad. We had some good laughs and a good lunch.

In the car ride home I thought a lot about the Friday Five, but nothing seemed to really spark the imagination and then Joann sent me a picture of the cover of Catching Fire, the sequel to the Hunger Games, which came out on DVD that afternoon, with hours and hours of extras, and pretty much decided to dominate the rest of the day.

So no Friday Five for you.

Cause, and I must say it, Catching Fire is a really good flick.

Like really good.

Like there was not a single wasted frame of celluloid.

However, it made butt tons of money and was based on a young adult novel, so the critical analysis of the flick was beside the point, which I think is a shame because it was an action disaster movie, a love story, and post WWIII sci-fi and yet was made to feel real and present at the same time.

You feel like you want to write it off until you start to realize that there were gladiators in a democratic empire and the firing squad is still a legal form of execution in some states.

Huzzah, I say, Huzzah.

Now, yes, I am a sci-fi fanboy, so I do find myself feeling apologetic to the literati from time to time for how much fantasy, super hero, dystopian futurama fluff I imbibe on a regular basis, but that's kinda like feeling bad for not reading the nutritional facts on a Chicken Chalupa.

And just like all art forms, there's good, bad, really good, really bad, kitschy, failed kitsch, and surprisingly magnificent examples of the craft.

It was the "surprisingly magnificent" monicker that got my ball a rollin cause I started to think about all kinds of movies that really just blew my mind in one way or another, but were either shined over because of how popular they were, or never captured the zeitgeist of the moment, or never rediscovered by the pop culture people who are in charge of that sorta thing.

So here's just a random list of movies, some popular, some unheard of, that I could literally watch hundreds of times. And mostly have.

First: Stranger Than Fiction
Will Ferrell is funny, yes, but watching him as a grounded character surrounded by the most amazing performers and a tale that's just quirky and fantastical enough to keep you slightly unprepared, well, what can I say? If you haven't seen it, please do.

Second: the original Red Dawn:
One of my best friends referred to this movie as "cold war propaganda trash" which, you know, okay then. I can't really, really, argue with that. A war movie about high school children becoming guerrilla fighters due to a Soviet invasion of the U.S. starring the Brat Pack. Yeah, I know, but if you sift passed all the flag waving and second amendment rhetoric and start to think a little globally and you start to think about how often an invaded country turns to a quagmire of children killing children, and yes, until you're in your thirties, you're still a kid, then it's possible to put an american face to a terrorist act. Freedom just happens to be our religion. That, and Leah Thompson. Wolverines!

Third: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince:
I know it's silly to list the sixth installment of one of the most popular series ever, but if you watch it again, you'll notice that it's the only one that is constructed like a movie and not a "Harry Potter" movie. The performances, the dialogue, the pace, the exposition, even the sight gags, all combine very gracefully and maturely. It is the "Empire Strikes Back" of the series and deserved a lot more critical acclaim than it got.

Fourth: Mumford
Speaking of Star Wars movies, did you know that Lawrence Kasdan was responsible for both Return of the Jedi and The Big Chill, in the same frigging year? The same guy who wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Bodyguard. Anyway, just slightly down the list of his IMDB page is a teeny weeny forgotten about movie called Mumford. I won't spoil it for you except for the fact that it includes pretty much the only watchable performance of Martin Short ever, and solidifies the fact truth the world doesn't get enough of Hope Davis.

Five: Lenny
I can't imagine that working with Bob Fosse was anything other than terrible, but this black and white biopic of comedian Lenny Bruce is my favorite of the three films he did. The movie is pretty frenetic until this incredible melt down scene where the camera shoots Dustin Hoffman from the back of the theater and it's so long and so terrible you're both devastated and horrified and sad.

Six: The Little Prince
Lerner and Lowe's last musical together, and yeah, it's pretty heavy with seventies schmaltz, but gosh the songs are good, and the performances good, and Bob Fosse as the snake, I've heard the stage show isn't all that, but boy would I like to see it.

Seven: Across the Universe
Continuing the musical theme, this is a musical movie incorporating Beatles tunes. And, okay, yeah, Julie Taymore really starts to lose herself in high concept art that just becomes stupid (See Spiderman: The Broadway Musical) and can Twila Tharp us to death, but the guys who did the production work on the sound track where just unbelievably tight and you had to know a little inside pool to get it, but even if you didn't, the moment when Evan Rachel Wood sings Blackbird, ooopmh.

Seven and a half: A Life Less Ordinary
Sure, a road romance with Cameran Diaz and Ewan McGregor, but there is this wonderful side romance of cupids played by Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo that the whole thing is like a mash up of  Quentin Tarantino and Frank Capra.

Seven and three quarters: Better Off Dead
Actually, this list is going to go on forever and there wasn't really much of a thread to begin with, so we're just gonna stop here. Except to say that David Ogden Stiers was actually at the opening night cast party where Joann and I went home together for the first time and John Cusack rules.

Next week I may keep the movie theme going with the exact opposite of this list: Overrated Meh.

(Looking right at you, American Hustle)

Sorry Jen.

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