Monday, December 28, 2009

The Date Movie Alternative


Last week brought us Did You Hear About the Morgans?, which has been pretty much ravaged by anyone with two working eyeballs. This is the latest wacky rom-com from director/writer Marc Lawrence, who made the super-atrocious Two Weeks Notice.
For any couples who read this blog, here are two suggestions that won't cause a fist-fight in the lobby or a silent, spite-filled car ride home.

1.) Julie & Julia: I know that the phrase "wonderful film" gets thrown around too often, especially as critics put together their end-of-year lists. This is one that deserves that description. Nora Ephron's frothy, funny, and touching tale isn't a chick flick, but a stirring ode to professional and personal commitment. Yes, the female leads are good, but Stanley Tucci understated, elegant work shows just how vital he is as a supporting actor. As Paul Child, Julia's husband, he makes Streep's performance all the more human. Without him I don't think Meryl is renting jewelry for the Oscars.

2.) Lovely & Amazing: I'm starting to really, really like Nicole Holofecner's films. No character is painted in black and white. Emotions aren't manufactured. The characters are so remarkably layered and so human that there's no need to generate a big, stupid story (e.g., Unfaithful, Elizabethtown). For 100 minutes or so, you get great acting, honesty, and stories featuring women (none starring Meg Ryan or Sandra Bullock) that make you think. What I love about Lovely & Amazing is Catherine Keener (pictured). She plays an unlikable human being, but Keener and Holofecner find the character's humanity. Any other movie would fail miserably in this regard, and would portray her as a cartoonish bitch.

Who plays Keener's sister? The awesome Emily Mortimer. Their mom is Brenda Blethyn, who's terrific. Even Dermot friggin' Mulroney shines.

Rent both movies today. Please. Do you really want to see Sarah Jessica Parker wearing a Sarah Jessica Parker mask? Seriously, she's starting to look like the hero from V for Vendetta.

1 comment:

Lindsay Champion said...

I'll check out "Lovely and Amazing" for sure, thanks for the recommendation. I saw "Julie and Julia" in the theater and while I absolutely adored the Julia parts, the Julie parts were a little ho-hum, I thought. I liked the answering machine part though! I hope to do a review about Julie Powell's new book "Cleaved" on bibliobuffet hopefully this month...

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