Monday, April 26, 2010

Donnie Darko

I'm still debating how I feel about this movie. I know that I'll have to watch it a couple more times to pick up on all the little things and connections. Overall, for now, I appreciate schizo Donnie as the hero - giving his own life for the sake of others - in the end which is really the beginning and the end. Oh, and obviously the guy in the bunny costume, Frank, was really freaking freaky. I'm glad he eventually takes off the suit, though, because that would have given me nightmares if I hadn't known who or what was really inside it. Biggest surprise - seeing Patrick Swayze. I didn't know he was in this movie before I started watching. He was good, and it made me sad seeing him again. Still, I'm glad he's got another good film credit. Yes, I do think this was a good movie, even though I don't fully understand it all yet. I'm still intrigued by the time travel elements. I love time travel in movies and the way it messes with my mind. Oh, and favorite line so far - Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion. This movie has some excellent weirdos.

Maggie Gyllenhaal played Jake Gyllenhaal's sister, and that was neat to see the real-life sibling actors acting together. This was Jake's first major film I believe (not sure), and he was excellent as dark, troubled, sleep-walking schizophrenic Donnie. Jake has continued to get better and better over the years, and, I have to add, hotter and hotter. I patiently await the day he's up for an Oscar.

Next time I watch this, I'm sure I'll have more comments.

Up in the Air

Up in the Air was an instant favorite, and it immediately reminded me of About Schmidt - another movie I really loved which moved to me to tears.

Now, Up in the Air is no tear-jerking revelation, but it's still pretty moving and good entertainment. I'd say the romance in this film is more between the main character and his lifestyle, but there is also a short-lived affair for George Clooney's character, Ryan Bingham, with Alex who is played by the lovely, sexy and, at one moment, semi-nude Vera Farmiga. Clooney still looks good and still knows how to trick you into thinking he really is the guy you're watching on the screen. Anna Kendrick was excellent in her role of Natalie. I think she plays the perfect fresh-out-of-college-wants-to-please-everyone-before-herself-hardcore-business-exec-newbie. Her crying scene is hilarious, too, and I especially like the relationship that developed between Kendrick's and Clooney's characters. The thing I like best about this movie is the end; Bingham's last few lines and the way in which they are delivered by Clooney - almost poetic. I also think the title is perfect, and I take it two ways in relation to Clooney's character - He's literally up in the air, and also the things and relationships in his life are how he wants them to be so nothing is really "up in the air" in those areas. Ryan Bingham has got his certainty, and I think that's nice. There are probably more meanings to that title, and maybe I'm naive in picking up on those obvious ideas, but that's what I gather for now.

SPOILER ALERT IF YOU CONTINUE READING THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH!!! Even though it wouldn't be my career choice, I sort of envy one part of Ryan Bingham's job...the part that includes flying from place to place and never staying put. Of course, after a while that becomes boring and very routine, and I'd want more normalcy on the ground. I think Ryan Bingham's obsession with earning 10-million sky miles and his elite membership card collection sort of pacifies his need for more in a way, and though he eventually does give in to being the guy who does want more of a normal, settled life aka the guy he previously decided not to be, you can somehow predict that he'll return to being that almost non-existent shadow flying overhead. That's where his destiny lies, and, at the end of the film, I was comforted knowing that Bingham was back "up in the air" and didn't end up miserable and alone. Yes, he is alone, but I think he's happy. He's happier, at least, for having taken a chance and opened himself up to something new, even if it was just for a short time. What's the old saying? Better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

Just finished this book for the second time. I think I read it in college in one of my promotions classes b/c I immediately remembered the first part of the book when I started reading. But I can't remember now if I ever finished it the first time b/c I didn't remember the end. It's not like me to not finish a book though so maybe I just don't have a good memory.

Overall good book. In my head the dad ended up beatin' the killer up, but I guess I just make up happy endings in my memory. Interesting. But the book did end happy so maybe I just wanted some revenge for the dad. I feel like Harvey deserved a worse punishment for what he did. I liked how everything seemed normal on the outsides of the houses but so much was going on inside. I thought Ray and Ruth were good characters, and I loved how everyone came together at the end. They were all so different but connected.

And now for the quotes - These were my favorites from Lovely Bones.

Pg. 63 "Monkeys! - and he began on the rippling path to forgetting for one more day. The shadow of years was not as big on his small body. He knew I was away, but when people left they always came back." - It's funny to me that they spent so much time protecting Buckley when he didn't mind as much as the others. He was "with" his sister longer than most of the people in the book. In a way he was more comfortable with her being gone than the older people in the book.

Pg. 120 "I did begin to wonder what the word heaven meant. I thought, if this were heaven, truly heaven, it would be where my grandparents lived. Where my father's father, my favorite of them all, would lift me up and dance with me. I would feel only joy and have no memory, no cornfield and no grave." - Nice to see she got her heaven later on.

Pg. 125 " 'How to Commit the Perfect Murder' was an old game in heaven. I always chose the icicle: the weapon melts away.' " FINALLY - I get the reference to the icicle from the movie. I was totally confused. Eh..not my favorite.

Pg. 280 "His love for my mother wasn't about looking back and loving something that would never change. It was about loving my mother for everything - for her brokenness and her fleeing, for her being there right then in that moment..." - This is really pretty. If it had that funny old style, it would sound like something out of one of Jane Austen's novels.

Pg. 316 "I now saw that drinking was part of what made her who she was. If the worst of what she left on Earth was a legacy of inebriated support, it was a good legacy in my book." - I like this. Accepting people for who they are "flaws" and all.