Thursday, October 19, 2006

Movie famine

Where have all the good movies gone? I haven't seen a good one for a long time, have you? The last good movie I saw was...well, I can't even remember.


Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

Not lately, but I can recommend two verbalistic documentaries:

1. Word Wars - Tiles and Tribulations on the Scrabble Game Circuit, hilarious in a laugh-at-them sort of way
2. Wordplay about the NY Times crossword puzzle tournament with lots of guest stars (coming soon to DVD)

If you like dark comedy, you'd probably like Thank You for Smoking, now on DVD, which is about the tobacco company's PR guy who can spin anything. (Caveat: it has a couple non-nude but non-trivial sex scenes. They can be fast-forwarded without much loss of content.)

We're also watching Scrubs on DVD, and it's pretty funny.

Finally, I'd recommend Firefly, the cancelled TV show. I'll quote my Amazon review of it here:

I remember skipping past this show once or twice when it was on the air, but now I'm sorry I didn't give it a chance. A friend loaned me the DVDs, and my wife and I delighted in them. There was humor, action, grit, character development, and so much potential.

I think what most appealed to me was the diversity of viewpoints represented on the ship. For instance, Shepherd Book represented a Christian voice who was set among his "den of thieves" composed literal thieves as well as a respected, professional prostitute, a captain who had lost his faith after feeling abandoned by God, and a skeptical but fragile genius in River. The Shepherd had a complex past, and the tension was set for some meaningful spiritual conversation which appeared only in bits before the show was cancelled.

I liked the fact that they were not guiding diplomats through negotiations or fighting for the Federation (as in Star Trek Next Gen). Rather, their concerns are very mundane (e.g., where can they find a job and get paid), and they float as "losers" on the out-skirts of the territory of the space Alliance (which seems more bureaucratic than innately evil, unlike, say, the Empire from Star Wars). I also like the fact that they use "futuristic" curse words ("gorram" and "ruttin'") as well as Chinese expletives instead of the standard and hackneyed English vernacular.

One reviewer complained of the sex in the show. I agree that there is some gratuitous sex to be found, but since the show is on DVD, a remote can be employed to get past that. As for the alleged "nudity", the only examples I recall are in the pilot episode where the prostitute's bare back is shown (again, the remote can skip it) and in the episode where the captain appears naked from the back, including his buttocks. The latter is used purely for comic effect and is not sexual in nature.

In short, the show had more depth and well-roundedness than any sci-fi production that I have seen, and I've seen quite a few.

Mike said...

MF - Thanks for the recommendations!

Patricia said...

Firefly is definitely a good movie. I'd also recommend Danny Deckchair (British movie) and The Lost City with Andy Garcia. The Lost City is about Havana at the time of the Castro revolution. It follows one family through it all, up and downs. The cast is mainly all of Cuban descent and the script was written by a Cuban exile. Andy Garcia, also Cuban directs and acts in it. Great movie.

Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

I forgot to mention that there was a movie sequel to Firefly the series, called Serenity. I'd suggest watching the series first, but I should warn you that I found the movie to be a bit of a let-down after watching all of the series.

Also, for fans of Shawshank, I ran across an amusing rap parody-summary Shawshank in a Minute.