January 22nd, 2011

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ExpDelTop100 #93 - Tom and Huck

Those of you paying attention may have noticed that I'd originally listed this as a film that didnt quite make the cut. I told you my list was always in flux. After I'd posted that, I kept thinking that it was wrong. Besides, four of the other five movies I've watched more times than any other are on the list. How could I possibly leave this one out? And I do have lots to say about it, or at least I think I do. For the record, the movie that got sacrificed for this one was Little Miss Sunshine. I think it had lucked its way on anyways.

Aw man, I've got the DVD on the menu right now while I start this write up and warm up breakfast, and the music has me so giddy. I woulda never for the life of me been able to tell you what it sounded like from memory, but as soon as those first few notes started playing it all came rushing back.

Like most preteeny boppers at the time when this film came out, I was crazy obsessed with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Yup, JTT <3! That woulda been between my Macauly Culkin and Hanson phases. He was just so sweet and absolutely adorable. I've always had thing for pretty boys, and he certainly was the prettiest of them all. I think Man of the House was prolly the one that really got me going on him, but for the actual movie I preferred Tom and Huck.

However, the reason I preferred Tom and Huck may actually have been because of Brad Renfro. As much as I was madly in love with JTT, it was Brad that had me swooning every time I'd watch it. Maybe its my bit of a Messiah complex (wanting to be someone's savior) that made me want to just hold Huck and take care of him and keep him for always. I think this is the only one of his films that's on the current revision of the list, but previous versions have included The Client and Apt Pupil. I actually just rewatched Apt Pupil after reading the Stephen King novella and fucking loved it. It feels kinda wrong how hot I found baddie Brad in that. Needless to say I was very distraught when he unfortunately passed a few years ago, and even more sad that it sorta became a footnote in Hollywood because there was that other pretty boy who died in Jan 2008 about a week later. (Im referring to Heath Ledger, who we will have several more opportunities to discuss in the future)

As an only child, I've had to rely on my overly active imagination to keep me entertained. When I was really little, I didnt have just one imaginary friend. I had a whole posse of them. Then as I got older, but was still young enough to play pretend, I would write and cast myself in movie sequels that I'd play out alone in my room. One of the ones I remember visiting the most was a sequel for Tom and Huck. I dont remember too much about it, except that I was a love interest for Huck (naturally). Maybe I was Injun Joe's daughter or something? I really dont recall. While we're on the subject, the other sequel I remember was for The Mask. I was an orphan adopted by Jim Carey who came across the mask and hilarity ensued. I think I even started typing out a script for that one at some point.

Oh my God, what was with Jon's hair in this film? No wonder I preferred him in Man of the House

Wow. Rachel Leigh Cook is so bite sized as Becky Thatcher. I'd wanted to be her oh so bad.

Just before this, I was watching Dumb and Dumber (finishing it off since I fell asleep last night). I couldnt figure out where the \m/ I'd seen the kidnapper guy before. I tried IMDB-ing him, but wasn't sure if I had the right person and nothing in the "known for" jumped out at me. Now while I've got Tom and Huck on, I realized who he was about five seconds before he stepped on screen. Its Judge Thatcher!

Back home, I used to watch movies over and over and over. I woulda kept up with that here, if I didnt have such a huge collection, to the point where I have a backlog of movies I've bought but havent seen yet. So far, Im only a few into the project but with each of the ones that I've loved for 10+ years, I find myself still able to quote along with it even if I haven't seen it in ages. Tom and Huck is no exception, and I get so giddy every time I anticipate a line, esp if its one of Huck's lines.

Mmm that was a fun way to kick off a Saturday
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The Company Men

I keep wanting to call this The Company Way, which then gets this song stuck in my head.

Its really tough to do a write up when you have a big kitty walking back and forth across the keyboard, rubbing herself against you. Seriously, why is Lestat only ever snuggly when its inconvenient?

Continuing the doldrums that are January, this is the only one I felt was worth going to this week. And only because its playing at the Fenway. I wouldnt have gone outta my way for it. Yes it is a timely subject, but Up In The Air got there first and did it better. However, The Company Men took a much more personal approach, it really is kinda tough to compare the two. Which is good because I usually dont like to do write ups as a comparison (in principle I dont like to, but sometimes its more practical)

I felt an unexpectedly strong connection to this film. It follows a few different characters at a big corporation going thru rounds of lay offs. You've got the one that's laid off right away, one that gets hit later, one at the top who cares about the people, one at the top who doesnt. At my old company, I survived about three rounds of layoffs. Throughout the first half of the film, I felt the same weight in my chest that I'd carry around the office for days after people were axed. While there wasn't too much focus on what was going on within the company, I did feel like they nailed that post-mortem atmosphere perfectly. You're thankful you're still there, but stressed because your work load has increased, and scared that you may be next.

It also hit close to home because I was job hunting not too long ago. Thankfully, I was leaving by choice so there wasn't any financial pressure for me to find something, but that doesnt mean I was breezing through it either. My desperation was coming from the pressures within the current job, much of which was the long term results of the previously mentioned downsizing.

While they got the vibe well, I dont know how much I would have cared for the film if it weren't for being able to relate to it. Luckily for them, the subject matter is very approachable for most of the country at the moment. The characters were decent. I did like Ben Affleck's arc and his family, in particular his wife played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Tommy Lee Jones was incredibly sympathetic, so he gets some points as well. I coulda used a bit more of Kevin Costner. He sorta disappeared for a while.

I really dont know what all else there is to say about this one. Time to warm up a snack and move onto the next one on my top 100!

The Company Men - \m/ \m/ \m/
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ExpDelTop100 #92 - Beauty and the Beast

Ahh the second golden age of Disney. Those wonderful beyond reason animated musicals, released circa the early 90's. Having been born in '85, that made me the prime target for all of them. I saw each and every one in the theater. Beauty and the Beast is merely the first to make an appearance on my list.

I actually do have a vague memory of seeing it in the theater. Or at least the events surrounding it. I saw it on a field trip in first grade. I remember when we came back, we were all instructed to do a drawing of our favorite part. Mine was of Beast with all the excess curls and bows before the big ballroom scene. I included Lumiere with a speech bubble saying "You look so, so" and Beast's response "Stupid".

One of the things that is so brilliant about this era of Disney is the ability to include gags for the parents and bigger kids in the audience. "Im especially good at expectorating" comes to mind.

And the music is just fantastic. My BFF and I watched this for one of our recent "girls nights" and he and I were overenthusiastically singing every word, drunk and loud as ever.

Actually there was something we were debating at that last viewing. Why do some of the enchanted objects have faces and voices, and others dont? Just watch Be Our Guest and you'll see what Im talking about. My thought is that all of the existing objects in the castle were enchanted, but only the ones that used to be people are able to express and communicate. I know Im supposed to overlook this sort of thing and trust it as the magic of Disney, but once I catch an inconsistency like this it bothers me.

Film's nearing its end. Debating how to spend the rest of the evening. Im gonna put on something from my queue while I take care of a few things online. Then we'll see what mood Im in. I'll either go for three on the project for today, or start Fringe season 2
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ExpDelTop100 #91 - The Shawshank Redemption

Aaaaand we have our first overlap with the AFI project. There's only gonna be a handful of those. So we've established that its a damn good movie, and that I love it oh so much.

When I was watching it that time, the roomie walks by. "You're watching Shawshank Redemption?" "Yeah" "I respect you". She then grabs a snack and sits on the couch.

Important thing that's different for me since the last viewing--I read the Stephen King novella a couple weeks ago. Its in the same book as Apt Pupil (which I mentioned in passing earlie today). The adaptation is incredibly true to the story. I suppose its always easier to do that with shorter stories than with big huge novels.

I loved reading the description of Andy's character in the book. Robbins played him perfectly, but there's just something so powerful about reading the descriptions.

The movie added some nice touches I rather like:
-When Andy asks Red for Rita Hayworth, the film plays it like he's jokingly asking for the actress. The book makes it more clear that he wants a poster. That is later used to show how far back he'd been planning his escape. Ooops, spoiler. Sorry, I assume most of you have seen it.
-The bit with the music over the loudspeakers isnt in the book
-Tommy is bribed in the book. The way his situation was handled in the film is much more effective.
-The film develops the secondary characters a lot more. The book really just focuses on Red and Andy.
-Ha! Love the "maybe because Im Irish" bit. He really is Irish in the novella. Just one of many times Morgan Freeman transcends race in a killer performance!
-The film flows a bit better. The roof thing leads into the bookkeeping thing. The book was a bit more mismatched.

I guess I should have said earlier that in general I tend to prefer watching the movie then reading the book. That way Im not reading for plot, Im reading for details. I dont rush thru the ending to find out what's gonna happen. And Im discovering new scenes instead of being disappointed that they werent on screen.

Its actually a bit tough to pick apart differences because I know the film so well and read the book so recently. But there really weren't many at all. Its as faithful an adaptation as Green Mile was.