How It Works

I love movies, but I hate most movie reviews. I hate them for two reasons: First, they always begin with a 3-5 paragraph in-depth description of the film. I don't want to know the entire plot, I want to know if it's good! I may say generally what the movie involves but that's it. Second, most movie reviews are unclear. I've read countless reviews that left me with absolutely no indication as to whether or not I should even see the film. Not here. I developed three methods to rate television and movies:

1. Just your average 10 point scale.
10 is obviously the best and 1 is the worst. Although, Something Borrowed might make below a 1 if I ever get around to reviewing it. I consider myself quite harsh, so if you see anything above a 9, it's probably in my top ten of all time.

2. What's it Worth?
I will tell you if I think it's worth paying for and worth the 2 (and ever more increasingly 3) hours of your time. I also make an educated guess as to whether or not you can multitask during the film.

3. The (not-yet) Patented Clairometer
In honor of my college friend Claire, I developed this rating system in order to display how "appropriate" the film is. It is designed to tell you a more detailed rating system. I find this helpful. Sometimes you want to know ahead of time so you're not stuck watching Black Swan in an empty theater with your mom. The range between PG-13 and R is more vast than the plot holes in a Michael Bay movie. I hope to combat this. The scale shows photos and descriptions of a few well-known women in film and television. The rating is the farthest woman to the left of the scale who would approve of the film. For example, June Cleaver would not approve of
Tequila Sunrise. The woman who would is probably Mathilda.





With this blog, I write as though someone will read it and enjoy what I have to say. I am under no false pretense that I have a wide readership. It is mostly for me and for the one other person who accidentally stumbled across this blog. If that is you, I'm glad you are here. With this blog, I send my thoughts about what I watch on a black box into the abyss of the world wide web. I hope you enjoy reading these thoughts as much as I enjoy writing them.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Written by: Derek Ciafrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder
Directed by: Derek Ciafrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrn

Rating: 9.1
Worth: 2 and a half hours, cost of rental, theater price
Clairometer: Jenny Curran

The first thing to say in describing this movie is: BRACE YOURSELF. I told my best friend to see it because it was fantastic. She called me crying and nauseated and with an hour left to go. Derek Ciafrance is known for the reality of life hitting you in the face and usually upsetting your stomach. Blue Valentine (another one of his films) still gives me bad feelings. But both films (more so The Place Beyond the Pines) are incredible. Yet at the same time, I will be fine to never watch it ever again.

It is difficult to describe what makes this movie so good without giving twists away. It comes full circle. I hate the critic's quote in the center of the poster above. Yes it is riveting, but it is so much more than a crime drama. It's about love, poverty, wealth, politics, and family. It beautifully juxtaposes two families: one with wealth and one in poverty. But how does each father provide for his family? Where are his priorities? How much does a father influence a son in parenting his own son? Are our fates unavoidable in life?

As I said, I did not set my best friend's expectations appropriately, so allow me to not make that mistake twice. Expect to be depressed. Expect to feel ill and thankful you can return to your own monotonous life. Expect to be disappointed. You'll be hoping that plot points are dreams or a figment of the characters' imaginations. But recall what I said, the writer/director deals in extreme reality. The timing is linear. Be mindful of this. Don't miss the essence of the film by hoping things will get better. They don't. Analyze the film in the way your college English professor taught you. Focus on the themes, the metaphors and the tone. Try to think while you're watching, the ways in which those "literary" elements contribute to Ciafrance's dark grasp on reality. But keep in mind, you'll want to eat ice cream and watch something goofy afterwards (I recommend an episode of Community).

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