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.

THE CLAIROMETER:

Clairometer

Clairometer

conclusion

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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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Save This in Your Netflix Queue

Save the Date (2012)
Written by: Jeffery Brown, Michael Mohan, Egan Reich (screenplay)
Directed by: Michael Mohan
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend

My Rating: 7.1
Worth: 3/4 paying attention, cost of a rental (maybe I should delete this category? It's becoming redundant)
Clairometer: Jenny Curran

I'm getting older. With age comes the tendency to gravitate towards movies like this. No not with a "marriage" theme and/or title. Just a movie about relationships and life in general. When I was younger, I gravitated towards movies like Men in Black and Austin Powers. Now, I find myself thinking "oh great another movie about aliens," or "penis and fart jokes, how inspired.")
My mom used to pass on seeing movies like that with me and my father. At the time, I couldn't understand why; but with age, her reasoning isn't just becoming clear, it's becoming my reasoning. This anecdote is in response to the fact that most of the films I have reviewed on this blog seem to be romantic. That was by no means my intention in its creation. I think, in addition to my aging, this is due to my actual intention in this blog's creation. The fact that I want to recommend movies that you might not usually see or even hear about. Independent movies usually have a low budget (insert laugh by any independent producer for the biggest understatement since that time Lorne Michaels told Amy Poehler "everything will change for you now that you're on Update.") So independent movies must rely on good dialogue and everyday themes. They don't make too many low budget action movies. So you've heard of most good action/alien/crime/dystopian/post-apocalyptic movies out there, thus making my blog posts unnecessary. Still want a recommendation? The Cornetto Trilogy never gets old.

Save the Date is a great movie about romance. I think it was marketed at a romantic comedy but it is definitely not one. There might be one funny line, but even Million Dollar Baby has more comedic bits than that. I think people just label things romantic comedies because that's a commonly used phrase. All that to say, don't expect to laugh. But that doesn't mean it's not good - just miscategorized! I think it was categorized as a comedy because people confuse charm with humor. That being said, Lizzy Caplan and Mark Webber's characters are positively charming. You can't help but love them both. The acting is great all around, not surprisingly. The music isn't too Juno-esque. It's a Jenny Curran rating because there are some intense, but beautifully romantic sex scenes, plus a quantity of f-bombs that have become casually used and commonplace in modern society. Perhaps I should adjust my Clairometer scale?

I think I need to use that spinning top Inception gif in every movie review these days. To decode that for you, the ending is incomplete. One of the reasons why I loved What If so much, was because it carried the plot to the very end - how refreshing! But overall, Save the Date is a great movie exhibiting the depth of love between friends, lovers, and sisters. Watch this with an open mind and a guarded heart, because most scenes in this will break it. But that can sometimes be a good thing - and this is one of those times.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dear All People, Watch This

Dear White People (2014)
Written by: Justin Simien
Directed by: Justin Simien, Adriana Serrano
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Tyler James Williams, Kyle Garner, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell

My Rating: 6.8
Worth: 3/4 paying attention, cost of a rental
Clairometer: Erin Brockovich


I am white. That affects the lens by which I viewed this movie, and I suppose everything. This is an incredibly smart and relevant movie. It presented many views on what it means to be black in America. I enjoyed hearing each side. I found myself thinking, "wow, I've never thought of it that way." Justin Simien would likely click his heels with joy, as that is the basis for which most films like this are created - to challenge the normative thought process. Dear White People succeeded in that goal and even surpassed it. The film is absolutely worth watching, simply to hear so many well crafted arguments about topical issues.

The ending did leave me with a few questions. As a white person, what is the correct way to behave (other than not throwing an incredibly racist themed fraternity party - this is a plot point)? I heard a lot of "don't do this" and "don't do that" but most of those things seemed obvious. And the ones that didn't seem obvious made me feel as though my feet were permanently atop egg shells. I still feel just as uncomfortable talking about race as I did before I watched Dear White People. I'm sure it wasn't the film's intention to alleviate my naiveté and insecurities. I just like to let you know how I feel after a movie and my emotional status throughout. It also seemed in the end, with the exception of a mixed-race couple, that separation is the best option. I understand that homogeny is important for development and social security, but isn't diversity the goal? The "happy" ending was only possible when the races were separate. This gave me the gnawing feeling you get when you read Plessy v. Ferguson. But then again, the movie is referred to as a satire, so who knows what the real point is.