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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Friday, September 11, 2015

Watch This Not This

Watch This... 

Stuck In Love (2012)
Written and Directed by: Josh Boone
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, Nat Wolff, Kristen Bell

My Rating: 8.1
Worth: Full attention and cost of a rental
Clairometer: Mathilda

I don't mind the term "chick flick." But I don't think every time love or romance is at the center of a storyline we should label it as such. A chick flick is 27 Dresses. Stuck in Love, is a dumb name for a fantastic movie that happens to discuss romance. Much of the romance involved is from the male perspective.  This film is about writing, divorce, and self confidence. It's about relationships between parents and their children. It's about falling in love at three different stages of life.

"Rusty, a writer is the sum of his experiences. Go get some."

I can't say enough good things about this movie. The three main characters are all writers. And yet the film is without a whisper of pretentiousness. The details are impeccable, down to the fact that Lily Collins and Nat Wolff actually do look like a combination of Jennifer Connelly and Greg Kinnear. I really appreciate things like that - casting directors thinking about good, quality actors, but also taking into account who is playing a family member. Like when Jamie Lynn played a young Britney at the beginning of Crossroads. That's cinematic gold. Did you know Shonda Rhimes wrote that?

In all sincerity, Stuck in Love is a great movie. It doesn't try too hard. It's not overly indie. There are no ukuleles played. A man (or anyone for that matter) dared to write men who show emotion on a regular basis - not just at the climax when he's trying to win the girl back. I (usually) applaud uniqueness, and this post is a standing O for Stuck in Love.

Not This... 

Barefoot (2014)
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Scott Speedman
Written by: Stephen Zotnowski
Directed by: Andrew Flemming 

My Rating: 4.5
Clairometer: Mrs. Doubtfire
Worth: A solid 5 minutes of pondering why Evan Rachel Wood and J.K. Simmons said yes. 
This reminded me of The Last Song.

My 6 readers are probably too high-brow to know what that is, but it's a Nicholas Sparks movie starring a (long-haired) Miley Cyrus. Except it differs in one crucial way. Barefoot didn't even utilize Evan Rachel Wood's lovely singing ability!?! With a plot line this thin, it could've easily been worked in. Here's how they're similar: the main characters are a girl who is by society's definition very flawed and a guy from a rich family who falls for this girl. The family must accept the girl despite her issues and the girl must learn to overcome her obstacles. Honestly though, The Last Song is a much better movie. That should really be all you need to know. 

Evan Rachel Wood plays Daisy, a girl who has schizophrenia and usually doesn't wear shoes. She was raised in isolation her whole life by her mother who also had schizophrenia. The film is lighthearted on the surface, but interlaced throughout various points are Daisy's debilitating panic attacks and severe mental instability. She needs to be counseled and eased back into the real world. Her naiveté, her lack of any personal possessions, and at times even her past seem to be a punchline. Which is possible.... thanks to Tina Fey. But Barefoot does not gracefully navigate this delicate area of comedy. One minute Daisy is burping when she drinks champagne for the first time. The next, she is on her hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom because that's how she was taught to show love. I constantly felt uncomfortable, and simultaneously bored. It didn't attempt to break the stigma of medication for mental illness (you do you J Law). It just made me feel sad and like I had wasted two hours. I'm here to save your time, and tell you to watch Stuck in Love instead.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Apartment-Ridden Love

So this has turned into a romantic comedy blog. Thank God Nancy Meyers is still working (#theintern). I have watched two rom coms worth mentioning (and loads not worth mentioning - Sex Ed, oh adult Haley Joel Osment, how I wish you were still Walter-esque), and my snarky thoughts on both are as follows:

1. Two Night Stand (2014)
**ignore the cheeseball trailer
Starring: Analeigh Tipton, Miles Teller, Jessica Szohr, Scott Mescudi
Written by: Mark Hammer
Directed by: Max Nichols

My Rating: 7.1
Clairometer: Erin Brockovich
Worth: a couple of hours of mostly paying attention. I don't think you'd be angry if you clicked buy for a $4.99 On Demand rental.... but no need to buy an HBO subscription.

As with the next movie I discuss, I like this movie for its original premise. A blizzard sticks these two in a room together for a weekend, after they had a one night stand. If this were a worse movie, that sentence would be sufficient information. But as the goddess known as Lake Bell once said, "You watch romantic comedies for the middle, not for the beginning and ending." This movie isn't dependent on the answer to will they, won't they. It's a movie devoted to the genuine thoughts of people who just graduated from college (the word millennials makes me want to barf). Do you hold out for the perfect job? What do you do with a BS (Bachelor of Science or Bull Shit - your choice) degree and no real plan? Why is it so hard to have a productive conversation with someone you are sleeping with about sex? The wall of snow forces these two characters to breakdown the answers to these questions.

For those of you who saw Fantastic Four and are morning the loss of the intelligible Miles Teller - watch Two Night Stand, then watch it again, then maybe Whiplash, but only if you have cool neighbors. When I watched this movie I told my boyfriend that Miles Teller reminded me of a young Tom Hanks. He responded that Miles Teller is the poor man's Shia Labeouf, because society can't handle his weirdness. I'm not entirely sure how that is relevant, I just thought it was funny.

2. Take Care (2014)
**watch it without knowing much about it.
Starring: Leslie Bibb, Thomas Sadoski
Written and Directed by: Liz Tuccillo

My Rating: 6.3
Clairometer: Mathilda
Worth: Absolutely no more than half of your attention. I may or may not have "studied" for the Bar with this on in the background. As far as paying for it goes - it's on Netflix, but hurry and watch it before Netflix loses all its contracts with decent distribution companies!

This premise is similar to Two Night Stand but slightly more intricate. The main character, Frannie, gets into a car accident and needs someone to take care of her while her bones heal. She winds up soliciting her ex-boyfriend. That alone doesn't sound that great I know, but the reason he agrees is pretty good. And no I won't ruin it.

There's nothing particularly fabulous about the dialogue or the set or [insert film school term here]. Truly, I watched the whole movie because of the creative set up. The beginning is as slow as Frannie moves. The ending is predictable (recall Lake Bell's quote). But something about how these two ended up spending so much time together in an apartment, as well as their painful backstory completely intrigued me. I think Take Care will intrigue you enough to watch it too.