The issue with having a genre specific column is that you can’t really break out and review great movies of different types. So, because I just started a new job and I didn’t get to watch anything new I decided it was about time I laid down the law and told you guys about some of the good movies your missing out on in different genres. After all, variety is the spice of life, and let’s be honest, it’s not like you were going to do anything this weekend anyways.
The original 2000s quirky teen comedy that launched Michael Cera’s career may seem like a desperate attempt be Hollywood corporate executives to be hip and tap into the teenage audience (and it was) but it treated its audience with respect. It never preaches at us not to get pregnant, or shames Juno for her choice – if anything it makes the assholes who belittle her and mock her for it seem like the villains. Juno herself deals with lots of big emotions and issues, ranging from fear, loss, loneliness, self-pity, anger – not just sobbing in a corner the entire time. Not to mention she takes the falling apart of the adoptive parents’ marriage very close to know, showing her own insecurities and her fear for the life of this child. She didn’t just decide to give the baby away, she genuinely cared and felt responsible for him. It didn’t make anyone want to be pregnant (well at least not most people) but it did make us believe that strength and heart are what you need to get through a tough situation. Well that, and a burger phone. Damn I wanted that burger phone.
5) Easy A
I didn’t want to like this movie – truth be told I saw it in theaters because all my friends wanted to and it got good reviews, so I figured what the Hell, just once can’t hurt. I’m not usually big on teen dramas or comedies because they pander way too much, they often belittle the teenagers involved rather than treat them with real respect and thoughtfulness, and ultimately are too saccharine for its own good. That’s not to say that Easy A isn’t all of these things – quite the opposite, it is all of those cliches I just mentioned. The reason it works so well is that it knows this and is using it as one big joke. It doesn’t aim to be deep or intellectual or more interesting beyond the initial watching – it has nothing to say or add to any argument or topic. What it is in the end is a funny, well-written and endearing comedy basically made for one or two viewings. It doesn’t strive to be a classic comedy, or a new Pretty in Pink because it’s a product of its time – the cynical 2000s where teens act more like adults and adults act like disturbing horny teenagers. It gets that the high school fairytale isn’t all its made out to be, but it hope that at least some part of it is true. Not that it would ever admit it though.
4) Down With Love
If you’ve never seen a 1960s style zany sex comedy then you owe it to yourself to watch this film. A witty look at the sexism heavy man-takes-all sub genre of romantic comedies, Down With Love manages to be funny, romantic, sweet, and has an interesting back and forth beyond the will-they-wont-they dribble we’re so used to. Renee Zellweger and Ewan McEgregor have great chemistry together and their quick retorts and scathing glares makes them one of the most believable, and in my humble critic opinion best, couples of the modern rom-com. It’s witty, lighthearted with a touch of cheesy 60s drama, it’s got plot twists and great dialogue, and serves as one of the best re-imaginings of a problematic but beloved genre.
3) Kill Bill
While this film falls into my jurisdiction on a technicality, it’s not one I’m going to review. It comes in two parts, two long parts which would deserve long, analytical look at each not a hasty 1000 word review. Second, it’s a Tarantino film, there is not reason for you not to see it. The man has never made a bad movie in his career, and he doesn’t seem to be anytime soon. No, Death Proof doesn’t count as a bad film just because you didn’t like it. Third, it’s Uma Thurman’s most iconic role, proving her acting chops which she then sadly wasted on poorly written and directed romantic comedies. Also Volume 3 is supposedly happening, so you better catch up while you can before everyone starts throwing up their fans theories all over the Internet and spoiling it for you anyways. The amazing fight choreography and soundtrack alone should be enough to convince you to dedicate half a day to the film. The story is intricate but simple, the acting is strong on all fronts, and the sense of artistry in every scene is clear and loving. You need to see it now.
I see this one popping up on TV every so often, which is a good thing as this is a quality film that needs its place among the good and awful of the typical cable movie line-up. While it should count as sci-fi film, I think it falls more into the drama category which is why I have never reviewed it before in a formal article. The basic plot is a TV junkie from the 1990s gets his greatest wish when he and his sister are sucked into his favorite 1950s black-and-white sitcom. But they find that Pleasantville is more sterile and heartless than it is pleasant. The slow transition from grey to color is handled stunningly well and really depicts how the world of 1950s television is a pale and superficial one when you can’t experience the full scope of all life offers. The argument for emotions and art, even if controversial in the face of society, make the movie a thought provoking piece, even if it was never a commercial success. Plus, it’s really funny to see firefighters completely mesmerized by fire because they’ve never see it before. It’s masterfully shot, well written, and can really mean or stand for whatever you want it to because it’s an argument for experiencing life, all of it, the good and bad. Wait, did I just describe Neon Gensis Evangelion?
Indie comedies are usually hit or miss, but this movie couldn’t hit the target any better if they aimed at it from a satellite in space with worlds smartest computer. Butter is a comedy about America, or least the America most of us know exists but are a little perturbed by. It revolves around a county’s butter sculpture contest and the strange lives and politics of the people who enter it. Or rather, the crazy micro-managing wife versus a young African-American orphaned with recently discovered artistic talents. With a stellar cast of actors, including the only role I have ever liked Jennifer Gardner in, this movie pulls off a weirdly sincere yet self-aware humor that will have you rolling on the floor and cheering from your seats. Honestly, it’s just worth the watch if only to see Hugh Jackman as a Midwestern used car salesman.