Friday, September 29, 2006

Movies Moving Backward

September 29

The other night I watched The Lake House. Not unusual for a new movie, this one made me think, "I've got to see this one a second time."

In my youth when I wanted to see a movie a second time, it was because I loved it and simply couldn't part with it. Today, it's because the film left me with questions that could only be answered by at least one more viewing. This is by design, the trick of the filmmaker to keep the audience from understanding the movie, even if it takes putting deliberate holes in the plot or withholding the information that would carry the story forward.

Some of the confusion movies are better than others. I happen to think The Lake House was a pleasure to watch, a kind of flashy soap opera chick-flick, with attractive actors and one I always love to see (Christopher Plummer), beautiful locales, and an intriguing story line that keeps the viewer in awe of what is or might be going on. I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a confusion flick of a few years back in which Jim Carrey is having such difficulty moving forward after a painful experience that he has his mind cleaned and his memory erased and the audience is charged with figuring out the time line.

There was a trend of movies moving back-to-front, begun by something called Mulholland Drive, which I never saw. It's on my list of possibles, but not high on it because I already understand the premise -- and watching a movie run from the end to the beginning seems a bit counterproductive to me. But it launched the confusion genre (and don't you love how often people use the word genre today? It bores me to distraction. This may be a first for me, using the word genre. I shall try to avoid it in the future.)

I wish I weren't becoming one of those people who brought the "old days" into every discussion. But when a movie or book had a straightforward concept, a linear story, good actors doing their job, and satisfied the audience with a neat beginning, middle and end, I was in my comfort zone. On the other hand, I like being on the edge of my seat and don't mind what stunts the filmmaker tries to get me there. Maybe I just like movies.


hihf said...

I saw The Lake House in a movie theater. I had wanted to see another movie( The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn) but I acquiesced to my wife's wishes ( she had promised that if I didn't like the movie we could sneak into another theater to watch The Break Up). Anyway, I found myself really enjoying the film. I especially liked the way it ended ...

BTW the other day you mentioned something about Ashton Kutcher being in Win a Date With Tad Hamilton. I think you have your That 70's Show icons confused. Topher Grace, not Ashton, was in that particular movie.

Finding Fair Hope said...

You're right and I was wrong, hihf. I googled Ashton Kutcher and got that information about Tad Hamilton, but I was reading it wrong. I saw the title of the movie, which I saw a couple of years ago but was not aware of any of the names of the actors. What the article was saying was that -- Extreme Trivia fans take note -- Topher Grace opened in Tad Hamilton against Ashton Kutcher in Butterfly Effect, his acting opposite number from "That 70's Show." I will go on record as saying that I do not watch "That 70's Show." Nostalgia for anything since the 1960's leaves me cold.

I still recommend Win a Date with Tad Hamilton no matter who is in it. And I still think Ashton Kutcher is a movie star, not a wannabe.

Are you really Thierry Beauchamp?

Robin said...

Geeze Miss FF you don't have to take it so personally,"And I still think Ashton Kutcher is a movie star, not a wannabe."
What makes a movie star and who decides? I put him in the same class as Toby McGuire, Elijah Wood, Leo Dicaprio, Ben Affleck..They may make good movies but I wouldn't consider one of them a STAR.None of the above have any depth or masculinity to them.

The dominant ideology's definition of pop culture masculinity has changed over the years and what does it mean to our common media.Are today's women turned off by masculine men?

I personally prefer masculinity in an actors role but that's just me, you have your opinions and I have mine.Simple.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Don't take it personally, Robin, but I think all the guys you list are movie stars. I think it's probably about box office, actually.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I came over as thin-skinned, but I somehow felt I should defend Ashton Kutcher even though I don't really know him. (His work, I mean, of course I don't know him.)

Let's see, macho movie guys: De Niro, Pacino, Matthew McConaghey, Vince Vaughn, Vin Diesel, Cuba Gooding, Samuel L. Jackson. Got any faves to add to the list, readers? Somebody tell me, does Johnny Depp make the cut?

Robin said...

Miss FF, that's a good list, let's include Russell Crowe, Harrison Ford,Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger to name a few more. I think Johnny Depp is a cutie but he sure doesn't classify in my opinion as a masculine actor.

tangerine said...

Johnny Depp as macho? I don't think so, Miss FF. Not after Finding Neverland!

Finding Fair Hope said...

Billy Bob Thornton, Nicholas Cage, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Sylvester Stallone, Laurence Fishbourne, Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Colin Farrell.

hihf said...

No Miss Finding , I'm not "REALLY" Thierry Beuachamp. ; )