movie night–airplane

October 23, 2011 Comments Off on movie night–airplane

The kids wanted a comedy the other night.  We’d watched a few MST3Ks in a row and I thought it was time for a break.  Maybe a chance to bond a little bit.  What was a piece of cinema that truly, deeply affected me?  That made my who I am today?

Airplane, that’s what.  It came out when I was 12, which neatly splits the difference between O & C.  Much of my daily conversation is still peppered with quotes like “What do I make of it?  Well, I can make a hat, or a broach, or a pterodactyl….”  This was a no-brainer.

It’s tough to admit, but compared with the run-of-the-mill potty humor comedy today, Airplane seems pretty highbrow.  Casablanca references that I probably didn’t get in 1980, and that the kids certainly didn’t get, either, for instance.  And some other stuff seems wonderfully dated–what gas station attendant has checked your oil for you recently, either in a car or a 707?  It started a bit slower than I remembered, and for a while I was worried that this was going to be another piece of evidence that my life, compared with my kids’ had been impossibly lame.

But then the jokes started rolling.  “To the hospital–what is it?”  “It’s a place where they keep sick people, but never mind…”  “Pardon me, ma’am, but I speak jive,” and “TO THE TOWER–RAPUNZEL!” all had the three of ourselves beside ourselves.  And the occasional swear word or moment of partial nudity had precisely the effect on them that it had on me 31 years ago (sheesh).  Utterly transgressive, shockingly funny, totally epic.  The Zucker brothers, if nothing else, captured the essence of the 11-to-13 year old psyche.  And if the autopilot inflation scene was over their heads (thank goodness)?  Well, it’s a movie that bears repeated viewing through the years.  A film of many layers, surely.

It is that.  And stop calling me Shirley.


movie night–2001

August 24, 2011 Comments Off on movie night–2001

So I got the internet sorted out on the new cable modem and yeah, welcome to the 21st century.  Fast stuff.  But the best part is that I also got Netflix to work, right from the TV.  No more going through TiVO and settling for crappy picture quality and waiting at key moments for the movie to catch up.  At least that’s the promise I’ve been given from the cable guys, we’ll see how long that lasts.

But I told the kids we should celebrate with a good movie tonight.  And what did the boy pick?  2001: A Space Odyssey.  My fave movie of all time, bar none.  It has its flaws–it’s long, it’s pretentious, the soundtrack is pretty unbearable, and the ending is the least satisfying thing in cinematic history.  But holy crap, what an immersive experience.  A generation before CGI and the special effects are crisp and basically perfect.  Details, a compelling argument about technology, and the HAL 9000 was manufactured in my hometown.  My eighth grade social studies teacher showed this film to us in class and I remember my mind being utterly blown.

The kids’ responses have been in two categories:  They’re trying to figure out the symbolism and the general message (O:  “so, the monolith is, like, God, right?”), but they’ve also pointed out how much it rips off Star Wars.  Even though I’ve pointed out about a dozen times that it’s TEN YEARS older than Star Wars.

We watched half of it tonight.  Both kids are down with watching the rest of it tomorrow.  Didn’t know it was possible to love those two any more than I did, but if we’re all Kubrick fans?  Maybe it is…

worst. monster. movie. ever.

March 3, 2011 Comments Off on worst. monster. movie. ever.

Wow.  Halfway through, C pipes up and says “this movie is so craptacular it’s actually good.”  He picked Rodan tonight, and none of us can recall another collection of mismatched stock footage, rubber suits, cardboard sets and questionable dubbing as stellar as this one.  It actually included the lines “Godin!  Are you dead?” and “can you identify the UFO?”  As C pointed out, if you could identify the UFO, it wouldn’t be a UFO.

Hugely entertaining, even though frankly none of us could figure out what the hell was going on.  Giant caterpillars (“Help!  There is a monster in here!”), supersonic jets, some footage of a bridge collapsing, and a mine accident.  Plus the usual helpless screaming Japanese actresses, background footage of a plane taxiing backwards (whoops), and a bunch of scientists who put humanity at risk in the name of Monster Research.  All in all a fine way to get through a bowl of popcorn, and with the running commentary I have a feeling the kids are ready–totally ready–for their immersion into the greatness that is Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

movie night–blade runner

February 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

My night to pick the movie tonight.  O has been seriously into dystopian novels lately–she’s blown through Animal Farm and 1984, and today while her brother was at a birthday party we bought her Brave New World. She’s cottoned on to the political dimension of these, and it’s been enormous fun to talk with her about her interpretations of them.  Humans, basically, will screw one another over any chance they get, and the more power they have, the more likely they are to do so.  That is, I think, a simply fantastic lesson for a 12-year old to figure out.  We’ve come a long way from the Princess phase.

Anyway, the kids let me pick the movie tonight, and I told them that one of my favorite, all-time flicks was both dystopian and science fiction–so they’d both find something to like.  Blade Runner is also an architect’s dream.  The sets are an amazing vision of Los Angeles in the (to 1982) distant future (actually 2019).  And two of the shooting locations were landmark buildings: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House served as Deckerd’s apartment, and the turn of the century iron Bradbury Building was J. M. Sebastian’s laboratory.  So, something for everyone.

What they really enjoyed, though, was when it started off and they saw the rating.  “R.”  Oh, crap, I thought.  I didn’t remember Blade Runner being all that bad, was it?

“Uh,” I said, “Mom has let you watch an ‘R’ movie before, right?”

“No,” they said.  “But when Breaking Dawn comes out, it will have to be an ‘R,’ because, you know, there’s that scene, and Mom said it would be OK and we could see it anyway.”  I have no idea what that scene is, but I could guess.  So, based on that, I assumed that K would be, absolutely, fine with them watching. Right, hon?

It was really sort of 1982 “R,” I decided.  A bit sexy, very violent, and some swearing, but nothing that phased the two of them.  I had sort of forgotten about Daryl Hannah strangling Harrison Ford with her upper thighs, for instance.  But they both grooved on it in their own way, and I wasn’t unhappy to see them through a rite of passage, unintentional though it may have been.

agenda for a snow day

February 2, 2011 Comments Off on agenda for a snow day

1.  Make pizza dough.  That’s the kneading muscle there to the left.

2.  Concoct other top secret kitchen experiment that will only be discussed if it works.  So far, so good.

3.  Oh, crap.  Run out to Wheatsfield to get milk, cream, eggs, and a mystery ingredient.  Complex recipe.

4.  But before that, snowblow the driveway.  0″ on the south side, 18+” on the north side.  The garage/wind tunnel effect is working out just the way the architect planned it.  For better or worse, it also piled up a foot of snow against our side door.  Cool.

6.  Become a fan of Subaru All Wheel Drive on Facebook.

5.  John Huston’s 1948 Treasure of the Sierra Madre. With popcorn.  Coming right up.

As a grownup, am I not supposed to enjoy snow days this much?  Because this kind of rules.

movie night

January 4, 2011 Comments Off on movie night

C’s pick.  G. I. Joe: Cobra. Kick-ass.

New Year’s Eve Movie Night

January 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

I got to pick the last movie night (John Ford’s 1937 Stagecoach, which O&C really liked), so I gave each of them free reign last night.  And I have to say, their choices were pretty eclectic: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Usually if you matched up a kid’s movie with (what is now) a vintage sci-fi flick, there would be no question which side I’d be on.  But in this case, the boy managed to pick the most craptacular sci-fi movie made in a decade that saw some really, really poor stuff (Logan’s Run, anyone?).

Cloudy was pretty good; amazing digital animation in places you wouldn’t expect it.  What happens when a 10,000 gallon sardine tank rolls over?  Well, I guess that happens.  The storyline was cute, but the writing was also pretty great.  Hugely enjoyable.

STTMP? Execrable.  I saw it when I was 12 and a huge Trek fan, and I knew it was garbage then.  Now with thirty years of hindsight, the special effects (not to mention the wardrobes) were ludicrous enough that the kids were rolling on the floor howling.  It ended up being pretty entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons.

The highlight: both kids noticed that the Enterprise is built like it has an up and down.  O says: “there’s no upside down in space,” and C replies: “no, but there’s still inside out.”  Sort that one out, astrophysicists…Meanwhile, both kids made it to midnight to welcome 2011, were asleep by 12:10, and slept all the way until 8:00.  I was up at 5:20, of course.

My turn next, probably tonight.  Godzilla movie?  Another western?  Or do I blow their minds with 2001?  Oh, Netflix Instant Queue, we do love you, yes we do…

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