Pop Culture Junkette

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4 Movies in 5 Days

I went on a bit of a moviegoing tear this weekend, and saw 4 movies.

1. On Friday, I saw The Devil Wears Prada, which I thought was great. Meryl Streep was fantastic and the lifestyle porn aspect of it was very enjoyable -- many cute outfits, shoes, bags, and houses. Also, Adrian Grenier and Simon Baker.

That being said, the central conflict of the movie was not convincing. We're supposed to think that Andy has sold her soul because she, um, gets mad when her friends are being assholes by keeping her from answering her phone, and misses her boyfriend's birthday when her boss insists that she go to an important work event. This might say a lot about my own workaholic tendencies, but I just didn't get it. If it's true that succeeding at this job would be her ticket to a job that she really wanted in journalism, why can't her friends be expected to be supportive of her? Would this movie make any kind of sense if it was about, say, a male doctor in a really demanding residency? I don't think so. Also, some of Andy's outfits in the early stages of her makeover were horrendous -- very brand conscious in a way that is not fashionable at all.

2. The Road to Guantanamo. This movie tells the story of 3 British citizens who were arrested in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo Bay for more than 2 years before being released. It is sort of a recreation of events by actors interspersed with footage of interviews of the real people. While this addresses a very worthwhile and interesting subject, I don't think it succeeded as a movie. First, a lot of the acting was horrible. Second, the story of what they were doing in Afghanistan was not convincing. They claim that they were in Pakistan for a wedding and decided to go to Afghanistan to help the refugees when the U.S. attacked. After being in Kabhul for awhile with nothing to do, they tried to arrange a ride back to Pakistan but were taken -- unknowingly -- to northern Afghanistan where they were ultimately captured with the Taliban. I just didn't find this believable, and it is disappointing that the movie did not have the conviction to argue that even if they were fighting with the Taliban, their treatment was not justified -- which I think is true.

Still, the movie does a good job of portraying the sheer idiocy of what we are doing at Guantanamo. Putting aside the fact that what we are doing there is illegal, immoral, and a huge strategic mistake, it just seems like a huge waste of time and resources. There's endless footage of US soldiers and marines forcing people to stand up, sit down, line up to be counted, run from one place to another, and be questioned by a long succession of interrogators. And for what? These are just 3 guys from Birmingham.

3. Superman Returns. I went to this with very low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Brandon Routh has his charms and Kate Bosworth was not as bad as I thought she would be. And some of the actions scenes were great -- especially the one near the beginning. But, ultimately, it dragged. I think maybe that Superman is just not that interesting as a character. He has no dark side like Batman, and no real internal conflict like Spiderman. And he seems to do an awful lot of manual labor -- like catching things that are about to fall on people or stopping things that are about to crash into people. I feel like his talents could be deployed more effectively.

4. The Lake House. I second Holt's endorsement of this movie. Yes, the time travel aspect of it made my head hurt. But Chicago looked beautiful, and the characters were appealing. I really liked, and sort of want, Sandra Bullock's short haircut.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Laura Holt said...

I'll return the favor and second Bailey's endorsement of the Devil Wears Prada. The lifestyle porn was to die for. And like Bailey, I too was puzzled by what sort of reaction we were supposed to have to Andy's obnoxious friends. I'm sure it says something about me, but when they were tossing around her phone when her boss was on the line I definitely identified with her panic and would have probably burst into tears and sworn to hate them forever like a two-year-old. It's a one-year position and yes, she has to make some sacrifices to get the kind of job she wants, but deal! Those are the things you have to do to succeed in a highly competitive field. You can't tell me that her friend the investment banker isn't working long hours and doesn't cancel on his friends at the last minute.

7/06/2006 8:58 AM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I haven't seen any of these movies, but I wanted to point out that I think Andy's label-conscious but ugly outfits at the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada were deliberately put together in that way. I read an interview from someone on the film (maybe Hathaway, but I'm not sure) that said they wanted to show how Andy didn't really have her own style in the beginning and was just a label whore. So there you go.

7/06/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Diane Chambers said...

Actually, I think it was Robin Givhan's discussion with the costume designer for the film that Bailey posted earlier:
"Slowly, Andy's clothes start to reflect her changing relationship to fashion and the way she defines herself. She begins dressing from the magazine's fashion closet, Field says. So she looks as though every item on her back has been plucked from a list of "must-haves." . . . Andy begins dressing like a lot of folks who are suddenly intrigued by fashion. They wear labels and head-to-toe outfits because there is safety in a well-known brand. If it says Chanel, it must be fashionable, right?

Eventually, though, Andy just starts to look good, not like a billboard. Style is born out of confidence. And by the end, Andy has found herself, settling in somewhere between a show pony and someone who looks as though she slept in a barn. Sometimes, a little fashion hazing can be a beautiful thing."

7/06/2006 10:28 AM  

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