The Best Movie I Hadn’t Seen Until Now

I’ll revive the toasters for this. If I had seen this 18 years ago, I’d have that movie poster. Next up: Before Sunset. And then I can go see Before Midnight.



Airplane is 88 minutes of sheer joy. It never gets old for me. Just watched it via Amazon Prime. Nice change of pace from having watched a meth addict get crushed by an ATM on Breaking Bad the other night (Season Two…it’s really hard to watch back-to-back-to-back episodes…it will take me awhile to get through it…which is fine).

I really don’t miss cable/satellite. I’d be watching MSNBC all the time and more depressed by politics and the state-of-the-world than I already am…

That is all. Just some inconsequential thoughts that would normally just be a Facebook post. Shockingly, there are those who don’t have a Facebook account and have no idea the sheer amount of useless stuff I share on there that doesn’t wind up here.

Anyway, I should get up off the couch…

But, first, back to my original point…if you’re, say under 30, and you’ve only heard that Airplane! is hilarious but have never seen it, give it a chance. I’m not apt to watch a supposedly hilarious movie that was made before I was born. But trust me on this. It’s ok if you don’t know who Ethel Merman or Barbara Billingsley are. Well, there are probably a hundred jokes that depend on some pop-culture awareness. But then there are two-hundred more sight-gags and puns and wordplay jokes that will always be funny.

It helps if you are somewhat familiar with the Bee Gees. (The directors sped it up 10% in case it sounds off from the original).

No…that’s not the funniest scene. I love watching Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty dance, but…there’s more gut-busting stuff…

Hmmm…someone uploaded five minutes of material. A compilation…

No…lots of great stuff there, but…what’s my favorite scene? Too many. Here’s one more:

Favorite Movie?

Saw Groundhog Day at the Carolina Theatre in Durham today. It’s part of the Dumbstruck series. The thing, it’s not a dumb movie at all, save for a couple of, well, dumb scenes director Harold Ramis could’ve left out. I loved it back in the nineties, but forgot just how much. If I ever owned it, someone borrowed it a long time ago and never returned it. It’s far from just being a silly comedy about a guy who relives the same day over and over again. It’s a sweet, romantic, and very funny, film about a guy who, through painstaking trial-and-error, ultimately figures out how to make the most out of his life…and get the girl (and the girl is the insanely wonderful Andie Macdowell).

Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron 1941-2012

Meg Ryan dining roomContrary to the belief of most who know me, I don’t like chick flicks. I don’t even like most romantic comedies. When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless In Seattle set the bar too high. There hasn’t been anything as brilliant since. And this was 20 years ago.

One of my favorite scenes from any movie (just about every scene from When Harry Met Sally is a favorite scene):

And then here’s one from Sleepless:


True love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT–a mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe.

The Terminal (repeat viewing)

A weighty reminder of the passage of time is finding that I need not try to comment on a movie I watched on DVD tonight since I’ve got archival commentary from six-and-a-half-years ago. The pre-Wordpress/originally-LiveJournal entry from June 19, 2004 offered up my thoughts on Steven Spielberg-helmed, Tom Hanks-starring The Terminal.

So The Terminal gets an 8 from me. Critics were mixed; they derided the slow pace; they said that something just “didn’t work”. I don’t really know what they’re talking about. I think expectations just get raised too high when Spielberg directs and Hanks stars. Had this been some low-budget indie with an unknown director and star, it would be getting rave reviews. Basically, for starters, any film with the brilliant acting of Tom Hanks, direction of Steven Spielberg, cinematography of Janusz Kaminski, and music of John Williams deserves to be seen and will be a masterful piece of filmmaking. And perhaps that’s all I cared about, and those factors along warrant a high rating for the film. But I liked the story. I liked the characters. So…an 8.

Also, there was a brilliant device used for the main titles, showed at the end, that I was very impressed with. Unlike most people, I must stay in my seat for the closing credits of a movie. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when everyone clears the theater as soon as the credits begin to role. I guess it is a huge pet peeve of mine that most people go to the movies for FUN, whereas I prefer to go for some cerebral enrichment. For them, the fun is over once the credits role. For me, the cerebral experience is incomplete without the credits…

Upon repeat viewing, my admiration of the film still comes from the score, the cinematography, the acting, and the end credits, more than the story, which on some levels, really doesn’t work.

Anyway, this is a rather random first post of 2011. I didn’t write anything reflective about 2010. There wouldn’t be anything profound to say. Back to the theme of time’s passage, I think a summary of just about ever year would be similar for me.

I just spent a Saturday night watching a movie from my couch. My pets were lying beside me. It is actually an achievement that I let myself commit to watching an entire movie by myself from start to finish without interruption. I tend to get anxious and depressed that I am home and alone on Saturday night, and I don’t allow myself to get immersed in anything that I might actually enjoy for a couple of hours. Seriously. I don’t know why I say this as if it should be so difficult to understand. It’s all crystal-clear to me. I think I expect that most people wouldn’t understand this.

Sigh… There is so much that I’d like to take a stab at writing about. I am way too self-conscious given the people I know who read this.

National Geographic: Inside North Korea

I give my highest recommendation to Lisa Ling’s 2006 National Geographic documentary Inside North Korea. (Okay, it’s not the best documentary ever made, so it gets 9/10).

I’ve come away from it thinking that, if we can spend one or two trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, can we topple the leadership in North Korea, too? It does strike me as a difficult endeavor. That whole needing congressional approval for war–it seems a bit difficult to do that with a nuclear country when you’d need the element of surprise. Then there’s the whole sovereign nation crap. I don’t know how this problem gets solved. It’s been 18 years since I dabbled in Model U.N.

And then after the “victory” there’s a humanitarian catastrophe fifty years in the making that will need attention–the widespread famine and total isolation from the outside world. But I’ve got to think this must happen at some point in my lifetime. I heard that some of the WikiLeaks cables described some of the plans for how North Korea could be re-integrated with South Korea.

Anyway, if you don’t know much more about North Korea than what you saw in Team America: World Police, I suggest this 50 minutes of viewing.

I’ll leave you with this quote:

I remember seeing kids fighting over a corn kernel they found in cow dung. A cow had eaten corn, and the children fought over it, and eventually washed it in the water and ate it.