In the interest of keeping Sarah’s sanity, but more importantly* getting her novel edited and submitted, I
have been volunteered to be a guest columnist. So you’ll have to make do with a change of subject and my verbosity.
As I am not a writer, nor do I have kids, I’m afraid Sarah’s usual muse doesn’t quite work with me. I have three main interests — motorbikes, dogs, and movies. No one but a fellow gear head can tolerate my obsession with motors and speed, and writing about my dog is a wee bit boring even though she is the cutest little dog** you’ve ever seen.
So you’re stuck with my love affair with movies.
And yeah, I’m the total nerd that watches the commentary tracks and the making of specials and the special effects documentaries. I own a documentary about making a movie, and I don’t even own the movie that the documentary was about.
I guess it could kinda be about the writing — it’s a combination of the spoken word with visual images and music, more of a theatre on film thing. Clever writing with stunning visual images leads to a beautiful whole — much like clever writing with fabulous editing in the book world (see the Harry Potter series, you can tell when she got famous).
Anyway, since I’ve moved closer to my sister-in-law (perhaps closer than she wanted, as we’re now at that point where we’re finishing each other’s sentences and have been referred to once or twice as “that nice young lesbian couple down the way”), I consider it my sworn duty to catch her up on all the movies she missed while raising two kids. Turn about’s fair play — there is a small mountain of books I’m meant to read sitting on my dresser waiting my attention.
So if you’ve been wondering what Sarah and I have been up to, and want to play along, I’ve assembled this list of my favorites from movies that I have recently made her watch, or am planning to make her watch. Eventually. When the kids are asleep and we can turn the subtitles on — viewer discretion is advised if you’re playing at home. Remember, I’m a total gear head here, and we have an admittedly odd sense of humor and are impervious to cussing.
Favorite Nerd Moment: ‘We Don’t Hock the Trek’ from Fanboys. Fanboys is a fun little movie if you are a complete Star Wars nerd and can quote chapter and verse from Parts 4-6, or movies 1-3, depending on if you’re going in Lucas-time or chronological real-world time. Anyone besides me know the name of Chewbacca’s home planet?
(a little strong language, here, obviously)
(Sarah: I’d like to point out that the heroes couldn’t have won without the help of a certain Trek star. Just sayin’)
Favorite Squirm Moment from Sarah: My SIL is a delight to watch movies with*** because she watches a movie with her entire body.^ To date, my favorite squirm was accompanied by a pillow-face-cover, an “Oh, NO” and a squeal of embarrassed pain for our protagonist during the most cringingly awkward dance scene on film (it’s the one in Rocknrolla between One Two and Stella).
(Sarah: This . . . I just . . . Guh)
Honorable mention: Janie screaming with laughter and running from the room when Gru gets de-pantsed in Despicable Me.
Most Quoted/Sung Movie Moment In The House: also from Despicable Me, when the minions get to Best Buy, find the karaoke machine, and sing the wrong words to Copacabana.
Honorable Mention: Julie Andrews from the same movie, talking about her character — “She’s awful! She’s just awful!”
Favorite Sex Scene: okay it’s not actually a sex scene, but it might as well be. It’s the fight scene in The Losers between Clay and Aisha in the beginning of the movie. What better visual metaphor than actually setting the room on fire?
A very close Runner Up (Sarah: pun intended): One Two and Stella in Rocknrolla.^^
Favorite “Oh my god this is an animated movie and I’m having an emotional reaction to it” Scene: It’s in How to Tame Your Dragon. I defy you not to cry at the ending. I was in floods in the movie theatre. Seriously. It’s one of my all time favorite movies, period. It’s got the best acting in an animated movie I’ve ever seen, and Craig Ferguson as Gobber — how can you go wrong?
Favorite Character Ever Put to Film: Ooooo, I don’t think I can answer that. I love the humor of Cap’n Jack Sparrow, the honor-bound duty of Maximus, sweet bumbling Po, the father-son dynamic between Stoick and Hiccup, the horrible cringe-worthiness of Kirk Lazarus, Indiana Jones, the Cowardly Lion, the sheriff in Blazing Saddles, the ensemble of Full Monty… Sorry, can’t pinpoint it. So my final answer is Helena the Hussy of Horror — she was created by one of my best friends, I worked most of her early episodes, and what can I say, I’m a homer.
Favorite Scene: Sean Bean reading poetry in Equilibrium. Breathtaking. Gives me goose bumps just explaining it.^^^ It’s only a slightly above average movie, as movies go, but what a scene when taken in context of the whole.
Favorite Comic Book Movie: Sorry, Sarah, it doesn’t involve the Avengers, or Jeremy Renner’s arms (Sarah: Philistine). It’s The Losers, followed quickly by Captain America and Rocknrolla. And RED.+ And 300. And Iron Man. And Sin City. Then the Avengers. Aw crap, any comic book movie, okay?
Favorite Science Fiction Movie: We’ll mention Galaxy Quest in another category so the answer is Sunshine. You’ve probably never heard of it, and probably won’t ever see it but if you get the chance, do. It’s a mind-blowing film. Caveat: I haven’t seen Moon yet, and I do love me some Sam Rockwell.
Favorite Star Trek Movie of All Time: Galaxy Quest. (Think about it.)
Favorite Argument: The dude argument in Baseketball, which was featured here previously. I can’t think of any funny arguments on film outside of The Ref with Kevin Spacey – tell me some in the comments! (Sarah: What she said)
Favorite Made Sarah Laugh Out Loud So Hard We Almost Woke Up the Kids Moment: Hot Fuzz, it’s the “short cut” scene over the fences where the second-rate cop crashed through the fence. Or maybe it was anything to do with the swan, because Sarah grew up with geese. Actually there were several in Hot Fuzz — “look at his hoorse” — and I stand triumphant in this particular struggle. For the record, getting her to see Hot Fuzz involved begging and coercion, I had to watch four episodes of Leverage (Sarah: Hey, now you’re getting personal) to get her to agree — finally — to see it (and that was after another friend made fun of her for not seeing it yet).++
Favorite “Holy cow can this chase scene ever end?” Moment: sorry, it’s Rocknrolla again. There’s a fabulous slow motion chase on foot between two huge men well over six feet tall jogging on a rail road track, which then begins again when the second Russian shows up. Yes, it goes on forever – but that’s part of the humor.
Honorable Mention: the chase in the Bourne Redundancy (Sarah: Diss not the Renner, woman) even if it is on two wheels. Well, any chase scene in the Bourne series, really — they’re spectacular but they tend to drag.
Favorite Movie of All Time in Watson’s Book: no, it’s not a comic book movie or even science fiction, it’s The Insider with Russell Crowe and Al Pacino. Close seconds are Trainspotting, How to Tame Your Dragon, Sunshine, Gladiator, and (oh hell) just about anything with Russell Crowe in it.
There. I admitted it in public. The man can make me weep (Cinderella Man, Gladiator, LA Confidential, A Beautiful Mind), laugh (Sum of Us), be terrified (eek – Hando in Romper Stomper, LA Confidential; terrified for him in Heaven’s Burning), make you warm and fuzzy (Mystery Alaska, Silver Brumby, Sum of Us) and held me on the edge of my seat holding my breath for two and a half hours (The Insider).
My Favorite Movie You’ll Never See: Dear Frankie. Awesome movie about a mother who does the best she can to protect her son from the truth — which means she makes the choice to lie horribly to him every day. Brilliant subtle slow movie about how far you’d go to protect your kid.
Runner up: The Price of Milk, a little New Zealand gem about blanket thieves and cattle (I am SO not making that up).
Favorite Villain: Who doesn’t love a good villain? Most modern villains are too watered down for public consumption to be good – writers, take note. For modern non-animated movies, the nod goes to Max from The Losers. He’s deliciously slimy and I love to hate him. As for older animated movies, my vote goes for the Queen in Snow White and Cruella de Ville. And for the record, I was in college and had a nightmare about the Wicked Witch of the West’s flying monkeys — modern villains are just not scary.+++
Movie You’d Be Shocked to Know I Haven’t Seen Yet: The Hurt Locker. Still can’t believe I haven’t seen it. (Sarah: This may be the only Jeremy Renner film I haven’t seen . . . Guess I know what we’re doing this weekend)
Movie I’m Dying to See Next: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. It’s a fairy tale. And it’s steampunk. I’m so in. And so’s Sarah – it features Jeremy Renner’s arms. (Sarah: Watch it—I’ll start rhapsodizing over your brother’s arms, and you know that weirds you out)
Honorable Mention: Ted, but I think I’m going to buy that one on the sale rack at Best Buy in about six months.
So there they are. Make up a category and let us know your favorites, or add your own to the list.
This is Watson signing off, just your average movie-loving gear head SIL that Sarah just can’t take anywhere . . .
(But I do, anyway—Thanks, Watson)
*No, my priorities are correct. This book is driving her nuttier than squirrel poo. (Sarah: You ain’t seen nothing yet, lady)
**Sarah: Little? She weighs a buck twenty and Sunny and walk right under her chin without ducking.
***If you discount her propensity to interrupt important dialogue by asking “tell me he’s not going to“ or “oh no tell me this works out in the end” at least ten times each movie. Seriously, the girl can’t stand not knowing what happens. (Sarah: I don’t do this in the theater. And it’s not my fault Hot Fuzz is so flippin’ wrong—awesome, but wrong)
^I was a little worried about my right arm when we went to see the latest Bourne. I do have a suspicious bruise on my forearm that I can’t explain… (Sarah: Lies. Lies and Slander. It was a Janie hug, and she knows it)
^^ Probably because of the back story. The sex scene was pages long and should have gone on for minutes according to Guy Riche’s original script (a long sex scene is 60 seconds or less, believe it or not). On the day of the shooting, Gerard Butler comes down with a terrifying throat infection that eventually puts him out for a week of filming (they had to rewrite the end of the film to use a stand-in; you can actually hear the difference in his voice in a few scenes). Thandie Newton is a smart cookie and said “ew, I’m not kissing that.” So they reworked the sex scene where neither of them are actually in bed together. Hysterical. And possibly a mean trick to play on the SIL — mention a sex scene with Gerard Butler and every girl’s heart gets racing (I might have coerced her into seeing the movie because of it) (Sarah: No, it was pretty much Tom Hardy). Instead it’s laugh out loud funny — and fully clothed. Seriously, the only action poor Gerard gets is being groped by Tom Hardy in my second favorite awkward dance scene, still in the same movie but during the credits (Sarah: Laughed so hard I cried).
^^^It should be noted that I could listen to Sean Bean reading the shipping report and probably have the same reaction, but I swear, it’s a poignant scene.
+Sarah’s: I’d like to remind someone that it took me two months to get to you watch this movie.
++Sarah: In my defense, I thought it was like Reno-911, which is right up there with Girls Gone Wild in my Death First list—if she’d started out telling me that Simon Pegg and Martin Freeman were in it . . .
+++ Speaking of: Rent the full version of The Wizard of Oz and watch the first 30 minutes. If you don’t start shouting “stranger danger! stranger danger!” at Dorothy and get the heaving squickies when the traveling professor invites her into his wagon, you need to read more of the newspaper and stop parking next to vans. Seriously.