Don’t Panic

Don't PanicEvery now and then (perhaps to remind myself why I rarely pay $10 for a movie), I spend $10 and go see a movie. So last night I saw my first film in the theater in almost 7 months – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I don’t think my expectations were unreasonably high, and I had already read a few lackluster reviews, but I was still more than a little bit disappointed by the film. Perhaps if I hadn’t reread the book yesterday, I would have enjoyed the movie more (for one thing, I wouldn’t have noticed just how much the movie’s plot strayed from the book’s). But really – it just wasn’t that good.

The crappy Hollywood-ized romance between Arthur and Trillian was perhaps the worst part.

It did, however, have its moments. I thoroughly enjoyed the dolphin song in the opening scene. It’s actually pretty common for people who move to a different team at Microsoft to send out mail with the subject line “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish”; I expect that I will never be able to read such emails again without breaking out into song. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find an mp3 of the song anywhere – anyone have any leads on this? ;)

This promises to be a banner week for me, because not only did I already see a movie in the theater on Saturday, but I’ll be seeing another one this Friday! (I have even lower expectations for that one, but it’s one of those films you are required to see, and work is taking us to see it anyway…)

Wider Baby Smiling You Just Made a Million

Better Off DeadIf I do start posting more about film (no guarantee that I will, but I thought I’d warn you just in case), you may start to get the feeling that I’m a harsh critic. And I think this is pretty accurate. If I spend two hours of my life sitting on a couch watching something on a screen, it had better be worth my time. But at the same time, I generally don’t like movies that aren’t comedies, because I watch movies to be entertained, not saddened or freaked out or have my mind blown (there are exceptions here, but I really have to be in the mood if I’m going to watch something heavy).

I don’t like most of the movies that I see, and there is only one person I trust to recommend films for me: my mother. I trust her, because, like me, she dislikes actresses like Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and cheesy epic blockbusters like Titanic and The English Patient (we wholeheartedly agree with Elaine on this one). And she enjoys John Cusack, Bend it Like Beckham, Young Frankenstein, and Clueless just as much as I do.

I’m not saying that I have impeccable taste (for that, of course, is a matter of opinion), only that I am somewhat particular. :) So just be warned, in case I start criticizing your favorite film at some point (and yes, I really truly hated Garden State). Just so you can get some idea of what I actually do like (and so that I can prove that I don’t hate everything), here are a few of my faves, in no particular order:

And now perhaps you think I’m not necessarily harsh, just arbitrary…

I’ve Got Canned Heat in My Heels Tonight, Baby

When I first saw Napoleon Dynamite, I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but the movie was more painful to watch than enjoyable — I think I just felt too embarrassed for Napoleon, Pedro, and Deb, who were so painfully awkward and strange. Of course, there were a few saving graces: “Girls like guys who have skills…”, Kip and LaFawnduh, “Pedro offers you his protection.”

But I have enjoyed the movie a lot more in retrospect than I did when I actually saw it. It started because of my brother, who does an amazing Napoleon impression. I can’t get enough of hearing him say, “A freakin’ 12-gauge, what do you think?!”, or “It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic.”

Hearing him recite these lines in his perfect angsty Napoleon voice makes me feel like the movie was actually much funnier than I thought it was the first time. And now I’m totally amused by this Napoleon Dynamite soundboard that Jason found; perhaps in large part because it reminds me of my crazy brother.

And this week, the state of Idaho is also recognizing the film and its writers for its positive impact on the state and the ways that it portrays local rural culture.