Watched, Read, Reviewed: May 2021

Happy June! Here’s a quick roundup of all I watched in May. I managed to do quite a few reviews in May as well. I’ll review the rest below…

The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Kind Hearts And Coronets, Hud, Abominable, Seconds, Happiest Season, Army Of The Dead, The Mitchells Vs. The Machines, Underwater, Unhinged, Rent-A-Pal, Butt Boy, The Woman In The Window, Good Boys, The Lighthouse, The Good Liar, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, The Witches, Dick Johnson Is Dead, Cats, The Crow, Big Daddy, The Princess And The Frog, Mars Attacks!, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, My Name Is Earl, The Crown, Grey’s Anatomy, The Flight Attendant, Pick Of The Litter, Friends: The Reunion, Eurovision 2021

I also re-posted my review I did of Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead (far better than Army Of The Dead!).

MOVIES WATCHED IN MAY (ranked best to worst):

The Invisible Man (2020) – I’ve linked my full review. I thought this was a surprisingly good & effective horror thriller. – 7.5/10

The Hunt (2020) – Reviewed this in full as well. It really went up in my estimation after thinking it over for a few days. I liked its idea & message. I appreciated its effort to be a smart satire on American politics. – 7.5/10

Hud – Ended up writing too much for this so posted a separate full review this week. I love young Paul Newman so watched this not knowing he’d break my heart as he plays an absolute bastard. He’s fantastic, though, as are all the performances and I highly recommend it for the brilliant acting. I especially loved the characters played by Patricia Neal & Brandon deWilde and Melvyn Douglas was great as Hud’s father (he won an Oscar along with Neal). – 7.5/10

Kind Hearts And Coronets – This was fun! I think it’s my first classic Ealing Studios film & I’d like to watch more now. And Alec Guinness was a delight in this! I reviewed this yesterday so here’s the the IMDb synopsis for anyone who might not know it: A distant poor relative of the Duke D’Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.” – 7.5/10

Abominable – Reviewed this in full too. I’m not normally a fan of DreamWorks but I liked this one a lot. It may be my favorite of their animated films now. – 7.5/10

Seconds – Been meaning to watch this for years as it sounded like it could be a creepy movie with a Twilight Zone type of story, which is exactly the sort of thing I love. And it was that kind of thing! Sort of. I enjoyed it. Reviewed it yesterday as well so here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re curious: “An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity – one that comes with its own price.” – 7/10

Happiest Season – Also reviewed this & I really enjoyed it despite not being a big rom-com girl. The characters really made this film. The two leads were good, especially Kristen Stewart, and their friends & family were lots of fun. Liked the rom as well as the com! – 7/10

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines – Did a brief review of this. A great animated film aimed at all ages. I love it when they make a “family film” for everyone. Strong characters & good humor. And even a John Carpenter reference from the movie-loving teenager! – 7/10

Army Of The Dead – Reviewed this too. I was really looking forward to this as I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead (despite Romero’s film being an all-time favorite of mine plus I normally hate remakes, reboots, etc). I admit to hating most of his other movies, though, other than Watchmen. This was fine. Fun but could have been much better. – 7/10

Underwater – Kristen Stewart was also really good in this one although “action star” is an unusual role for her. Took a while to get to the cool stuff but that was fun & the ending was great. – 6.5/10

Unhinged – This is one of those movies that I know isn’t a very good film but I liked it in that ’90s-style thriller kind of way. I enjoyed the ride! – 6.5/10

Rent-A-Pal – This was a weird one, so I reviewed it in full as I do appreciate a weird film. It was better than I was expecting! A creepy character study of a lonely man’s descent into madness. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you’re curious: “1990: David, 40, looks after his dementia mom. He uses a video dating service to no avail. He buys a “Rent-A-Pal” video tape and things change.” – 6.5/10

Butt Boy – Speaking of weird films, I’d say you can’t get much weirder than this one! I reviewed this in full as well. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis: “Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After going to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect in his investigation of a missing kid. Fox also starts to believe that people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.” So, yes, this movie is about people disappearing up the above dude’s butt. Not sure if I’d recommend this but it’s not actually a bad film and, if you do watch it, I guarantee you won’t forget it. – 6.5/10

Good Boys – This was fine and I giggled a few times but only watch it if you like thoroughly inappropriate humor (I do). The three young boys are likeable, especially the first boy in that picture – he was sweet & hilarious, but it’s slightly uncomfortable to have them in such a filthy film. I read that when they asked the director what certain naughty things in the movie meant that he told them to go ask their parents. I think the movie just manages to get away with the crude jokes as the young boys remain innocent in the film and don’t understand a lot of what they see or hear. Such as when they find sex toys & have no idea what they are, resulting in a funny gift later in the film. Anál! (I have no idea if I used that thing above the letter A correctly). Well, it’s a fun but mostly forgettable movie. Enjoy this type of thing while you can. I’m still surprised when crude humor movies get made. Thought these kind of movies were banned now! Oh, and it’s yet another current movie that uses one of two old Grimes songs I loved before the Musk years. All her old stuff keeps ending up in teen movies now! – 6/10

The Lighthouse – Pretentious bollocks! I should act all smart & say this is brilliant and a deep exploration of, um, I dunno… Mermaid vaginas, apparently? But, really, it’s just a couple of dudes who can’t handle being alone on an island so they get drunk, masturbate a lot, piss, fart, poop, dream about screwing mermaids, and eventually become violent. Because: Men. Or something. I’ll be nice & give it a decent rating for, um, it looking nice or whatever and being all black & white because it’s for smart people and only smart people like films with no color oh my god. And I guess they gave good performances. Or… Whatever. – 6/10

The Good Liar – I watched this because I really like Ian McKellen & Helen Mirren. It’s one of those crime thrillers that unfortunately is a bit boring and drags in some places until it finally picks up at the very end & gives us an okay finale. I liked the ending enough that it made me up the overall score by half a point but I do wish the whole movie had been a lot better. Also, even though I liked it, the end is a tad too ridiculous but that’s never bothered me much with these types of films. The novel it’s based on is probably better & hopefully tied things up a bit more nicely than the movie managed to do. – 6/10

The Woman In The Window – Meh. I read the book so was looking forward to this adaptation, especially as I like Amy Adams. This was a pretty dull “thriller” and they wasted some big name stars in very small roles in this. Disappointing. – 5.5/10

Never Rarely Sometimes Always – This is an indie film (or, at least, has an indie feel – I have no idea what’s actually indie anymore) that I know is good as it has worthy performances and it feels very real. But this type of thing just isn’t for me. I gave it a chance due to good reviews, but…. Nah. No thanks. The actresses did do very well, though, and Sidney Flanigan did an especially good job as the teen with an unwanted pregnancy. Probably a far too difficult subject for some and this is a pretty heavy drama so best to avoid if you’d find the topic upsetting. And the pregnant teen is very hard to like but the whole point is that she has no support from her family (Man, I hated her dad). Far preferred these girls to those wankers on that Lighthouse island, though! – 6/10

The Witches – Okay, I actually thought this movie was bloody terrible but I liked the main kid (Jahzir Bruno) and Octavia Spencer so much that I’m giving this an extra point to make up for the -1,000 points I want to subtract from it for Anne Hathaway’s dreadful performance and those horrible witches that I found far too disturbing for a kids’ film. I know they’re meant to be hideous but bloody hell! And Hathaway was so over-the-top and what in god’s creation was that stupid accent?! Honestly, the kid and his grandmother were so likeable and the beginning had great Motown music and the whole thing was going far better than I was expecting until those stupid ass witches showed up & ruined the whole film. Kind of important to get the witches right in a movie called The Witches! Disclaimer: I probably have no right to judge this anyway as I never read the Roald Dahl book NOR watched the 1990 film with Anjelica Huston that everyone seems to far prefer.5.5/10

Cats – Yes, it’s as bad as everyone said it was. I’ve given it an extra point for having that one good song. I’m forever to going to have nightmares about that Rebel Wilson scene where she eats the dancing cockroaches. What in the actual Jellicle fuck was that?! – 3/10

Documentaries & Shorts:

Dick Johnson Is Dead – Not sure why I put this on as I’m not big on documentaries so am not really a good judge & never know how to rate them. I suppose it’s a decent enough documentary exploring life & death. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Dick Johnson Is Dead is a 2020 American documentary film directed by Kirsten Johnson. The story focuses on Johnson’s father Richard, who suffers from dementia, portraying different ways—some of them violent “accidents”—in which he could ultimately die. In each scenario, the elderly Johnson plays along with his daughter’s black humor and imaginative fantasies.” Black humor is right up my alley but didn’t really work for me in this. I don’t know why. Sorry! It was a good idea for a documentary and I appreciate the effort but the whole thing, especially the funeral, was just too odd for me. Maybe I only like black humor when it’s fictional characters. – 6/10

The Force Awakens From Its Nap – This Star Wars/ The Simpsons mash-up was really cute. Fun! And… That’s all I have to say. It’s a short. Very few shorts on Disney Plus aren’t good fun. We watch them a lot.

22 Vs. Earth – Another good short from Pixar, though not up there with their absolute best. Was good to see more of the 22 character and there were some funny moments. And I still think those kid soul thingies have adorable voices. But I still wish Soul was a bit better than it ended up being and I felt cheated by the end. More of Joe may have been better. Or more of Joe & 22 together.

Movies Rewatched In May:

The Crow – I absolutely adore this film. I was in college when this came out so I think young wannabe-goth me thought this movie was cool as hell plus I loved the soundtrack and, of course, some of the film’s iconic imagery. It also has this tragic aura forever hanging over it because of Brandon Lee’s incredibly sad death during filming which probably adds to the cult status it’s seemed to achieve. Such a sad loss – I still wish we could’ve seen so much more of what Lee & River Phoenix had to offer (showing my age again! Sorry – I’ll never be over these two celebrity deaths!). Anyway, I admit I’d not rewatched this in years after watching it to death in my early twenties. Do I still love it? Oh yes, I’m glad to say that’s not changed a bit. Do I still think it’s good? Umm. Not really. This movie admittedly isn’t the greatest. My young judgment was clouded by its cool gothic darkness! Who cares? It’s still cool as shit. I still listen to the soundtrack. I still love this film and its tragic romance. I don’t care! I love it! Oh, and I just want to add that I had to leave a bunch of movies behind when I moved to the U.K. so I gave them to my grandma. She told me later how much she liked that movie The Crow that I left behind. My grandma is 92 now. She’s also clearly cool as shit. – 9/10

Big Daddy – I like Adam Sandler too! I don’t care! So sue me! 🙂 I did a mini-review of this at the link if you’re interested. I admit he’s had some absolute duds but Big Daddy is easily a favorite of mine. I kind of want to give it half a point more but may be judged for already giving an Adam Sandler movie a higher rating than that Lighthouse wankfest above… – 7/10

The Princess And The Frog – This is a better film than Big Daddy so should really be above it but I’m too lazy to move it now. I’d move it up if Tiana had been human for longer! She spent too long as that frog. I wanted more of cool human Tiana in pretty dresses. Where did that come from?! That’s pretty girly for me. Not enough human Tiana and the slightly too annoying Prince are the only negatives, though. Oh, and that other girl (Charlotte) is annoying too but she does grow on you through the film so we’ll forgive that. I remember this coming out just before Tangled and everyone seeming to love that one but I prefer this. I prefer how they stuck with the classic “Disney Princess” animation style for this film. What can I say? I’m old school. The songs are also better overall and I love the Almost There song & great animation in that scene. I like this one. It’s not perfect but is still a really good addition to the many Disney Princess films. – 7.5/10

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Already reviewed this so don’t need to say much but, yes, I’m a Tim Burton fan. This is definitely not one of my favorites but I still like its style and wanted Burton to make a film of it when I read the book as I knew he’d be the perfect choice. – 6.5/10

Mars Attacks! – Not gonna lie, this Tim Burton film definitely isn’t a favorite either. But it’s so uniquely Burton that I can’t help but have some affection for it and its style despite thinking it’s not very good. And I miss having Jack Nicholson in movies! My kid is a Burton fan too so we’re still working through his filmography (she’s seen all the best already, though). Not sure what she thought of this one but think she liked Miss Peregrine okay. But nothing will live up to The Nightmare Before Christmas or Corpse Bride for her. – 6.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS IN MAY

TV SHOWS WATCHED:

Friends: The Reunion – I know some people have a weird hatred of Friends. Not sure why as it was a well-written show with strong characters. I really liked it. Phoebe & Joey helped a lot, though – easily the best & funniest characters. It was great seeing them all together again, even though they got James Corden to host the show. Why, God, Why?!?! Stop hiring that guy! Some of the guests were weird, too. What, you have time for Justin F*%king Bieber but not a lot of the regulars from the show?? Still, am glad they managed to get some good surprise guests from the show. And Phoebe and Joey are still the best. Matt LeBlanc made jokes that were references to the show that the other actors didn’t pick up on & it was adorable that he seems to actually be a fan of the show. Funny to think some of them didn’t really watch it while others did. And Lisa Kudrow was as funny as always and the most fun in this reunion show. Not many people could’ve pulled off the Phoebe character. Or Smelly Cat! She was so perfect in that role. They all were, really – they did a great job choosing this cast. Sad that we’ll probably never see them all together again but I’m glad they did a reunion interview show instead of some actual new episode/movie about the characters. Do NOT want that. It ended well so let’s leave these characters alone.

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 – Ahh. Eurovision. It’s a love/hate relationship. As an American who didn’t grow up with this cheesy goodness, I can’t help but be a little fascinated by it and do watch it every year. Amazing how bad the songs are for a “song contest”! You’d think we’d get a good one far more often. To be fair, there have been a few decent ones in very recent years and of course some good ones from years ago (we have Eurovision to thank for ABBA after all, who won with Waterloo in 1974). Since I moved to the U.K. and started watching it, my favorite remains Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah which won for Finland in 2006. HA! God that was cheesy/hilarious/catchy! Love it. There were a few songs that didn’t suck this year as well. But I’ve already forgotten them all as usual. The winner this year was Italy with the song Zitti e buoni by Måneskin. It’s a shame that Iceland’s Daði Freyr song this year wasn’t quite as good as what they would’ve used in 2020 as THAT song, Think About Things, is actually pretty good (it’s on my playlist!). Speaking of Iceland, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga was a thoroughly entertaining movie & completely captured the spirit of the contest. Loved that there were references to it & the song JaJa Ding Dong in the show this year. The songs are FAR too good in the film, though.

My Name Is Earl: S1 E14-25, S2 E1-4 – Still working through rewatching this & really enjoying it again. The kid loves it (especially when there’s inappropriate humor).

The Crown: S3 E7 – I’m going to get to the Diana years eventually! Still not feeling the cast in Season 3, which is why it’s taking forever to finish it. What even WAS episode 7?? Oh, it was the one focusing on Philip’s obsession with the moon landing. A bit meh but enjoyed the moon landing stuff & Philip meeting the astronauts.

Grey’s Anatomy: S17 E6-9 – They’re still talking about Covid! Ugh. I know this may be the final season and I’d be fine with no longer having the obligation to watch this but I don’t really want it to end on the Covid season. But there aren’t enough good characters anymore since they kicked the majority off the show or gave them stupid deaths to kill them off.

Pick Of The Litter: S1 – I liked this! I watched this after really liking the documentary of the same name. The documentary was better but I liked that the show gave us more of what happened with the guide dogs & those they were given to and how they had to work together with assistance at first to get used to their new dogs. What’s not to like about adorable puppies being trained to be amazing helpers and making a huge difference in someone’s life?

The Flight Attendant: S1 – This was a weird one. It has amazing Saul Bass-inspired opening credits so that got me excited for a good murder mystery when I watched the first episode. The show was a big disappointment and the main character was flaky & very unlikeable so it was hard to give a shit about what would happen to her. Some of the other characters were okay, though, such as her lawyer friend and the dead hottie she wakes up next to in a hotel. But I didn’t really enjoy this show at all and this is why I don’t watch much TV as it feels like a huge waste of time unlike a bad movie only wasting two hours at most. Oh, I also liked Rosie Perez in this but her character has a weird subplot thrown in which I realized wasn’t going to be resolved in the end, meaning there’s going to be another season. Ugh. This is why I like movies! Most of them wrap everything up at the end (Unless a sequel is already planned, of course). I can’t be bothered wasting any more time on this show.

Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.: S1 E1 – What on Earth is this shit on Disney Plus?! Well, I watched one episode and that was enough. It’s like Robot Chicken if Robot Chicken wasn’t funny.

BOOKS READ:

I fully finished reading Roadwork by Stephen King in May, which I reviewed HERE last month. Not my favorite King book. I’ve now started re-reading The Running Man, his final story in The Bachman Books collection, which I’m enjoying much more than Roadwork.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’ll maybe think about going back to posting individual movie reviews as I managed so many in May. I guess they don’t really take any more time than the long roundup posts where I try to review them all at once.

As we’re already into June, here’s what I’ve watched so far this month:

Stop Making Sense – 7.5/10
Misbehaviour – 7/10
When A Stranger Calls – 6.5/10

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Well, crap. I guess cinemas are open again. That’s nice for staff & those who feel safe to go, of course, but I won’t be going so I’ll be missing out on new releases. Really want to see A Quiet Place Part II as I really liked the first film. Also want to see that new Conjuring movie even though I don’t exactly love the Conjuring Universe (but I’ve seen them all so have to watch it eventually!). Looking forward to finally watching Raya And The Last Dragon tonight.

I usually end with a music clip from a movie I’ve watched for the first time but think I should go with something from The Crow soundtrack this time. Here’s Burn by The Cure….

Underwater (2020)

Underwater (2020)

Directed by William Eubank

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

My Opinion:

When looking this up I noticed that the writer, Brian Duffield, was also the director of Spontaneous, which I liked a lot. He also wrote Love And Monsters & The Babysitter so he has an interesting list of films. Guess he’s a name to look out for for now! I liked this one a bit less than those but it was still an enjoyable film. I always enjoy these intense deepwater thrillers.

I mentioned in my review for Happiest Season that Kristen Stewart carries this whole movie. She does & she’s good in this but, as some people don’t like her, that may turn them off wanting to watch this as she’s by far the main character and, I’m thinking, in every single scene? Were there any without her? She’s the Ellen Ripley of the deep sea instead of space (but obviously still not nearly as cool as Ripley – no one ever will be). She even runs around in tiny underwear just like Ripley (not sure if that is necessary but I suppose I’d run around in tiny underwear if I had a sexy young body too). This seems a weird role for her after doing so many roles in things such as Personal Shopper. I prefer her in those sort of roles and don’t see her as an action star but she did really well here.


See? Tiny underwear!

I wanted to like this movie a bit more as it’s my type of thing. It’s one of those where I’m not sure why I didn’t like it a bit more. I felt something was missing but can’t for the life of me figure out what. It has good action, pretty good characters (although they all could have used much more development, including Stewart’s), and a cool reason for the earthquake that destroys their underwater facility. I’m staying spoiler-free here as the plot synopsis says nothing about that so I don’t know if it was marketed as a slightly different thing? But it ended up being the type of movie I was hoping for. Hmm. Yeah, all of those things were good. I don’t know – I think it was mainly because we didn’t get to know these characters at all. There are things hinted at, such as with Vincent Cassel’s having a daughter & Stewart having had a boyfriend or fiancé plus we get one couple who are likeable and you want them to survive together but you also don’t know much about them either. It’s one of those movies that dives (ha! dives! because it’s underwater…) straight into the action with no setup of any characters first, which always throws me a bit. And even though the action starts immediately, the movie still takes too long to get to the cool good stuff.

Well, I liked this one just fine. I want to give it a slightly higher rating. I suppose it’s also hurt by the fact that we’ve seen so many films like this & there are better examples of this sort of thing. But Stewart is really good as the movie’s big action hero plus I liked the ending a lot and I’m always picky about movie endings. There’s a great final scene with Stewart. If you’re a big fan of hers, I’d definitely recommend this as I think you’d really enjoy it.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Happiest Season (2020) Review

Happiest Season (2020)

Directed by & Story by Clea DuVall

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Mary Holland,Victor Garber, Mary Steenburgen

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a woman who struggles to come out to her conservative parents while she and her girlfriend visit them during Christmas.

My Opinion:

First of all, can I just say that I hate watching Christmas movies during any month other than December?? Seems pointless. At least the U.K. did get this before Christmas (I think??) – I just didn’t have that streaming service at the time. So, I suppose it lost a tiny bit of that special “Christmas feeling” by watching this in May but it’s also not an overly Christmassy film anyway despite being set in that time period. So watch it now if you want! It’s still enjoyable. It looked like it could be decent so I didn’t want to wait until December.

I liked this one. I’m not one of these Kristen Stewart haters but I’m also not of the generation who seem to absolutely love her for some reason. I don’t have much of an opinion on her one way or another but she was good in this (and very good in the film Underwater that I watched the other day & will try to review this week – she carried that whole movie). I liked her relationship with Mackenzie Davis in this and wanted them to live happily ever after & all that but I didn’t really feel they had much chemistry. Stewart’s character was more likeable & sympathetic and I kept thinking she might be better off with Aubrey Plaza. Well, they were still fine as a couple but a lot of the other characters helped to make this a really enjoyable movie. It was a bit slow to start but picked up when the family of the Mackenzie Davis character showed up as well as Dan Levy, as Kristen Stewart’s friend.

Victor Garber & especially Mary Steenburgen were great as the parents of Mackenzie Davis, whose house the couple stay at for several days over Christmas. Steenburgen was hilarious as the type of mother who wants her family to be perfect and is always making snide bitchy comments. Her treatment of the, I think middle?, of the three sisters was especially funny – that poor girl is always pushed aside and never lives up to expectations like the other two sisters do. Besides Stewart, my favorite characters were the middle sister (played by Mary Holland), Steenburgen as the pushy mother, and Dan Levy as Stewart’s friend. Don’t think I’ve seen Levy in anything before (I’ve not seen Schitt’s Creek). He was funny & I was glad he ended up in the movie a bit more by the end. We also had some fun sibling rivalry between Davis and her “bitchy” sister Alison Brie plus Aubrey Plaza, as I mentioned earlier, who plays a family friend & former secret girlfriend of Davis. I find Aubrey Plaza hit or miss but this was a good character for her.

I especially enjoyed this movie because it was “pleasant”. That sounds like a horrible compliment but I do mean it in a good way as there have been FAR too many dreary & depressing drama movies during this pandemic. I think we could all use a break from that! Sometimes you just want a lightweight rom-com with good characters & a fun sense of humor. The characters are what really make this film & it’s great that they had so many good ones. And I want to read the book the middle sister is writing. Her painting was pretty good too. Stop being mean to Jane!

My Rating: 7/10

Into The Wild (2007) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Melissa of Snap Crackle Watch!. Thanks for the review, Melissa! 🙂 Now let’s see what she thought of Into The Wild, IMDB rank 161 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

Into the Wild (2007)

Directed by Sean Penn

Written by Sean Penn

Into the Wild (2007), written and directed by Sean Penn, adapted from the book by the same name by Jon Krakauer is a perspective into the life of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). The young man who went into the wilderness of Alaska in search of himself and to shed his city life and roots.

Many people who live privileged lives, ones that are untouched by grief, poverty, never know the reality of struggling day by day. I believe that what McCandless sought was that feeling and that experience of the unknown. When a young person grows up stressed and under pressure by daily life, they don’t know how they will make it another day. All they know is that they have to and one day there may be a better day for them. But growing up he never really had to face any of those moments.

It was only till he got older that he would see that his family was nothing near perfect and that the challenges he put on himself would prove to be a dangerous route. This is one of those stories that touches the viewer to the bone, it’s emotional, exciting and makes you wonder what kind of person what put themselves through this journey.

Abandoning a trust fund, his car, and any material possessions other than those he could carry on his back, McCandless sets out on a passage to reach the Stampede Trail in Alaska. He doesn’t contact his parents, Walt (William Hurt) and Billie MCandless (Marcia Gay Harden), nor does he even contact his sister Carine (Jena Malone) who he was close with growing up. We only see his family in flashbacks, as the movie hints at his past, we see that his parents did not live that idyllic life that maybe he thought existed, but instead had a lot of deep secrets that the family kept hidden.

Throughout his journey, McCandless meets various people on the road. They teach him lessons about life and about forging relationships. Through them he begins to see that there are so many different varied people out there in the world. With traveling hippies Jan (Catherine Keener) and Rainey (Brian H. Dierker) he learns about marriage and what it takes to keep that spirit alive. He works with Wayne (Vince Vaughn) for a while, who he observes as a friendly farmer who gives him a chance to work and earn some money.

Later on he meets Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook) the two enter into an endearing relationship, he teaches him how to do leatherwork and ends up giving him his old camping supplies. It was as if the older man could see himself maybe in McCandless or maybe he enjoyed hearing his idealistic visions about his upcoming adventure. Regardless, he touched everyone he met as much as he appreciated them.

Once McCandless enters into the wilderness, he finds an old school bus that he sets up camp in, it becomes his home in the end. We see his adventures take off, running through the woods and streams, and even killing a moose. It’s as if he envisioned himself as a romanticized version of Jack London himself, getting into adventures and journaling them as an idealistic writer. Everything changes for him in Alaska and his life is turned upside down. The choices he made carry them with him till the end and we see them play out in front of us.

Penn captures the essence of adventure and defeat in this film. It is obvious that he put his heart and soul into the film, as it took two years to make. The soundtrack by Eddie Veder goes perfectly with the sentiments of the film and makes you feel that foreboding loneliness with each scene.

Hirsch was amazing and deserved every accolade for his portrayal of McCandless. This definitely solidified him as a great actor; he carried the entire movie on his back.

I absolutely loved this movie, I enjoy movies that make me think about life and allow me to be introspective. McCandless isn’t shown as a martyr, which I think is important, instead he was simply a young man who wanted to have his own adventures and make something of his life on his own terms, nothing more than that. Overall great film, it is one I could re-watch and probably still garner some nugget of wisdom from each time.

}}Melissa

Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult are Tackling George Orwell’s 1984

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Kind of old news now but I just had to post this so I could say: “What? Are you kidding me?? F&@k off!”.

Now that that’s out of the way, the following and a bit more can be read at this link: Screencrave

[Kristen Stewart] has signed up for a role in a remake of George Orwell’s 1984 that will gear the story towards young romance, and is seemingly called Equals. She’ll be costarring with Nicholas Hoult, recently of Jack the Giant Slayer and Warm Bodies, who is also no stranger to the problems of being young and in love. The film is to be directed by Drake Doremus, best known for Like Crazy.

Whatever.

But in looking for a picture to use in this post (I didn’t want to use Kristen Stewart), I came across this interesting Guardian article where they did a survey asking people if they’ve lied about reading books they never actually read. 1984 is number one. See the top 10 books people claim to read but haven’t here: The Guardian

Really? It’s now many years since I’ve read it but I loved 1984! Also The Catcher In The Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird & Lord Of The Rings. Okay – I fully admit that I’ve not read the rest in the top ten. 🙂