Paulelmo's Blog

Getting over It (Part 4)

Today was Independence Day, and, being a Tuesday, we had the day off to relax at the house and have family over for food. Also, being that I’m five days and a full and busy work week removed from my illness, I’m ready to completely flip the script from that to what came after, which means that these thoughts need to wrap up.

I’m just going to write a sentence or two about each of the mentioned movies, and then will leave off to see what comes next.

I’m going to start with Fences, because I think it made the biggest impression on me. I love great American playwrights, and here’s a play that reminds us that August Wilson can’t be considered lesser than our greatest. Kudos to Denzel for getting this to the screen, his directing, and his acting, which might only be bested in any of these films by co-star, Viola Davis–who won the best supporting actress–and the star of the next film.

Every time I watch a Jim Jarmusch film (Coffee and Cigarettes, Dead Man, Ghost Dog (The Legend of the Samurai), I wonder why I don’t do that more often. With this one, Paterson, I wondered why I didn’t just watch it again right then. (I didn’t, but I’ll watch it again soon. As big and strong as Ms. Davis’s and Mr. Washington’s performances are, Adam Driver’s portrayal in the title role–he’s the man, not the city–is small and strong, and I have to consider it my favorite performance of the ten movies I’ve mentioned.

I think Arrival might turn out to be the film that sticks with me the longest, even though I don’t believe in the central premise that it’s based on–no spoilers here. It was just a profound film for me, and even though I don’t agree with the possibility of that premise, I love living in a world with people who do. You’ve got Jeremy Renner, Forrest Whitaker, and Amy Adams, who is bound to get herself in enough good movies until I like her.

Manchester by the Sea was a good movie, and Casey Affleck was as good at that thing that he usually does as he usually is, but I was just expecting a little more from this movie.

Sing Street marries the hard streets of Dublin and young somewhat hardscrabble musicians, and that’s usually a pretty good recipe for success. This was written and directed by John Carney, the same guy who wrote and directed Once and Begin Again, and if you liked those you’ll like this.

I really liked Nocturnal Animals. How can you go wrong with Michael  Shannon and Jake Gyllenhaal? Then, there’s ol’ Amy Adams again, begging me to like her. This film gave me the hard and gritty edge of the seat drama and then the softened and less tragic ending, which satisfied me without leaving me unsettled.

I liked Hidden Figures as much I knew I was going to like it. You know what I mean: you know the basic story, but you really don’t know the story. You learn the story and wonder why you hadn’t done so before. All of the actors do a fine job with the roles they’re given, but there aren’t any Viola Davis or Adam Driver level portrayals here.

I liked Moonlight, but I as just expecting something different. It was a fine, well-made and well-acted film, but I would have liked it better if it would have been more about what I was expecting. I also think I’ll like and appreciate it more with a couple more viewings.

In Hell or High Water, Jeff Bridges plays a Texas sheriff chasing bank robbing brothers, who have been screwed by the same banks earlier. May as well be spinning about you musicians in Dublin; nope, nothing wrong here.

The Sunset Limited is an adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy play. A two-man deal, Tommy Lee Jones–possibly my favorite working actor–portrays a suicidal atheist bibliophile university professor, and Morgan Freeman–can’t go wrong with that guy–portrays a prison and Bible reformed murderer, who has but one book, the aforementioned. For the better part of an hour and a half, the two men discuss the merits of their experiences and perspectives. If you care for such philosophical banter, you can imagine how this effort succeeds.

I think An Unfinished Life was the only one of these films that I had seen previously, and it was definitely worthy of another viewing, even from a guy who doesn’t re-watch many movies. Redford and Morgan Freeman lead a strong cast, and the film’s message is something that a lot of us can use.

So, that’s how I spent my sick time. I watched those ten movies, plus about ten episodes each of West Wing and SVU and five or so of The Blacklist.

And then I woke up at four o’clock on the nose on Thursday morning, and it was over. I couldn’t be sure then of course, but the next 24 hours showed me that I was indeed back to health, and that’s how we’ve been rocking since. I hope you are as well.

Thanks for stopping by; I’ll keep you in my prayers.

 

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