December 13, 2008

Force Althouse to go to the movies.

You know I said the other day that "I don't enjoy going to the movies these days -- for about 6 reasons." Pushed about the reasons, I enumerated not just 6, but 8.

But I'm going to give you a chance to force me to go to the movies. Apply whatever standard you want -- what you think I'd like, what would lead to the best blog post, what would teach me a lesson I need to learn, what would punish me for my sins.... The choices on the poll are just the movies that are currently playing at Sundance, the Madison theater with the best aesthetic appeal -- notably: rectangular screens.

I'm assigning Althouse to see:
"Slumdog Millionaire"
"Milk"
"Let the Right One In"
"Australia"
"Synecdoche, New York"
"Rachel Getting Married"
pollcode.com free polls
UPDATE: "Slumdog Millionaire" won the poll, and accordingly, I saw "Slumdog Millionaire." I didn't know what this movie was about -- not the slightest thing -- so I was a little worried when it opened with a torture scene. I certainly didn't want to watch a man being tortured -- or even an actor pretending to be tortured. But the torture did not last long, and it set up a delightfully plotted story about 2 very different brothers, a beautiful girl, and a sprightly tale framed by a set of questions on the Indian version of the TV show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." We got heights and depths of ecstasy and despair and the best and worst of human nature -- not to mention the slums of Bombay and the Taj Mahal. Children suffer, but never too much (or at least not too long), and they never cry or lose their fundamental feistiness. Our hero Jamal is up for everything, because he trusts destiny, and he is ready to put up with whatever it takes, from his first -- intentional -- plunge into a pool of shit.

The director is Danny Boyle, who directed "Trainspotting" -- and I seem to remember someone falling into a toilet in that movie too. Ah, yes. Here it is (NSFW):



Well, "Slumdog Millionaire" is much more uplifting. And the excrement is a much cheerier color for whatever reason... artistic license? ... turmeric? ....

UPDATE 2: I let you force me again, see "Australia" and detect 7 points of comparison to "Slumdog."

60 comments:

Palladian said...

"Apply whatever standard you want -- what you think I'd like, what would lead to the best blog post, what would teach me a lesson I need to learn, what would punish me for my sins...."

If you want to add a real punishment option, add any movie that has either "Christmas" or "Claus" (or any derivations thereof) in the title. The pain and punishment factor will also be increased because they'll surely be playing at grotty, aesthetically unappealing cineplexes in the suburbs.

rhhardin said...

I haven't gone to the movies since the 70s and don't miss it. Just a data point.

Ann Althouse said...

You can only punish me for my sins with this narrowly restricted list.

Ann Althouse said...

I used to go to all the movies that got excellent reviews -- and more. It's a habit, going to the movies. I just don't have the habit. There are a lot of habits I don't have.

Darcy said...

I picked Rachel Getting Married because blake had an interesting review of it on his blog, and I haven't seen any of them.

If I had a recommendation, it would be for something that isn't in theatres anymore - Mamma Mia. I took my son to this, and we both laughed and smiled all the way through. (He even added ABBA tunes to his iPod, but I'm not supposed to tell anyone.)

Darcy said...

Oops. Well, I did follow the rules somewhat...

Original George said...

Your readership skews older. Otherwise people would want you to see the vampire and wedding movies.

'Cadillac Records' is supposed to be a very entertaining old-fashioned music biopic, and 'Australia' has great wide-screeeeeen scenery.

Hard to justify spending the money. The Wall. St. J. reported a week or so ago that many new movies can be seen online for free in their entirety at Asian movie websites.

Ron said...

I wanted you to see Frost/Nixon to write a post on the virtues/facination with Nixon!

But I choose Slumdog Millionaire to see if you'll write a post about Regis Philbin. Live blog his show!
Write about Kelly Ripa -- if you are so inclined!

Or write about India.

Ann Althouse said...

"'Cadillac Records' is supposed to be a very entertaining old-fashioned music biopic"...

So, you're in the punishing-me-for-my-sins group?

I haven't subjected myself to a musical biopic since... oh, maybe "Coal Miner's Daughter."

Darcy said...

You mean you haven't seen "Walk the Line", Althouse?

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry. Wait. I saw that one where Gary Busey was Buddy Holly. And the other day-the-music-died thing about Richie Valens. And the one where Winona Ryder married Jerry Lee Lewis.

My view of these things is: Give me a documentary. If there's film of say, Ray Charles or Johnny Cash singing, show me them, not some actor impersonating them -- with extra scenes with his wife yelling at him or whatever.

Oh. I saw "What's Love Got to Do With It."

Blah. I've seen enough biopics with singing.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't even have the slightest idea what "Slumdog Millionaire" is about.

Don't tell me.

Paddy O. said...

Slumdog Millionaire.

Put you in a totally different world for a little while, one that you can't really relate to some aspect of your experiences.

Escapist without being shallow.

Movies are terrible ways of paying for sins, by the way. Mostly because in the paying there are almost always more sins added in the watching.

Shoveling snow is much better for sin payment.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Trust me...Slumdog Millionaire is the one you must see. I get the chills just thinking about it.

As much as I tried to like it, Rachel Getting Married was unbearable.

Paddy O. said...

Slumdog Millionaire is Stephen King's second favorite movie of the year.

IMDB shared that fact with me.

reader_iam said...

Not being without sin, I won't cast a stone. No punishment for you from me! Stay home (or whatever) and enjoy yourself instead, I say.

KLDAVIS said...

The only good movie I've seen this year has been Burn After Reading. It had most of what I love best about The Big Lebowski spliced with just enough Intollerable Cruelty to make it successful for a mainstream audience. The Dark Knight had it's moments, but was not nearly as good as everyone was making it out to be.

reader_iam said...

Also, "forcing Althouse to do anything" is an utterly foreign concept to me. Is that possible? Althouse doesn't strike me as someone who would respond well, if in deed at all, to force. Isn't that part of the Althouse charm? Just sayin'.

William said...

I wonder if movies are an appropriate form of entertainment at one stage of life and not at another. I used to be an avid consumer of comic books but that passed. I haven't listened to any top 40 station in more than a generation. I still read the occasional novel but mostly from writers I've bonded with in the past. (Philip Roth is the only one still alive.).....There is the same percentage of talented people writing novels, composing ditties, and making movies. The fault lies not in the current stars but in us. As we age, magical thinking is no longer viable. Life has many possibilities for a young person and one of the uses of enchantment is to help us visualize those possibilities...For myself, I would be ashamed to promulgate a list that does not include the new Bond flick. It would indicate the final atrophying of the wish to see life as a grand, romantic adventure.

al said...

Movies are, to me, about escapism rather than punishment. None of those movies are remotely appealing so in my mind they would all be punishment.

Shanna said...

The Wall. St. J. reported a week or so ago that many new movies can be seen online for free in their entirety at Asian movie websites.

Indeed. SIL watched Twilight on Chinese YouTube.

I believe in going to entertaining, escapist movies for the most part, nothing too heavy unless I"m really in the mood. Don't go see movies too often, but saw Four Christmases and Twilight last weekend. Twilight was entertaining in a cheesy way and Four Christmases has one pretty funny scene but overall didn't really work. But since I don't think you're the Twilight type, I don't have any recommendations.

I would like to see the new bond, though, which is not listed. The first one was good.

Palladian said...

I'm extremely resistant to movies that I just have to see! If everyone's talking about it, particularly if people who presume themselves to be "artistic" or "intellectual", I'm especially resistant. I tend to like my movies to be like good red wine: firmly structured, strikingly deep color, powerful yet elegant, highly individual in character, dry and serious, with an excellent finish and a lingering and haunting aftertaste. Drunk in moderation with no hangover the next morning.

I'd rather have one bottle of Ch√Ęteau Latour 1990 a year than a frequent bottle of plonk.

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Slumdog Millionaire, Ann, I think you will like it for a snowy Saturday matinee.

Milk advertisements make me want to puke. Sorry for seeming unsympathetic to certain SF constituencies, but this movie is destined break a record for garnering more awards than actual people to would pay to see it. It is merely a Penn vehicle for an Oscar best actor nomination.

Meade said...

When I first saw the words "Force Althouse..." my mind read, "May the Force Althouse be with you." Like reader_iam, I can't imagine Althouse being forced to do anything. Unless it's for her art. But that would be her art forcing her, not us.

Personally, I would rather watch video clips of rh's dog and chickens. I know - it's an acquired taste.
I'm afraid I've acquired it. And no, I'm not kidding this time.

Maybe all this blog smoking has permanently restructured the chemistry of my already challenged brain. At work, sometimes my right hand automatically reaches for a mouse to right-click when it should be reaching for loppers or the pruning saw.

Gretchen said...

I recommend avoiding "Rachel Getting Married" if you get carsick at all. I had to leave about 40-45 minutes into it, because the handheld camerawork made me feel like I was going to hurl. Bill Irwin was good, but the filming was awful. The comment board at IMDB has a lot of posters that suffered the same problem with the filming, so I know it wasn't just me.

"Australia" was enjoyable, but might not suit your taste- unless you like ogling Hugh Jackman- then by all means that should be your choice.

siyeh pass said...

Of your list, Australia is out, right away. I'm just not into the epic 'Gone with the wind' meets 'African Queen.' It looks to contrived to me. I checked the trailer's for 'Let the Right One In' and 'Synechdoche' - LtROI looks a little to creepy - maybe in time, though.

'Synechdoche' and the others definitly go on the Netflix list. I don't go out to the movies much, either - for some of the same reasons as you, though, it's funny, some of your list is/are the reason(s) I go.

Anyway, looks like a good weekend to hit the theater or take a nap - cloudy and rainy.

Ann Althouse said...

Meade said..."When I first saw the words "Force Althouse..." my mind read, "May the Force Althouse be with you.""

Force Althouse will be meeting Fox Force Five later today.

Joachim Arnerholm said...

I for one are going to see the Baader-Meinhof complex this monday. I hated all "Red Army" shit way back but I am fascinated

SteveR said...

None of the Above

Synova said...

Ogling Hugh Jackman is always a good thing. I'm a little worried that Australia might be trying too hard with the movie "Australia". Still, if it's at least as good at Quigley Down Under, I'd like to see it. (Can't beat ogling Tom Seleck either.)

I voted Slumdog Millionaire.

Simon and whatshisface reviewed it on the Poliwood thing at PJ Media and said it was better than most. It looked good.

Plus, a little bit of Bollywood would do us all some good.

Meade said...

"Force Althouse will be meeting Fox Force Five later today."

If I lived in Madison, I for one would be preemptively locking all my doors and windows right about now.

rhhardin said...

Four minutes (YouTube) is about the right length for a movie.

Michael_H said...

The weather is unpleasant, so just stay home and read.

If you feel deserving of punishment, eat and egg salad sandwich.

Michael_H said...

/an/

John Stodder said...

"Force 10 from Navarone to go to the movies."

The Dark Knight had it's moments, but was not nearly as good as everyone was making it out to be.

Yes it was.

I've seen none of those movies, but I voted for "Slumdog Millionaire" because that's the one I want to see now and not wait for the DVD.

"Milk" I might have to see because of San Francisco in the 70s. I went to Berkeley then. In fact: the day Harvey Milk and George Moscone were murdered, I was on campus watching Talking Heads perform a free concert in lower Sproul Plaza. My girlfriend had to turn in an English paper and she didn't want to run into her prof, so she asked me to turn it in for her. So I walked it over to Wheeler Hall, about five minutes from where the show was. A San Francisco police car was parked out front. As I walked up the steps, two SFPD officers were escorting a sobbing, hysterical girl down the steps to the police car. I dropped off the paper and went back to the concert. When I got there, a buzz was going through the crowd about the murders. Right at that moment, probably a coincidence, Talking Heads started playing their biggest hit of that year, "Psycho Killer." It took me a while to put it all together -- the sobbing girl was Mayor Moscone's 19-year-old daughter.

MayBee said...

I hadn't heard anything about Slumdog Millionaire when my husband took me last week.
I loved it.
I won't tell you anything about it, except that it has a really compelling way of telling the story.

The other thing is, Danny Boyle seems to like putting Cillian Murphy in his movies, but he didn't this time. Thank goodness.

Chip Ahoy said...

I don't like your list. Too restrictive. I'm way too shallow for this. I strongly prefer senseless light-hearted comedies for my entertainment tens of dollars. Therefore I'd pick Happy-Go-Lucky playing at the Orpheum, because it has the word "happy" in it.

From Madison Click:

Just how hard is it to be happy? In the effervescent new comedy from writer/director Mike Leigh, Sally Hawkins stars as Poppy, an irrepressibly free-spirited school teacher who brings an infectious laugh and an unsinkable sense of optimism to every situation she encounters, offering us a touching, truthful and deeply life-affirming exploration of one of the most mysterious and often the most elusive of all human qualities: happiness. Poppy's ability to maintain her perspective is tested as the story begins and her commuter bike is stolen. However, she enthusiastically signs up for driving lessons with Scott, who turns out to be her nemesis--a fuming, uptight cynic. As the tension of their weekly lessons builds, Poppy encounters even more challenges to her positive state of mind: a fiery flamenco instructor, her bitter, pregnant sister, a troubled homeless man and a young bully in her class, not to mention that she has also thrown out her back. How this affects not only Poppy's world view but also the outlook of those around her begs the question "glass half full or half empty"?

Saturday 12/13/2008 (4:30 PM), 7:00 PM, 9:30 PM

But I suggest you go shopping instead. You could buy me a camera! I'm looking at the nikon D-80 or D-90.

Simon said...

I'm with Ron - Frost/Nixon is the only recent movie I've heard about that got be even remotely excited about seeing.

Meade said...

Great clip, rh.

Meade said...

I say we spread the wealth and take up a collection so Chip can have his camera. Cut the middle man, as in, The Man, middle man. For Althouse readers to do that would be so right... on so many levels.

I'm good for a ten spot. Chip? Where to?

Joan said...

Again, haven't read the rest of the thread. I apologize for being a bad commenter, but I wanted to say this one thing and I'm pressed for time.

So here's the one thing: I don't want to force Althouse to go to the movies. I can't think of a more excruciating thing to do to someone like our good Professor, so unless it's a film she is actually interested in seeing, I think she should stay home. Enough of this idea of suffering for blog's sake!

blake said...

"Slumdog Millionaire"
"Rachel Getting Married"

I reviewed these on my blog (and linked to them already in a previous post so I won't repeat). "Slumdog" is a shoo-in for a Best Picture nomination. It's very much like a modernized version of those old Bogie/whoever movies where two boys on the wrong side of the tracks take two different paths in like. If someone says, "They don't make 'em like they used to," you could sort of point to this and say, "Yes. Yes, they do."

I was won over by "Rachel" but yes, the carsick/seasick types need to stay away. We actually found the bouncy camera thing effective; it made you feel like you were camcording the experience. But I know people who were enjoying the movie and had to leave anyway 'cause it was making them sick.

"Let the Right One In"

I'm reviewing this one today but haven't done it yet. This is a Swedish coming-of-age movie, where the boy's love interest is a vampire. It has elements of revenge fantasy and was very Swedish. (It also takes place in the '70s from what I can tell.)

This was different.

"Milk"

Save me from "important" films.

"Australia"

I have yet to see one of Baz's movies because they all seem to get the same review: "Parts of this three hour movie were brilliant!" Meh. Most of anything that long had better be pretty freakin' entertaining.

"Synechdoche, New York"

I missed this one, to my regret. I think it's probably good but there's a little roulette about picking little movies to see. You see one and another goes away before you have a chance.

blake said...

Joan,

Althouse is putting us on. She wants to go to the movies, she just doesn't know what to see.

If she wanted to allow us to make her suffer, she'd put in more than two movies from the top 10 in her list of choices.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, read the update. I saw "Slumdog Millionaire."

Original George said...

Torture...pools of shit....

Methinks I shall'st avoid yon "Slumdog." You ain't gettin' paid enough for this duty, Professor.

Where are the movie stars of days of yore?

Here's Sinatra singing "Just One of Those Things" from some long forgotten movie with Doris Day.

He was before my time, but, geez, he was good.

And here's Doris Day doing the same song from another movie.

That's entertainment. Not torture. Not shit.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Original George. That Sinatra was beautiful. Try to imagine how you would feel if your father looked exactly like that, as mine did.

Ann Althouse said...

It's actually difficult for me to believe that isn't my father. I have to keep reminding myself.

Original George said...

He indeed must have had "High Hopes" for you.

Imagine how you would feel if your wife looked like Cyd Charisse in this scene with Fred Astaire.

Kuchlein!

blake said...

Hey, I read the update!

I voted for Slumdog Millionaire for you. It has a broad appeal if you're not afraid of the occasional subtitle.

Seven Machos said...

Did you just spell lose with oo, Althouse? I hope not. I hope you somehow meant loose and I'm the idiot. God, that error is the bane of my Internet existence.

john marzan said...

not having seen slumdog, milk, synechdoche etc., i confident that "Let the Right One In" is the best film of the year of 2008.

i've seen it. it's very original, a fresh take on the vampire genre. last time i saw imdb, it was voted top #199 film of all time

Ann Althouse said...

"Did you just spell lose with oo, Althouse? I hope not. I hope you somehow meant loose and I'm the idiot. God, that error is the bane of my Internet existence."

Thanks for the correction. I also misspelled "sprightly."

I do know how to spell "lose," but I constantly make homophone and near homophone typos -- like the most common one on the internet: your for you're. It's necessary to proofread and try to catch them, but I don't always see them.

Meade said...

Most of us, whether or not weir honest with ourselves about it, hour at least just a little bit homophonic.

Meade said...

weather

Meade said...

Know, weight, I had it right the first time - whether.

Susan said...

No, you had it write the first time.

Ann Althouse said...

Hay, I have a new pole. Pleas vote their two.

Jen Bradford said...

I saw the trailer for Doubt the other day and thought it looked great. Okay, maybe it would be just as great on video, but it's the only flick I've felt like seeing in awhile. Philip Seymour Hoffman is great, and Streep when she's not goofy these days is such a a relief. My friend saw it on Broadway and loved it.

Tibore said...

" Ann Althouse said...
You can only punish me for my sins with this narrowly restricted list."


Oh, darn. I was going to suggest "Day the Earth Stood Still" for suitable punishment... :-D

Then again, there's something in the Constitution about "cruel and unusual", isn't there. ;-}

Best review I read on a posting board: "Keanu Reeves shows his range..."