December 17, 2005

Thinking about going to the movies.

Look at how this silly man is outraged that I talk about movies when I haven't seen them. It would be a nice advantage for the folks who make movies if they could get people to believe that it was inappropriate to talk until you'd paid up and wasted your time. I think a key skill in modern life is figuring out which movies to avoid. Well, why don't I just keep my thoughts to myself? I'm a blogger: we display our thought patterns in real time. If you aren't interested, don't read. Really, why is that silly man upset? Does he have a financial interest in the movie? Or is he some fanboy who really, really wants Peter Jackson to succeed?

Occasionally, I actually put three hours of my precious life into movie-viewing. Usually, it's not worth it, even though I rarely do it and am highly selective. Having something bloggable does create a little additional value, but trotting out an actual movie review, MSM-style, doesn't interest me much. If I were paid to do it, I'd put in the effort needed to find new ways to say "X gave a great performance" and "the plot was confusing" and so forth.

All that said, I am giving a tiny bit of thought to seeing a movie today and blogging about it. Here's what's playing in Madison. Actually reading that list reduced my interest in going to the movies about 80%. The only one I really want to see is "Capote," but I don't know that I want to see it in the theater, especially the crap theater where it's playing. Then there are some that I think I've heard are -- in the inevitable cliché -- "supposed to be good"? "The Squid and the Whale"? Well, what the hell is it? I'd have to do some research to have any idea. What a drag! "The Family Stone"? The clip looked good when Sarah Jessica Parker was on "The Daily Show" the other day. But have I heard that it's "supposed to be bad"? I can't remember. Again, research is required! "King Kong"? You know how I feel about that. I'm just not that into nostril-gazing.

I spend much of the day staring at a screen already. For diversion, why look at another screen? There is that famous real world that I've heard so much about. I could go out there.

BONUS QUESTIONS, thought up on rereading this post: What actress has the most beautiful nostrils? How much harder is that question to answer than what actress has the most beautiful eyes or the most beautiful lips? There's a reason it's harder: you don't really want to look at nostrils, even on a beautiful face. Sometimes you get an actress who does too much nostril acting. You know, that flaring and re-flaring. Once you start noticing it, the performance becomes comic. Can you think of any actresses or actors who belong to the nostril-flaring school of drama? Any examples of an actor or actress that does nostril-flaring spoofily, for deliberate comic effect? And can someone clue me in on how much Peter Jackson's Kong goes in for nostril-flaring. Nostrils, nostrils, nostrils. There, I've said it! I'm obsessed with nostrils. Nostrils are the body part of the week, here on the Althouse blog.

UPDATE: Can you believe it? The very next day I write an elaborate post about another movie I haven't seen. I'm starting to think that this actually is a specialty of mine -- check out my old posts on "Alexander" -- and I'm going to pursue it actively and intentionally now. I note too that some of my critics are perplexed about the nostril-focused material in this post. They really aren't understanding the unique mix of topics that is Althouse. The most flat-footedly pedestrian of these critics feel compelled to point out time and again that I am a law professor: in their regimented world, everyone is supposed to stay neatly on track, doggedly pursuing the matters of their occupational specialization. The dentist must blog about teeth, and the conlawprof about conlaw. How terribly dull! What grim little minds!


john(classic) said...

Netflix and similar services are great. They have a huge library of dvd's that lets us see the quirky films (usually selected by other viewers' comments) that we want.

There are a number of movies I would enjoy,and a number my wife would enjoy.

The movie industry also produces a large number of movies that are lousy and a few gems.

So somehow we have to get an intersection of all these factors to get movies that are good and that we both enjoy.

The internet in the form of Netflix (which is gradually adding Amazon like recommendations) and IMDB come to the rescue. It works very well for us.

Recent winners for us have included:

The Chorus (French school for wayward boys--very well done)

Twilight Samurai ( makes Tom Cruise, and his director, look like inept idiots)

Babette's Feast (What a novel setting for a good story)

Danny Deckchair--spotty but a lot of fun

Lagaan --poor Indian villagers, crushed by the fickle English tyrants, burst into song and dance numbers while preparing for a cricket match

tonight will be "Bubba Ho Tep"---

reader_iam said...

Nostril-flarers. I think there are a bunch!

Oddly, the first one to jump to mind was Sean Young.

Tonya said...

Judd Nelson is a nostril flarer.

Jim Gust said...

I thought Chronicles of Narnia was worth seeing on the big screen. For reasons I can't articulate, the CGI didn't seem cheesy or intrusive, so it was easy to suspend disbelief. No nostril emoting that I recall.

reader_iam said...

Oh, yeah,, Tonya, he really is! He may be without peer, even! How could I have forgotten?????

Unknown said...

Capote was good but could could well be enjoyed on DVD on a cold winter's night.

(I also enjoyed Netflix pick The Chorus.)

SteveWe said...

Nostrils: Annette Benning.

About Ann's observation: "I spend much of the day staring at a screen already. For diversion, why look at another screen? There is that famous real world that I've heard so much about. I could go out there."

I think Ann discovered why fewer people are going to the movies. Today's movies are just eye wash on the big screen -- CGI, FX, extreme violence -- just visuals for the camera. And, we can get that on our computer screens or TV.

When movies feature a real plot or a real situation that regular people must resolve with 90 commercial-free minutes, then surprise, the box office numbers are higher than expected.

Ann Althouse said...

Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman.

Which question are you answer? Beautiful nostrils, acts with nostrils, or is comical with nostrils?

Luke Blanshard said...

Beautiful nostrils: your fave, Lisa Kudrow -- of course.

Ann Althouse said...

There's also: horrible nostrils. Most of these are in the plastic surgery category. There's a woman on FOXNews with these horrid slits for nostrils.

chuck b. said...

Are we talking about nostrils or noses? There's a difference right? Or is this one of those "you say pop, I say soda" things?

My favorite actress has a nice nose here, but big nostrils here.

She's also playing in The Dying Gaul (with Peter Sarsgaard!) where I am, which I would be delighted to go see. Maybe I will.

Pooh said...

Nostrils: Kate Beckinsale

Bad Nostrils: Fran Drescher

May I make a distinction between saying "I'm not going to see this movie because..." and "I haven't seen it, but it's a bad movie because..."?

john(classic) said...

Even as we speak there is a conference in Hollywood where they are kicking around ideas:

"How about the Penguins march back from the sea?"

"This time his love interest could be a gay cameraman with the expedition but we don't know Kong is gay until he picks him up and their eyes meet .."

"So, anyway,after the hobbits get home they have problems readjusting to civilian life cause they are not killing anymore, and one starts doing drugs.. "

"So Narnia just keeps getting warmer because of all the pollution, and the Witch, who actually is a feminist, maybe Julia Roberts, organizes to do something about it .."

amba said...

Ah, nostrils! Is it the thing itself that fascinates and repels, or the word, that sounds rather like "nostrums" but with hairs sticking out? (Isn't the "nost" part the dark hole and the "strils" the hairs?) YUCK!

Actors who act with their nostrils: If you are not the squeamish type, watch "The Silence of the Lambs," quite a good movie (and very true to the VERY good book). Watch close-ups of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. He pulses his nostrils just like a shark's gills.

amba said...

Beautiful nostrils: Angela Bassett?

Denzel Washington had beautiful nostrils before he had them fixed and made more normative and honky-looking. Find an early picture of him. They were dramatic.

katzxy said...

An oddity: the blog (
aclublog) has as it's header quote a line from the Fountainhead.
"I play the stock market of the soul and I sell short!"
Of course it's from the bad guy, but what did you expect.

SteveWe said...

Annette Bening does have a nice nose but she emotes too much with her nostrils (esp in that Bugsy movie opposite Warren Beaty).

Pooh said...

OddD, I couldn't agree more about Constant Gardener. Regardless of politics, the movie was crap because the storytelling was bad.

As to why studio movies, in general, are crap these days, consider the parallel to music (mainstream music also being complete and umitigated crap):

in 2003 it cost record companies "upwards of $400,000 to $500,000" to get a song on commercial radio. (And that's not payola?) You can understand why the record companies are reluctant to take a chance on anything new. And so listeners to commercial radio are assaulted by the repulsive paradox of rock music devoted to the status quo, while innovative acts, signed to independent labels, bypass radio altogether. The Big Four record companies keep giving us Rock Hudson and Doris Day while the independent labels wrap up post-production work on Easy Rider and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Radio stations owned by Clear Channel play only music targeted to niches identified by marketing people, and so the music is limited by the imaginations of the sort of people who take jobs in the marketing departments of billboard companies. Since the niches are defined by what has come before, the goal of the exercise becomes to avoid programming anything that sounds new.

That sounds familiar, right? (And if we deviate, audiences 'aren't ready')

john(classic) said...

Does anyone listen to braodcast radio? Internet radio has totally won me over by its ability to discriminate right down to the tiny litle niches where I live.

Though one of my stations has deteriorated since it abandoned its previous promise to play "Ghost Riders in the Sky" at least once an hour....

Ann Althouse said...

Glenn: Teachout's word for me isn't "sublime." It's "divine." Learn to read. Then come back and attempt to write.

Palladian said...

Glenn, you write like a sophomore who just discovered the magic of a thesaurus. We're not really impressed.