Friday, October 07, 2011

The Best (and worst) day at the movies ... and some other stuff

Well, it's been 2 months since I wrote on the blog. A lot has happened between August 5th and now. Summer ended, fall began. Football season returned with the Redskins at 3-1. It's been quite a month musically. 4, count them, 4, of my favorite bands released new albums

NeedtoBreathe - The Reckoning, a very good album, but not quite as good as their previous work

Gungor - Ghosts upon the Earth

Mute Math - Odd Soul

and finally, Switchfoot, in their best ever album, Vice Verses. Yes, I think it's better than The Beautiful Letdown and Hello Hurricane. Easily, easily has the best album ending song that they've ever made.

Anyway, moving on to why I'm really here. A very interesting thing happened this past summer when I went to go see a movie. Not just any movie, but my pick for the best movie of the year so far, "The Tree of Life". I had been waiting and waiting for this movie to come out for some time due to the buzz that the movie was getting ever since it won the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It finally arrived at the Naro this past summer and I decided to go see it with a good friend of mine.

We went in and the theater was not jam packed, but it had a considerable number of people. My friend and I sat down and after the first few minutes we both knew this wasn't going to be just any movie. It was going to be a very memorable movie The Tree of Life beautifully illustrates how life seldom gives us straight answers and when we look up at the sky and ask God why, He rarely gives answers us directly. In the case of the film, God and the director, Terrence Malick, answers in the most appropriate way, by showing us. There is very little dialogue at the beginning and end of the film, but in the middle is where we get to see the main character fleshed out and his ongoing struggle with nature vs. grace, most embodied with the struggle of the death of his brother, which we are made aware of at the beginning of the film. How the story plays out, I am not here to say, but it is one of beauty, grace, elegance, and meditation. Malick doesn't use a conventional narrative and it works. Instead, the audience is left to ponder the far reaches of what is possible and glimpse at the beauty of what lies beyond.

The Tree of Life sparked a discussion between me and my friend. One that only a great movie does. Once we were back at his apartment, I came to find out that some friends of his were watching "Battle: Los Angeles" upstairs. So I settled in and watched a little bit because several of the poeple watching the movie were also my friends. Now, I already knew the reputation of this film and so I wasn't expecting much. What ended up happening though, is I had the singular worst experience watching a movie this entire year and I only watched about 45 minutes of the movie. The following are some quotes that my friend and I have since said about the film.

"I never thought 45 minutes could feel like an eternity."
"You start cheering for the aliens just so the movie will end."
"A mind numbing, cliche-ridden experience."

The dialogue in the film was horrible. When they weren't screaming commands at each other, most of the conversations were just filler between the predictable, messy action sequences. I don't mind action movies or alien invasion movies. I do mind when they're bad.

This experience of seeing the best and worst films of the year in the same day I won't soon forget. The friend I went with summed it up best when he said, "You know a film is great when even after seeing a film as bad as Battle: Los Angeles, you still remember the greater film."

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