Monthly Archives: December 2013

25th Hour


Who Bought It? For the first time, Max.

Why? Max loved it in high school and it’s one of those movies that inspired him to write movies. Also: it’s a Spike Lee joint with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin, Ed Norton, Clay Davis from The Wire and former Baltimore Raven Tony Siragusa (Goose!).

Non-buyer’s Response: “It’s hard to argue with that cast.” – Megan

Max’s Thoughts: This is the movie that features the (in)famous “Fuck you” speech. For that, and that alone I believe it is worth owning. Beyond that, I watched this movie during my Edward Norton phase (various points throughout high school) and loved it. I hadn’t watched it since I was 18. Watching it now, it feels slow and the pacing is all off. At times, it is pitch perfect, but too many scenes drag, and there are too many interstitial scenes (Norton as Monty walking up to his apartment for a superfluous 10-second tracking shot) that serve no purpose outside of atmosphere. There is something to be said for atmosphere and tone, two things that 25th Hour has in spades, but it’s not everything. There’s also something to be said for letting a scene breath and take its time, but too much of any good thing is no good at all.

I’m still voting to keep it because I feel like there is a ton to learn in this film as a sound designer and editor, and some pretty good data regarding what not to do as a writer. It’s worth noting 25th Hour is based on a novel and adapted for the screen by Game of Thrones show-runner David Benioff, and it feels not unlike one of that shows slower, more uneventful episodes.

Megan’s Thoughts: This was my first time watching 25th Hour and I think Max over-hyped it for me. Some scenes were gems that will stick with me: Monty (Edward Norton) and Frank (Barry Pepper) discussing what they’ll do when Monty gets out of jail, when Monty and his father (Brian Cox) have their “last supper,” when Monty asks Frank to “make him ugly” and the sound cuts out so all you hear is birds chirping. And yet, I feel that one viewing is enough. At 135 mins, I could see it cutting down to well below the two-hour mark and holding its story. I’m glad I saw it, and I think it’s a great example of, as Max mentioned, learning how to let a scene breath and creating atmosphere, but it’s not a movie I’m hankering to see again and again. My vote is to toss it, but we agreed when we started this venture that it had to be unanimous to throw anything away.

Verdict: Keep it.

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17 Again

ImageWho Bought It: Wouldn’t it be a riot if “Max” was the answer?

Why?: Megan has had an unhealthy addiction to Zac Efron ever since Hairspray came out. And “Bust a Move” was on the soundtrack.

Non-Buyer’s Response: “Who buys movies for the OST?” – Max

Megan’s Thoughts: Besides the fact that I’m a Zac Efron fangirl, this is actually a hilarious movie. Can we pause for a moment, look past the HSM franchise and realize that Efron has a wicked sense of comedic timing? Pair that with Thomas Lennon (author of the book “Writing Movies for Fun and Profit”) as his best friend Ned and I can’t get enough of the quick asides, the insults slung under their breath and the way their twitching eyebrows have more jokes in them than an entire Will Ferrell flick (we’ll get to my Ferrell hate later though, I’m sure.) Leslie Mann and Melora Hardin, two of my favourite comedy ladies, round out the funny crowd and do a great job of bringing Jason Filardi’s take on the time-travelling-body-switching-do-over feature to life. It’s got heart, it’s got laughs and it’s got a scene where Margaret Cho plays a sex ed teacher – what more could I ask for? I’m still glad I added this movie to my DVD collection, it’s been a favourite when I need a comedy pick-me-up. Oh, and it also has one of the best bully-take-down scenes ever created. I think I may have cheered out loud the first time I saw it.

Max’s Thoughts: These last few movies (13 Going On 30 and 17 Again) are making me wonder why we don’t own Big. And also giving me a hankering for my favourite body-switching movie ever, Freaky Friday (the Lindsay Lohan one). Hankerings aside, this isn’t a bad movie. The time-travel/body-switching magic here is a bit more muddied than in the previously mentioned flicks, but I think that’s Filardi’s point with this one: Body-switching movies can’t be explained. Once Mike has returned from Zac Efron-form to Matthew Perry, he even says it, pretty much verbatim. This is a ridiculous but tried-and-true premise that – to my surprise – is executed pretty well. Matthew Perry is confusingly underutilized though. Who wants to see Perry in sad-sack dad mode then contrite, apologetic dad in teen clothing mode? That’s basically all he’s given to do. All that said and all my dumb-smart analysis of this well-meaning but shitty movie: THOMAS LENNON AND MELORA HARDIN ABSOLUTELY ENGULF THIS MOVIE. Keep.

Verdict: Keep it.

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13 Going on 30

ImageWho Bought It: technically, it was given to Megan when Max’s best friend Lauren moved away and didn’t have room for it in her suitcase.

Why?: When Lauren offered it up Megan, at the time, couldn’t turn down a free DVD.

Non-Buyer’s Response: “Is that how you got it??” – Max

Max’s Thoughts: I never thought I’d say this (especially considering I fell asleep 15 minutes in last time we tried to watch this movie), but 13 Going on 30 is actually kind of adorable. I mean, it’s a beat-for-beat unofficial remake of the Tom-Hanks-and-a-gypsy classic Big but it’s not horrible. Jennifer Garner is great, and Mark Ruffalo is mumbly and adorable as usual. The two leads do literally as well as could possibly be expected of them. It got surprisingly heavy at the end with Jenna finally realizing how objectively horrible a person she’d become since she was 13. It kind of had a Last Temptation of Christ vibe going on in that Jenna is given a chance to see her future life then decide whether or not she wants a do-over. The time travel elements of this shitty movie are actually kind of interesting. I’ll add it to my tier of “Dumb movies written by smart people.” I want to keep it.

Megan’s Thoughts: I hadn’t seen this movie since it originally came out in 2004 and my memory recalled a few giggles but that was about it, so my expectations were low going in. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how clever and quirky the movie was. Jennifer Garner nails the excited innocence of a 13-year-old drunk on 30-year-old power. The story moved well and kept me interested, and I always love a snarky Judy Greer best friend character. It’s a movie I’d pull out if I had a sick day or girl’s night, and it makes me want to go learn the dance to “Thriller” immediately. I’d watch it again, and therefore…

Verdict: Keep it.

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(500) Days of Summer

ImageWho Bought It: Megan

Why?: Megan’s love of Joseph Gordon Levitt combined with the adorable trailers promised her a feel-good rom-com with heart, romance and laughter. Also it was $3 at a Rogers closing-out sale (though, that will be the reason why most of the DVDs mentioned in this purge project were bought.)

Non-Buyer’s Response: “Never would I ever have bought this movie.” – Max

Megan’s Thoughts: Though JGL is adorable, and there are a couple grin-worthy moments, overall the film is a downer and I do not discover anything new or exciting on multiple watches. The more times I see it, the more I hate Zooey Deschanel’s character and the sooner I want to zone out and take a nap instead. It almost stayed in the collection based on the song-and-dance number to Hall & Oates alone but alas, the inability to stomach another viewing has led it to the “toss” pile.

Max’s Thoughts: I guess an argument could be made about (500)’s odd chronology and structural elements (the parenthetical numbers, mostly). And I kind of tried to make that argument, but got bored talking about the movie. There were some cute bits, but the only character I found truly interesting was the best friend who had been dating a girl since 7th grade (Criminal Minds’ Matthew Gray Gubler), and that’s not a good sign. Neither is the fact that 30 minutes later I can’t remember anything specific about the movie other than a nagging desire to punch everyone but Matthew Gray Gubler.

Verdict: Toss

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