The following is a movie review for Midnight in Paris, a li’l flick by Woody Allen, who is truly a wacky old man. (And by movie review I mean mostly a plot summary followed by a little bit of genuine praise.)
Midnight in Paris, as its title explicitly states, is about a pretentious screenwriter who visits Paris and to his un-drug related delight realizes that he can transport back in time in Paris at the stroke of midnight via an antique automobile. Unrealistically, he considers cheating on Rachel McAdams. She is adorable. Who could do that to her, even if she does play an outrageously pretentious bitch. Marion Cotillard is hot too. I’m sorry, what was this movie about?
Woody Allen really comes out with a big bag of tricks with this one. Let me try to reestablish the plot. Owen Wilson, having only drunk a shit ton of wine, and having, I promise, NOT taken any drugs, finds himself walking down a twisty cobbledstoned street only to be greeted by a very vintage caravan that whisks him off away to a far away, long time ago bar where he meets the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his lover Zelda. At one point Zelda attempts suicide because she doesn’t think ol’ Scotty likes her and Owen Wilson reassures her, “Oh, but he does.” And she rightly is like, “How the fuck do you know man?” and he wants to be like, “Oh! I’m from the future so I read some books in school about you that said that F. Scott Fitzgerald was like MAD obsessed with you even to his own detriment.” but he can’t, so he’s like, “Oh. Trust me. Oh. I know.” Owen thinks that he is in a dream, but again, when he wakes up he discovers that not only was his experience not a dream but it was NOT caused by having taken any crazy ass drugs.
Rachel McAdams ends up being a pretentious ass bitch, and falls in love with Michael Sheen’s character even though she’s engaged to Owen. The weird thing is, Michael Sheen plays a boring ol’ asshole himself, which is a waste of really awesome genuinely amazing talent because Michael Sheen can just be so fucking charming. Who hires a charming actor to play a dull character? Boo! And back to Rachel McAdams being pretentious anyway, she was hella crazy classist. She said boring shit about analyzing art and got all pissed when her expensive earrings got stolen (by her fiancee Owen who was going to give them to some other chick from the past. Woah. What the fuck? Also, spoiler). She blamed “the help”.
Sorry, back to Owen, who goes fucking BACK IN TIME MAN!!! This dude goes back in time where he meets like, all the fucking classic artists and writers from the 1920s like Salvador Dali, Earnest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein. He makes Gertrude Stein read his book, and she does. And he’s all digging the vibes of the 1920s and meets Pablo Picasso’s lady friend — Marion Cotillard. And then he tries to bone her even though he’s supposed to be boning Rachel McAdams.
Anyway, he continues to go back in time to the 1920s where he just happens to meet only famous people from the 1920s, while occasionally going back into the present to get in fights with Rachel McAdams who is pretty fucking prissy but does have pretty cute outfits that I imagine were expensive and purchased at Bloomingdale’s even though they are casual.
Basically I have two things to say about this movie:
1. It’s weird! Dude! Going back in time? In a car? That’s fine. Whatever. I’m cool with that. I’ve seen it (Back to the Future). But, this car travels back in time SPECIFICALLY to a place where ONLY FAMOUS PEOPLE FROM HISTORY not only exist but HANG OUT WITH EACH OTHER LIKE THEY’RE IN A COLLEGE FRAT AND ALL JUST HANG AND CHILL ALL THE TIME.
2. The characters are like WAY pretentious. They use words in conversation where you’re like, “Seriously? The last time I used that word was in a college essay that I wrote at 3am before it was due.” They also care about things like old antique chairs and wine tastings. However, they do all of these pretentious things UNIRONICALLY! They are completely sincere and genuine in their douchiness. They’re like, “Hey, yeah, we’re rich white spoiled people from America who are just coming to hang out in Paris because we fucking can and we have hella money.” They say it more fancily. Point is, it was weird to hear people talking about sophisticated things without it actually being an outrageous SNL caricature but rather an actual attempt to portray a “human.”
3. In spite of all this, I kind of really enjoyed this movie. It’s like a weird pretentious man’s little childhood fantasy come to life on the screen. Your heart just can’t help but melt, even if just a little bit.
I laughed. I cried. I felt things. I smiled a lot. Honestly, seeing this movie was one of the best things that’s happened to me in a while. Maybe that is just testament to how draining work can be, but I also think in part it spoke to me. And I don’t mean that in some bullshit, “look at me I’m so profound, cultured, and indie” way. In fact, I wish there were a better way to put it.
This moment from the movie is exactly the way I’d describe the kind of life I’m looking for right now. So theoretically I know it exists, but so far it’s still fictional. Wondering how to find that. Let me know if you have ideas.
This isn’t so much a movie review, as it is a movie that made me think about shit. Normally, a long, slow, and stylistically pretentious movie would annoy me and send me walking out of the theater or at least wondering when it would be over. However, in this particular instance I was moved. Perhaps the change is just me? Maybe I am embracing my inner liberal arts degree. But this is unlikely because my own pretentious, self-aggrandizing view of life will hopefully remain a dark secret until I die.
This movie also made me want to be a professor. But then I realized that the truth was much more specific. I want to be gay Colin Firth giving poignant lectures that give the kid from About a Boy a boner.
Seriously though, I identified a lot with this movie in spite of my shortcomings (not being gay Colin Firth). I loved that the movie validated depression to an extent, or at least explored it in an honest way without commenting on it too much. I think as a society we try to erase it as quickly as possible. I feel like medications, in many cases (not all) are just a means of putting a blanket on the ugly part of life. Not that I want to be depressed or I want to wish that on anyone else. It isn’t healthy certainly to feel sorry for yourself and dwell in your misery. But I also feel like being sad is normal, but as a society we treat it as a mental condition that needs to be fixed. I don’t know if depression needs to be “fixed” (again, in most cases). I think what it needs to be is experienced and learned from. Not to sit in it, but to accept it more. Not medicate it, but try to grow from it and figure out what it’s telling us.
So I enjoyed (in a sympathetic way) watching Colin Firth and Julianne Moore struggle and cope with their lives. I’m probably much more like Julianne Moore — waiting for someone to save me (I’m trying to be there for myself more). Then again, I guess this is potentially okay since the alternative seems to be attempted suicide until someone “gets” you. And then you have a heart attack. (Spoiler…)
I also liked that the important things for these people were the human connections they made in their life. Lately I have felt like there is a de-emphasis on human relationships, or “real” ones. People have become relationship collectors… just trying to get to know people on a superficial level so they can have “contacts.” “Networking” is a term now, that sort of thing. I feel like the moments that really matter though are those that we share with people who evoke love, whatever that emotion might be. Sometimes it seems like love is uncool now. Hooking up is prevalent. Being guarded and alone is viewed as a “strength”. “Independence.”
Not to say that those aren’t good things. Despite how important it is to connect it also seems that to an extent we are all alone, or at least if we can’t be there for ourselves then it is unlikely anyone else can be. I suppose it’s about finding a balance. Learning to be there for yourself and finding inner peace but being willing to open up and accept people to come and go into your life.
I regret that this post wasn’t silly and is probably pretentious. I’m trying to write more and to think less. Hopefully (and more likely) no one reads this.
I also saw this movie this weekend, and it was also good. It made me distinctly aware of the mistakes I’ve made in my life. Specifically, I did not decide to be born in 1950 in the UK. If instead of choosing the year ’88 in the suburbs of Los Angeles I had made the more appropriate choice, then maybe I too could have been a part of a rebellious, sassy, and witty group of Brits on a boat. Most likely I would have played the role of the lesbian who made toast, but that would have been fine by me. I sort of wish cultural change and protest had the same panache it did back in the day. Now if you speak up about issues you are most likely some annoying person in an outdoor mall pestering people for money. But back in the ’60s it was all about music and being cool and beautiful and advocating a world of peace and freedom. And, on a boat???
Also, this is the bazillionth wonderful thing Richard Curtis has contributed to our cultural lexicon of British Comedy. I wish I could be him. However, again, this would have required being born at a different time in a different place, which were choices I failed to make. He’s funny and poignant and smart. I mean, he made Love Actually. While, Pirate Radio might be no Love Actually it is still delightful and fun. I actually cared about the characters in the end, which is not something I can usually say. Oh, I don’t know. British people are funny, and that’s it.
I really adored this movie. I think my favorite part might have been listening to foxes talk about their home mortgages. I was easily entertained by the juxtaposition of cartoon foxes with real life. Wes Anderson always creates really delightful movies, blah blah blah, and this time was no different. I’d pretty much go see it again. This movie made me feel more excited about the prospect of screenwriting, and also more excited about being a Vassar grad (Noah Baumbach co-wrote with Wes Anderson while Meryl Streep talked in it). However, in looking for fine print on my diploma, nowhere does it say I am entitled to work on whimsical films based on Roald Dahl books. In fact, it lists no life purpose anywhere. I think this must have been a mistake. Tangents aside, I found Fantastic Mr. Fox to be more than cute, but also maybe profound and inspiring. Or at least inspiring. It was fun and smart and I laughed a lot, much to the dismay of the grumpy dude sitting next to me (who, luckily, wasn’t my date). I might almost say it’s my favorite Wes Anderson movie now but… always a soft spot for the Royal Tenenbaums. Hard to say!
Alright, Whip It. Sure, your plot might have some cliches and be a bit predictable. Sure, some of your dialogue is kind of awkward and admittedly made me uncomfortable. Sure, you have Ellen Page.
But I liked you anyway. Because Drew Barrymore, you can do no wrong.
I went into this movie with mixed feelings. On one hand, I love Drew Barrymore. On the other, I mostly dislike Ellen Page, perhaps due to unconscious jealousy (but also because in an interview she said her favorite movie was 400 Blows, which it isn’t, because it’s no one’s favorite movie). So yeah. I guess there were things about it that were unremarkable. Like, a pool sex scene that basically epitomized the hipsters involved. Beautiful but completely impractical and contrived.
I still loved it though. Because I needed it. It was a movie about girls, but it wasn’t about girls dating men. And it wasn’t about girls like, being mothers. I don’t know. It was about girls being people. Or at least, I felt like it was. EW gave it this really bitter review and said mean shit like, “The movie is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, and it’s clear she’s more attuned to grrrlishness than real athletic power: Smashley is the first to scream ”Food fight!” and the 34-year-old actress leads the charge in kidlike mayhem.” Fuck you Lisa Schwarzbaum, you old bitch. The movie was about GRRRRLISHness, although do you really have to call it that? It wasn’t about athletics. It was about being Ellen Page and feeling empowered about it.
I don’t know. As the movie went on it was hard not to enjoy it. And I left it feeling positive and validated. I guess it’s a chick flick, but it seemed like a much more tolerable one. I hope future movies targeted at women are a lot more like this. So is it a cinematic masterpiece? Probably not. But it is an outstanding example of how good movies don’t have to be about how he isn’t that into you. Weirdly, Drew was in that one too. Whatever. It undermines my point. Which is that Drew Barrymore can direct as many movies as she wants and it’d be fine by me, as long as she continues to make cute cameos.