Well, here we are, at the final week of the project. This week brought a lot of old favourites; some good, some not so good. Here’s what I watched for the final week of my COVID-19 Lockdown 2.0 Movie Challenge:
- Wednesday 12 August 2020:
Monster’s Inc, Pete Doctor (2001) 4.5/5
Those who recall last week’s post will know that Monster’s Inc. features at number three of my favourite Pixar films of all time. It’s the one that certainly holds the most nostalgia for me, and is probably the one I’ve seen the most. Unlike certain other films (*cough Crazy, Stupid, Love cough*), this gets better on every watch. The main reason that I love it (other than the fact that I can do an excellent impression of Roz), is that it’s just so quotable. Put that thing back where it came from or so help me? You think this is about sushi?! Milking a yak ain’t exactly a picnic?!! It is the only film that still gets me laughing at its jokes all these years later. If we get philosophical for a moment, it’s a movie about friendship, about the perils of ‘othering’, about how we can be kind to and for each other. It’s truly a perfect film; the plot is well constructed, casting is excellent, and the visuals (like the 5.5 million animated pieces of hair) are gorgeous. Love this one.
- Thursday 13 August 2020:
The Incredibles, Brad Bird (2004) 4/5
Yeah, so writing that Pixar list got me in the mood for some re-watches, ok?! The Incredibles comes in at number four on my list, and it is also an excellent film. It’s the most mature of the Pixar films, with adult themes, a marriage on the rocks, and a mid-life crisis to carry forward the plot. It also holds my most quoted line: “Honey, where’s my super suit?” It would be remiss of me to not mention one of the best characters ever created by Pixar: Edna Mode. Modelled after renowned costume designer Edith Head, Edna is voiced by director Brad Bird, and lights up every scene she’s in. “Edna. Mode. … And guest.” I mean, come on!
- Friday 14 August 2020:
Inside Out, Pete Doctor (2015) 4.5/5
Ok I promise this is the last Pixar film. Inside Out appears at number two on my list, and for good reason. The heartfelt moment when Pixar kicks you in the gut? Well, this movie is just basically that, over and over. Never has a film perfectly captured the way we feel and think as humans. Thought you couldn’t get a depression analogy in a kid’s film? Think again. I know this will be a film I’ll pull out when I have children, to show them that it’s ok to be angry, or sad, or scared sometimes. It’s a wonderful lesson to kids growing up, and for grown-ups too. I just love this film. The lighting is beautiful. Voice actors are incredible and perfectly cast. Bing Bong… no… I can’t handle it. It’s truly a perfect film. Dare I say, it might even be making its way to number one…
- Saturday 15 August 2020:
YouTube deep-dives – Honeybees, (always and forever) 4/5
Picture it with me: you’re on day 70-thousand of isolation. You’re bored. You’re so bored that you’ve sounded the word out too many times and now it’s lost all meaning. Bore-d. Bo-red. B-ored. Weird. Anyway. So you open your phone, and a phenomenon begins. You click on a video, harmless enough, about how bees make honey. The next minute you’ve been watching 20 videos about bees, it’s ten years in the future and your children are asking for dinner. Where did the time go? Into learning about swarms and spores and capped hives and Queens and stores, of course. Do I regret this? Definitely not. Do I now know a completely useless amount of information about bees? Absolutely. Do I have a favourite bee channel? Yes: Vino Farm (Balboa’s on its third generation Queen now).
Here’s the thing: sometimes you get sucked into the vortex of a YouTube deep-dive. It seems to sneak up on you every time, but we’ve all experienced it. Last month, it was frisbee-golf (which I would highly recommend searching), the month before that, the Crufts 2020 finals (also a great watch). Deep-dives are weird and disconcerting, but they’re also kind of wonderful. It’s what happens from following a train of thought and wanting to learn something about the world. And now I know about bees, which is kind of cool.
- Sunday 16 August 2020:
Another evening spent writing assignments, unfortunately.
- Monday 17 August 2020:
50 Shades of Grey, Sam Taylor-Johnson (2015) 2.5/5
I know. I know. I know, ok?! Here’s the thing. This is a crap movie. It’s a weird concept. The dialogue is so awful and stilted. There’s no plot. None of the events flow logically. There are so many things wrong with it. So many. But… and hear me out… it’s also kind of enjoyable?? Kind of?! I mean the BDSM stuff is a little odd, and it seems like he’s just into it because he’s a misogynist… BUT she is given agency. I mean, looking at this as a self-contained story, she does stand up for herself and says no to him. I’m assuming there are no other movies set after this and Anastasia goes off and lives a happy life as a strong, independent woman. If you want something pithy, or if you want to laugh about how ridiculous it is, it’s a good one to pop on.
- Tuesday 18 August 2020:
The Social Network, David Fincher (2010) 4/5
In high school film subjects, you get introduced to the concept of bringing baggage with you into every film you watch, which determines how you watch something. Watching a movie about Mark Zuckerberg in 2020, I had very different baggage coming into this film than I did any of the other times I’ve seen it. David Fincher is a great director, there’s no doubt about that. Aaron Sorkin’s script is phenomenal. The performances are also top-notch. But I take issue, this time around, with the sympathy we’re sort of made to feel for Zuckerberg. The final shot, lingering on him constantly refreshing his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page awaiting an approved friend request, paints this picture as sad. If Erica hadn’t broken up with him, he wouldn’t have created Facebook. And that’s sad, and something we’re supposed to feel sorry for. But I don’t feel sorry at all for a man who allows dangerous lies and propaganda to breed on his stupid website that keeps me in contact with people I had one maths class with in grade nine. Sorry, I digress. It’s certainly interesting and yes, even though I hate him, it is remarkable what he did. And it’s very clear that if not officially diagnosed, he definitely has some tendencies that make him unaware of certain social cues. But that doesn’t excuse what he’s done.
In terms of filmmaking, it’s pretty much perfect. If you’ve already seen it, I would recommend a YouTube search on Fincher’s techniques. Maybe a YouTube deep-dive, perhaps…?
Well, that wraps up six weeks of watching a movie (almost) every night. Here’s what I learned: By week three I learned that projects are annoying, and forcing yourself to do something you love can take the joy out of it. I learned I’m terrible at writing to a deadline. I learned that I personally like re-watching old favourites as much as I enjoy new releases. And that sometimes it’s ok to not do a project and bake some cookies if you’re sad.
Melbourne’s Lockdown 2.0 (2.5? Honestly, I don’t know anymore) has been extended, and so I’ll still be watching movies, albeit maybe a little less regimented. This little project has kept me sane and brought some sense of routine into my life, so I’m actually kind of grateful for it. Thanks for reading. Keep watching things, stay safe, and mask up!
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