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MM8: A Review

I think this was the first year I lived the entirety of Movie Marathon offline.  I mean, I've been slack-assing all of my online haunts of late, but it wasn't just a result of me being lazy.  No one was super-familiar with the lineup as a whole; on average, people had seen about two movies of the twelve beforehand.  I think we all paid more attention than usual.  Maybe too much attention.  I feel like the Mystery Science Theater 3000 style jawing was down at least 25%.

Okay, quick bits about each movie.

In Bruges - There's one movie each year that I'm desperate for everyone to love.  Sometimes it's a guaranteed slam dunk like Black Dynamite, other times it's less of a sure thing.  After the night was all over, more than one person told me this was their favourite out of the lot.  Colin Farrell is so fucking good in this movie, it made me like him not just as an actor but as a person.  So glad this was liked as much as it was.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel - This was a bugger of a movie to get our hands on (thanks, Jorge!) and was a total wild card selection.  It was one of only two comedies that people showed any interest in seeing, but I picked it based on Rebecca's recommendation.  Very fun flick.  And I think the resulting fan film was my favourite of the batch.

Double Indemnity - People were basically so-so with this movie.  Classics can be tricky in this format - I remember On the Waterfront got a similar reception.  There's definitely a greater degree of patience required, and this is really an event geared toward the music-video addled, explosion-and-boob craving side of our brains. 

This Film is Not Yet Rated - Very convincingly condemns the MPAA for penalizing films that explore female sexuality and pleasure, and for giving a free pass to violence over sex in general.  Convincing at least up to the 40 minute mark, where it runs out of new points to make and just gets bombastic and repetitive. 

Grave of the Fireflies - We've never played such a fantastically sad movie before.  Even knowing its reputation prior to screening, I welcomed it just as an experiment.  And it was great.  And I never want to see it again.  I find it easier to make it through films and books that cover really widespread tragedy.  Personal tragedy kills me.  Especially when it involves kids.  (ESPECIALLY because the girl was close enough in age for me to very easily imagine her as Veronica.)  I really just had to shut off my humanity for the second half to make it all the way though.  I'm reminded of when we watched The Mist back in 2009.  I saw it alone one night and thought it would make a great selection for Movie Marathon, particularly because of the super feel-bad ending.  (SPOILER.  The hero -- thinking that he and everyone he's with will inevitably be torn apart by monsters -- uses his remaining bullets to kill everyone in his party, including his son.  He then steps out of the car to await death... but the mist starts to clear and the army arrives to save the day.)  I knew Jorge would hate it, because he was the only one of us at the time to actually have a kid.  But I played it anyways.  And he very rightfully hated it.  And now, at least in part, I've paid for it. 

The Raid: Redemption - One of three movies that came out in 2011 that people online just went bananas over, to the degree that each one was a lock for the MM8 lineup even before we voted.  (The others were V/H/S and Cabin in the Woods.)  As it turned out, this movie was exactly as good as the hype suggested.  Just a bunch of exceptionally good martial artists beating the ever-loving shit out of each other.  The story was just a frame to hang a bunch of fights on.  Everyone loved this.

Diggstown - I saw this soon after it came out, which is 20 years ago now.  I remembered enough about it to know that, by the end, everyone would be happy they'd seen it.  But I didn't remember it scene by scene, so there was good chance it might have been boring.  Not the case at all.  Enjoyed by all.  Also, my favourite fan photo of the night.

Raising Cain - Like Diggstown, saw it a long time ago, only remembered a few specific scenes.  (Specifically the best one, where John Lithgow's super-convincing Little Boy personality undergoes an interrogation).  In the end, it's sort of a silly, hammy movie.  With huge chunks of exposition dumped in every so often.  It's like that the-psychiatrist-explains-everything scene at the end of Psycho -- except here it happens every 25 minutes.  (Raising Cain has the best tagline of the bunch though: "When Jenny cheated on her husband, he didn't just leave... He split.")

V/H/S - Piece/Of/Crap.  Horror anthology, found footage.  Please remind me to skip either of these types of movies from here on out.  The first sequence, where the fratty douches get killed by the vampire/succubus thingy, was good.  The rest was shakycam, shakycam, shakycam, blurry shot of monster, we're dead.  And it felt like there weren't 18 sequences, each progressively more boring.

The Black Hole - Holds up!  I watched this one solo, so maybe others would disagree, but I found this totally watchable, with very decent special effects for the time.  I hadn't seen in for about 30 years, but all the dialogue was crazily familiar.  Then I realized that we had the audio version on vinyl back in the day.  Because people had audio versions of movies then.  On vinyl.  For whatever reason.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - I slept through at least 96% of this movie.  I'm sad we didn't make a fan film, but I didn't have enough hockey equipment to do it justice.  And we'd all had to have drawn straws to determine which of us would be the obese version of Lord Humongous.  Things probably worked out for the best.

Regrets in the end?  I regret V/H/S so very badly.  I also regret not talking to people more.  Like, we made stupid jokes and I said things like, "Who would like to hand me more alcohol?", but I wish I'd spent more time catching up with people.  Again, I think this was largely to do with the lineup.  Next year, more familiarity!  We'll just watch all the Rocky movies or something.

Jorge and Rebecca, thanks for traveling 7,000 kilometers once again.  Cathy and Mark, thanks for your very extended stays (great to have you here for so much of the day).  Shelley, I was totally not begging people to bring jagerbombs in that e-mail, but thank you for the jagerbombs!  Chris, thank for you the many and various other alcohols that you always carry on your person.  Lorna, thanks for returning (and also sticking around for a long while).  Sarah, thanks for making us look like excellent hosts and for continuing to endure me as a life partner.  

Geez, how close are we to MM10, eh? 


Mark Hand said…
Dude. What about Cabin in the Woods?!?!
Dave said…
Oh crap! Right! Um, I liked Cabin in the Woods, but I didn't love it. I think people made such a big deal about how important it was to know nothing about the story going in that I thought the plot reveals would blow my mind. But really, (SPOILER TERRITORY) even the cover of the movie, with the cabin shifting like a rubix cube, let's you know that it's not just a straight ahead horror movie - that the cabin is affected by some kind of behind-the-scenes manipulation. And during the movie itself, you pick up on the setup (if not the entirety of the story's mythology) within the first five minutes.

And then I didn't really find the story's mythology supportable. Strangely, I can accept old, evil gods/monsters under the earth demanding sacrifices, but how were those experiments set up and sustained? Were there two worlds: the lab world where everyone knew the real story, and the world of the experiment, where people were raised their whole lives Truman Show style, eventually destined for sacrifice? Or were there little compartmentalized experiment worlds that the test subjects were guided towards, not just not on a one-shot basis, but with some regularity (and in various locations across the world)? Cause I don't buy either.

And I thought some of the effects for when all hell broke loose were a little chintzy. There was a giant snake monster that reminded me of the giant snake monster in Buffy (which was such a bad effect that it almost sank a whole brilliant season for me).

Lotta complaining here. I did like it, and it was fun, and it played well, I just expected to love it and didn't.
Jorge said…
'Twas a good do, that be for sure. I went into Cabin In the Woods to review it (for Toronto Thumbs) - and I knew it was not a typical horror/thriller. I quite liked it.

But In Bruges was definitely my pick of the litter.

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