No, I haven’t seen the new Harry Potter yet. In fact, I am approximately 3-5 years behind on movies, as evidenced by the 150 movies in my Blockbuster Online queue. Since I tend to like things that are a little offbeat and don’t always do well at the box office (please don’t tell me I would like the Matrix movies, Fantastic Four, or Legally Blonde 2) I thought I’d share what I’ve been watching lately, in case you might have missed any of them.
Miss Potter — This is actually a new release — see? I’m catching up. It is the true story of Beatrix Potter, who wrote the story of Peter Rabbit, and many other lovely little books I was very fond of as a child. She was a strong woman at a time when women were supposed to marry well and stay out of people’s way. It is also a love story. If you enjoy period pieces (Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, or even Anne of Green Gables) you will love it. Most husbands, probably not.
Thoroughly Modern Millie — This movie musical was made in the 1960s about the 1920s. It is zany. It is madcap. It is unabashedly silly. You might hate it. I loved it. I think if you love stuff like My Fair Lady, you should give it a try. It stars Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing, who are all fabulous.
Big Fish — I was warned that this movie was a little strange. Of course, said I. It was directed by Tim Burton, the king of strange. I actually thought it was pretty fantastic. Surreal, as you would expect his stuff to be, but not nearly as weird as, say, The Corpse Bride. It is actually pretty tender, meaningful, and thought-provoking.
A Prairie Home Companion — I loved this movie, but I also listen to the radio show of the same name pretty regularly. It doesn’t have much of a plot, to be honest. But, you might like it if you enjoy quirky characters (remember the Newhart show? Not the older one, but the 80s one that took place in an inn?), and that “behind the scenes” feeling. It’s like Studio 60, but for really nerdy people. This movie has an amazing all-star cast, which tells me that a lot of Hollywood folks have the same affection for Garrison Keillor that I do, and signed on without thinking the movie would be a big hit.
Stranger Than Fiction — Another new release — are you impressed? I know you’ve already seen this one. Just in case you haven’t, I would highly recommend it. Just such a unique, interesting piece of film-making. And with Will Ferrell, Queen Latifah, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson, each playing a role which is unusual for them. Is it just me, or is that just an unexpected cast of actors? The stars of Talladega Nights, Big Momma’s House, Tootsie, and Remains of the Day just don’t seem like they should fit together, do they? Also, I really like Maggie Gyllenhaal, even though it seems like every movie I’ve seen her in has her playing the same sex-kitten character. Plus her brother is so handsome.
Please tell me what you’ve been watching lately that was worth 2 hours of your time!
On a separate note, I’ve somehow managed to catch the debuts of both of the new singing contest reality shows — why does that keep happening, where two identical shows come out at the same time? Do people in Hollywood all have spies so they can steal each other’s ideas? Anyway, I just wondered if anyone else has had the pleasure of viewing Singing Bee or Don’t Forget the Lyrics. I enjoyed both shows, because, hey, who doesn’t like to sing along to random pop songs? Do we think either one will last past the summer? I think I preferred “Don’t Forget…” since it was hosted by Wayne Brady, who I enjoy, and the other one was hosted by one of those NSync dudes, who I don’t. Also, “Singing Bee” had these horrible cheezy dancers, and the last round was all but impossible to win. (You had to sing the entire chorus of the song without getting any word incorrect — one girl was knocked out because she sang “Take me home, country road” instead of roads. It was annoying.)