Quick Reviews: Darkest Hour and The Shape of Water

[This post contains spoilers in the form of CWs for The Shape of Water – They’re in the very last paragraph if you wish to avoid them.]

Darkest Hour

I have no idea what twists of the tides of fates (or whose design) brought this film out in the same year as Dunkirk. I think it’s unfortunate for this film, though. Where Dunkirk took a well-known story and told it in a new way, bringing both the personal implications and the larger situation into focus, Darkest Hour was just kind of fine.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Gary Oldman played a freaking fantastic Churchill. It was very clear to me he put heart, soul and work into the role. But the story wasn’t told through any interesting framework. We weren’t getting any new perspective on it. The things the film chose to highlight were pretty predictable. It was a solid biopic, but I’d much rather have seen either a story I know less (maybe some later parts of Churchill in the war, or his political fall instead of the rise) or seen the story through someone else’s eyes.

I feel as though a very good candidate for re-centering the film would’ve been Churchill’s wife, Clementine Churchill, played by Kristen Scott Thomas. I feel as though the movie gave her short shrift. I would’ve loved to see more of her perspective and her story.

The framing character was, instead, Elizabeth Layton, Churchill’s secretary (played by Lily James). But we learned almost nothing about her except in relation to Churchill himself. The scraps we’re given of her past are not enough to root her solidly in the emotional reality of the film.

The film was overall well put together, but even though I was laughing, crying and being inspired at the right times, it feels bland in my memory.

I predict it’ll make it firmly into the rounds of movies teachers show the day before a holiday and will make no other particular dent on film history.

The Shape of Water

The first disclaimer is that I’m generally a Guillermo del Toro fan. I haven’t unreservedly loved every movie of his that I’ve seen, but I am frequently in love with something about them – the look, the mood, the themes, the surreality…

The Shape of Water I loved. It was a beautiful story compellingly told. The choices made in color palette and repeated imagery were striking and appropriate. The themes were resonant. I suspect when I watch it again, I’ll find more and more hidden things thrumming through it. This is del Toro at his best, I think.

Unlike some other films that are in the ‘best of del Toro’ category (Pan’s Labyrinth) this film was mostly heartwarming and lovely. (Not to say there aren’t awful scary danger parts. There are.) The characters are broad and rich and believable, even though the world they live in isn’t, particularly. Thus the 50s b-movie-style science fiction elements are rooted in deep and genuine emotion and elevated to something greater than one might expect.

It’s a grand romance in a strangely traditional Hollywood style, in spite of its scifi flavor.

I really, really enjoyed it. This is the stuff that keeps me coming back to del Toro’s films even after a few that aren’t so captivating. I know when he strikes it right, it resonates so deeply and beautifully I can feel it in my gut.

I will warn that one pet does die in the film. Also, there is a scene of sexual harassment. Just for y’all’s info.

My current level of inability to cope with my life is represented by the 113 unread emails in my personal inbox. Not helped by the fact that I’m working this weekend because it’s finals.

Don’t let anyone kid you, college students — everyone hates finals. It’s not just you. Staff, profs, teaching assistants….anyone who has to deal with them.

In spite of extra work, I am going to try to get to see The Shape Of Water this weekend, and possibly also Darkest Hour.

Here’s some recommendations for folks who actually have time this weekend!

Netflix

First, I would like to note that Netflix has several big-time franchise movies right now, including Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (super fun) and Rogue One (super not-fun but quite good).

It also has one of my favorite cheesy action flicks, XXX.

The first time I saw this movie, when I got to the end of an early scene where our hero is jumping a motorcycle off a building that was in the process of exploding, I was like, “This is the best fucking movie I’ve ever seen.”

It isn’t, actually, but the action scenes are a lot of fun. I kind of love the whole franchise, tbh. The films are not an intellectual challenge or anything, but they’re playing into being exactly what they are – badass stunts and explosions aplenty.

In fact, let’s take a moment to consider the stunt persons. They are epic. I appreciate what they do.

I am also totally psyched for the new season of One Day At A Time that will be coming out in January. If you haven’t watched it, try season 1. It’s fun, thoughtful, kid-safe and charming.

Hulu

Hulu has Gifted, which I’ve watched some of and is quite good and Runaways, which is one of my favorite freaking Marvel comics runs of all time. The trailer made it look amazing, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.

They also have the adorable and under-rated Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

It’s a dancing movie about friendships among girls and the usual teenaged stuff. It has a great soundtrack and is quite a feel-good watch.

It also has a surprisingly great cast – Shannon Doherty, Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt are all in it. Also, watch for a random appearance from one of my faves, Robert Downey, Jr.

Prime Streaming

I got a delightful surprise this week when I came home one night to find out that Amazon’s streaming video is now accessible from my AppleTV (which is my household’s main source of stuff to go on the ticky-talky box). That’s probably neither here nor there to most of you, but I wanted to mention it, in case it was.

Prime has The Big Sick, a film I’ve mentioned favorably, before. It’s a warm and moving movie probably even if you’re not already on the Kumail Nanjiani bandwagon, which I certainly was as a huge fan of his stand-up.

An aside, I finally started listening to Nanjiani’s X Files podcast and it is a freaking delight.

They also have Mr. Robot, a tense techno-thriller show with some really interesting character stuff.

If you’re looking for something lighter, consider the action comedy Rush Hour 2. For some reason the first one isn’t on streaming, but the sequel is and I don’t think it’ll hurt from the lack of the first, if you haven’t seen it.

Kids

In term of movies for little observers, Amazon is weak on movie options, but they seem to have all the Christmas specials ever made right now. Hulu still has all the freaking Disney. A good one to try might be the kid-aimed sports movie The Mighty Ducks.

On Netflix, check out Zootopia, if you haven’t. It’s an animal-as-people movie that’s better and more thoughtful than I imagined it could be. They also have a metric tonne of Christmas stuff if that is your jam.

GOOD LUCK and see y’all next week.

 

Booze, Women and Huh?

So, if you’re on twitter and breathing air, you probably heard about Sen. Chuck Grassley’s comments on what keeps folks from investing their money. He has now claimed that his comments were taken out of context (though I don’t see in what context they could be anything other than irritating and offensive), so I thought I’d break this down.

I see more movies in the theater than anyone I know.  I’m sure it’s not record-setting, but a movie a week adds up.

I have kept numbers now on how much I spend on movies in the theater since 2014.

I’ve spent an average of $10 per ticket – an average of just over $600 a year on movies in the theater. That’s $2413 on roughly 240 movies over the last four years. Could I have religiously saved that money and “invested” it, instead. Sure. In theory. Anyone who spends most of their money knows that’s not really how it goes. You put $10 or $15 in savings per week and it doesn’t get invested. It goes. It goes on emergencies or on unexpected expenses or on trips or on presents at Christmastime.

Instead I spent it on industry. An industry that has spent money all over the U.S. and which creates work for tens of thousands of small businesses.

I am not saying the industry is saintly or anything. There are plenty of problems with the way they’re funded and the way they carve up the profits of their enterprises, as well as with the products they produce. The point is, this is how capitalism is supposed to work. The film industry comes closer to successful trickle-down economics than almost anything else I can think of.

Grassley’s point, in saying dismissively that the new tax bill rewards “investors” over consumers is this notion that if you save all your money and spend it on property, you’re somehow more virtuous and more deserving. But without people who actually spend money on things, American industry would collapse.

This is not at all a new concept.

Not to mention, I, who sees far more movies than anyone else that I know would have saved less than $2500 in four years by being absolutely ascetic. Movies are entertainment for me, sure. They’re also socialization and engagement and relief and escapism. Pretty good bang for the buck, too, at $5 an hour.

Would avoiding seeing all those movies allow me to actually do anything? Could I buy a house with $2500? Obviously not. Could I even make a down-payment on one? No. Experts advise putting down 20 percent. Average house value in my town according to Zillow is well over half a million dollars. The minimum down-payment I would need to get a mortgage that would cover a house here would be about $20,000. That’s 32 years of seeing zero movies. I would be 72 and much spiritually poorer for the (lack of) experience. (Not to mention the target may have shifted, somewhat, by that time.)

I see an average of 60 movies a year. The average American sees 5. Five. Movies. $50. Maybe $100 if they see everything in imax 3d.

So even if we leave aside Mr. Grassley’s obvious contempt for people who can’t afford property and who prefer love, celebration and entertainment over spending half a lifetime saving to *maybe* be able to have an ‘estate’ someday (and we shouldn’t leave it aside, but for the sake of argument…) we find that once again, some folks who allegedly lead us don’t have any fucking clue how money works down here on the ground.

Not really a shock. None of them have had their feet on the ground in years.

Maybe they should take in a movie like us common folk.

Like maybe this one:

Or this one:

Or this one:

Or shit, any film about folks who make less money than they do might lend them a sliver of empathy. Though if recent political news is any indication, they might need to be injected with more than just a sliver.

Happy Friday, nerds.

This weekend I am planning on seeing one or more of the following: Lady BirdThe Man Who Invented ChristmasRoman J. Israel, esq., and Coco.

Movies I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks with great glee include The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s Abe Sapien whump and romance au fanfic, Downsizing, which looks like a bizarre mid-life crisis fantasy film, and, of course, the new Star Wars. I already have it penciled in to cry miserably as soon as I see Gen. Organa come on the screen. I will, for the record, be saving The Last Jedi to watch with my mom when I head Southwards to see her for Christmas, so I will be maybe the last person to see it.

The sacrifices I make for family. *dramatic sigh*

Here are some streaming recs if you’re planning on staying in, this weekend!

Netflix

I finally started watching The Punisher this week. I thought it would be a tough watch because the character of Frank Castle pretty much equals wicked levels of violence. The show is, indeed, violent, but it also has deeply thoughtful engagement with its violence and with PTSD, the various costs of soldier-hood and with the emotional state of people who lose someone or lose part of themselves. All in all, I’m finding it a much easier watch than Jessica Jones (which was excellent, but suuuper difficult, for me) in spite of the violence.

If you’re in for something shorter, Netflix is streaming the biopic The Imitation Game. — I have been furious about the story of Alan Turing ever since I had first heard it. In spite of this movie’s flaws, it tells his story with compassion (though not in the depth I had hoped).

If biopics or Benedict Cumberbatch aren’t your thing, consider the film 9. It’s animated, but not for young kids. The story is pretty scary and deeply emotional. It’s a beautiful, but dark tale set after the apocalypse.

Hulu

Hulu has Contact – a big cerebral piece of science fiction starring Jodie Foster from the novel by Carl Sagan. It’s full of Ideas and well worth a watch.

Prime

Amazon has the only Thanksgiving film of which I am aware, Home for the Holidays. It’s a comedy about family bullshit, so cw for all that entails.

Kids

Amazon has the adorable and hopeful Happy Feet. Hulu has the 90s live-action George of the Jungle, which is extremely silly but has some good gags.

Netflix has the inspiring Queen of Katwe, true story of Phiona Mutesi, a chess champion that came up from slums in Uganda to become a competitive chess player. The film is not an easy watch, as it is unflinchingly honest about poverty and its consequences, but it is a great story and done with all the polish you’d expect from a Disney film.

As a bonus, you’ll come out with this stuck in your head:

which is fun.

I hope y’all have a great weekend!

What’s funny? The Curse of Corrosive Snobbery

[This post contains spoilers for A Bad Moms Christmas and Bridesmaids]

A friend of mine, after I posted about not liking cringe humor a few weeks back, asked me what kind of humor I do like in movies.

She loves lots of cringe humor and considers that we have very similar senses of humor (we definitely find a lot of the same stuff funny) and wondered, I think, where the disconnect is.

I generally don’t consider myself a fan of comedy movies qua comedy movies. So many of them seem to feature humor that is cruel and punches down (humor that hinges on mocking people who are already disadvantaged in our culture), or takes someone else’s embarrassment and expects me to laugh at it.

A prime example of this kind of humor is Bridesmaids, which I went to see because all the media around it kept harping on the notion that it was a make or break for women in comedy — as though if that movie failed, there would be a decade before there were any more comedies featuring women.

As it was, it did pretty well and paved the way for The HeatGirls Trip and Pitch Perfect and a lot of the other great women-led comedies of the past several years. (Not that it was the only thing paving the way for these films, but without it, some of them may not have been green lit.)

I found a lot of the movie terribly funny, but some scenes made me squirm and at least one made me want to wither and die right there in the theater. The scene where one of the characters, bitter that everyone else can afford to fly first class and she can’t, gets super drunk and makes a scene on the plane.

Watching someone continuously and egregiously push social boundaries like that tweaks my anxiety in the worst way. I’m sure there’s plenty of psychological issues inherent in my reaction, but it goes well beyond finding it not funny. It hurts.

I enjoy absurdist humor. I enjoy fourth-wall breaking and self-aware self-mockery. The Heat‘s humor all came out of the main characters being unapologetically what they were and then doing the best they could. They weren’t incompetent or bumbling, but they did behave outside of expectations for their jobs and gender sometimes. They felt real and honest and well-drawn. Most of the humor came out of their methods conflicting with each other and how they each learned to roll with the other’s style.

So I don’t actually hate comedies. I like them. But I’m wary of embracing them all sight unseen as a group the way I do scifi films or horror films. Yes there are films I can’t stand in the latter two genres, but there are a lot fewer and it feels like the reasons I don’t like those films are individual and specific rather than a systemic issue that builds to a whole sub-genre of things that make me squirm in discomfort.

Of course, this disinclination to engage with an entire genre can lead me to miss stuff that I should see.

This weekend, I saw A Bad Moms Christmas with a friend. In spite of my adoration of Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell, I hadn’t seen the first film in the franchise. I saw this one because I’ve been having a nagging feeling that missing the first one was an error.

BMC may be my new favorite Christmas movie. It was hilarious. It was also moving in places, but wasn’t too heavy. Perhaps the funniest scene in it involved one of the main characters waxing the genitalia of a male stripper and having a romantic meet-cute conversation with him at the same time. It was genuinely a sweet conversation but the juxtaposition of the sweet words with over-exaggerated waxing sound-effects and matter of fact descriptions of what was going on out of the camera’s sight lines made it so fucking funny to me.

Everyone in that scene was happy. No one was (emotionally) uncomfortable. Yet I laughed my ass off.

Humor and laughter are a way of processing disrupted expectations and assumptions. So is anxiety. I almost feel like they’re two areas of a spectrum the way that anger and sadness are two areas of the spectrum of dealing with hurt and disappointment. It’s not really a surprise to me that something that provokes laughter in one person might well provoke anxiety in another.

Opening myself up to a broader range of art always feels like a good thing to me. And the knee-jerk snobbery and fear that leads me to avoid entire franchises or entire genres, sometimes always winds up leading me astray in the end.

So I don’t know exactly where to draw the lines. Maybe they should just go entirely. After all, being anxious for a little while in a movie isn’t the worst thing in the world. But, of course, lines always get drawn because I can’t see everything. We’ll see.

In the meantime, here’s a short (and incomplete) list of comedies I really, really enjoyed:

The To-Do List

Love and Friendship

Pitch Perfect

Obvious Child

Dear White People

Top Five

What We Do In The Shadows

Grandma

Deadpool

What do all these films have in common? Not freaking much, as far as I can tell.

Hey all. I’m seeing Justice League this weekend, and I may also try to get to Lady Bird.

Here are some streaming recs for this week.

I shy away from recommending things that I feel like everyone has seen, but in truth there is nothing everyone has seen. So today I’m going to rec some stuff I believe was widely viewed, and which is good enough to justify that popularity.

Netflix

Netflix has the incomparable Men In Black. I wind up loving a lot of movies based on comic books. This one’s antecedents are in a relatively obscure indie that started coming out in the early nineties. The movie was enough of a powerhouse at the box office to create a franchise. No doubt this was in part due to Will Smith’s starring role. Coming just after his role in Independence DayMen In Black solidified Smith’s ability to carry off an action comedy role.

Smith wound up starring in a ton of scifi action movies over the following decades. And references to this movie still float around my cohort to this day.

The film also capitalized on the popularity of tv’s the X-Files, which was a strong performer throughout the mid nineties.

It’s really quite funny and full of some great action scenes and one-liners.

Rated PG-13, Men in Black is safe for a lot of kids, I should think.

Hulu

Based on the classic TV show from the 60’s and 70’s that many folks of my generation saw in reruns, the 90s Mission Impossible movie adaptation took a lot of well -known tropes from the show and gave them a high Hollywood shine.

Scenes and tropes from this movie (and from this franchise) wound up referenced in a lot of other places. So you might see something you recognize, even if you haven’t seen it before.

Mission Impossible is also rated PG-13, but the violence in it is more realistic, as is the peril. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids.

Amazon

Amazon has the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, and Kate Winslet. I had already been an Austen-head (Aust-fan? Austling?) for years when it came out and it’s since become one of my comfort movies.

I saw it on a very awkward date with a fellow in college, but I love it anyway. Thompson, in addition to starring, was the person who adapted the novel for the screen. I think it’s a fantastic job, in spite of the many differences from the book.

It’s rated PG and is fine for kids, I believe, though I don’t know how interested that they’d be.

Kid Friendly

Check out E.T. on Netflix (the first movie I remember seeing in the theater), or on Hulu, check out a bunch of classic Disney films, including one of my favorites as a kid, The Rescuers.

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Have a good weekend, folks!

Let’s Help Some Folks Stay Fed

Hey all,

The Festive Season often brings thoughts of charitable giving for me. I’ve done different things in different years both to give money to good causes myself and to encourage others to do the same.

Most of my giving these days goes to getting people fed in my hometown. It’s basic, but so fundamentally important.

This year, I’d like to offer you all something if you contribute, as well.

If you donate at least $20 to The Greater Boston Food Bank, Food for Free or your own local food pantry or food reclamation & distribution charity, I’ll write a post specifically for you. Want a movie review, a real-time commentary post, a particular topic or a list of movies, video games or comics around your specifications? Want to force me to watch something I normally wouldn’t at all? Now is your opportunity. Or you could do it just to make someone in your community a little happier.

Send your receipts and accompanying requests to thanksgiving2017@metagnat.com and let me know how you’d like to be identified (if at all) when I post your piece.

Believe it or not, I have trouble finishing movies by myself.

It’s difficult to force myself to sit through things that are at all emotionally difficult. Left to my own devices, I tend to watch stuff that is low-stakes or cheesy or that I’ve seen before — sometimes all three!

There are plenty of movies I’ve seen a ton of times, as a result of this tendency. I don’t get people who can only watch something once (or read, or hear or play something only once). I mean – it’s okay. I just don’t get it.

I will watch certain movies just to experience the moods inhabit, or to revisit the characters like old friends. Sometimes it’s just to scratch an undefinable itch in my brain. Like when you hear a snippet of a song you love and then you have to go listen to the whole thing.

Sometimes I re-watch a movie chasing whatever head-space it put me in the first time I ever saw it. I have at least one movie I am literally not allowed to watch more than once a year because if I did, I’d watch it constantly chasing the mental space it brings. I usually watch it even less, even though it’s one of my favorites of all time. I want it to retain the maximum possible impact.

Then there are other films I just watch whenever. I can’t even think of a through-line that these movies have other than they don’t jangle my anxiety. Some of them because they aren’t that kind of film, but more of them, I suspect, because I’ve seen them so many times they’ve been de-fanged.

Watching a new movie is something I need to be in the right mood for. It’s easier in the theater when I have no control over when the film starts or stops. It’s one of the reasons I keep on with seeing so many movies in the theater.

It’s easier for me to watch at home if someone else is with me, too. Particularly someone who hasn’t seen the film before. I am fortunate enough to have some friends who trust me when I invite them into unknown fiction, so I get to do this on a pretty regular basis.

And sometimes I can force myself to keep on through something difficult. I watched season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil in 10 minute increments with large pauses to calm down in between. I was also sick enough at the time to feel hazy and somewhat emotionally distant about the grimness and violence.

It’s funny. I know it is. Because I do love movies. And I do love fictions. And some of the ones I love are full of gore and awfulness. I am a huge fan of certain kinds of horror movies. I also love cheesy action and that can be full of violence, too. The thing that gets me is emotional connection to violence. I can’t really watch realistic war movies. I have trouble with torture scenes, particularly ones where someone’s head is being fucked with. On the same spectrum: I can’t watch embarrassment comedy. It really quickly overwhelms any emotional distance I have and makes me profoundly uncomfortable.

All this is apropos of nothing in particular. Just kind of a note to say – however you interact with stories, it’s fine. We’re all weird, somehow. This is just one way that I am. And raking myself over the coals (or being pushed by others) has never even come close to getting me past it.

I decided at some point to give myself a break and roll with it. It’s one of those arenas it’s much easier to change your environment and the way it interacts with you than it is to change yourself to fit the environment.

Life is already hard – don’t make it harder, if you can avoid it. Embrace the weirdness of your brain and find a way to work with it. Your story-times will be happier and so will you.

There is a saying among motorcyclists about riders who have been hit by cars:

“Saying ‘I didn’t see them’ is not a defense. It’s an admission of guilt.”

Motorcyclists hit by cars fare very badly. Cars hit by motorcycles generally come through just fine. Cars are deadly to other things on the roads, sometimes, in part because car drivers are unused to keeping an eye out for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians in some places. But not being used to looking out for something so different on the roads is not actually an excuse for running into it.

The driver is still making choices and cultivating awareness (or lack thereof) that led to someone else getting hurt.

The societal systems through which we interact are kind of like that, too. There are laws to try to ensure that we share the road, but conventions often leave a substantial sub-set of humanity out of the calculus of safety.

We can help to change that through the choices we make and the awareness that we cultivate. There has been a lot of talk lately about the importance of diversity for minority folks (particularly kids). To see oneself reflected in media is to feel that one can achieve things beyond one’s immediate context.

This reflection still, currently, reflects a lot more white, Western folks than other colors and cultures. It reflects more straight people than queer, more men than women, more cis people than trans folks, more able-bodied folks than disabled folks….

The environment where we still normalize and make default the cis, white, Western, able-bodied, straight man is an environment that doesn’t just cost people who don’t fit in that circle. It affects us all. We miss out when all people aren’t encouraged to reach their full potential. And we miss out personally when we can’t relate to folks who aren’t exactly like ourselves.

It is, for instance, just as important for any random boy to see that a black girl can be a superhero as it is for the black girl herself.

Stories are an important way that we learn to empathize with people who are not like ourselves. They can connect us to people who lived thousands of years ago or people who go to space or people who live on the other side of the planet. They can surely help to connect us to someone with a different skin color or background.

When you find internalized prejudice in yourself (as almost any of us who do any self-examination will), it’s your job to try to de-fang and unseat that prejudice. An easy and pleasant way to do that is to expose yourself to more stories about folks who aren’t just like you.

Prejudice is often defeated person-to-person as an acquaintance with someone in a group disproves what another person thinks they know about that group. But that is a heavy burden to place at the door of folks who already have systemic injustice and everyday life to deal with.

There are plenty of nice ally 101 articles around the web that give solid tips like “research before you ask your acquaintances questions” and “don’t let racist/sexist comments slide – use your privilege to speak up”. This is part of activism 301. Look inside yourself and see what assumptions you’re making. Figure out ways to crowbar those assumptions open and broaden your perspective.

Complex stories can help you to see folks who are different than you as real people with full lives. Stories with heroes that don’t look or love or worship like you can help you to open your mind about the heroic potential in everyone.

Stories can help you to be a better person and a better ally.

Some simple things you can do in this vein include following folks who are different to you on social media. Listen to what they have to say on a daily basis, not just about their identities but about everything.

If the only stories you watch about people of color or queer folks or anyone in any minority category are civil rights period pieces, consider broadening your outlook. Seek out stories that are not about the identity politics of a person but includes their identities as part of a full humanity.

This is not to say that a civil rights story can’t have full, true characters, but there are so many more aspects to minority lives than the struggle for justice.

Make sure your media diet includes stories by minority writers and directors, not just stories written about minorities by white dudes. It might take a little extra effort, but it’ll be richly rewarded. I think you’ll find truth in the words of Alan Yang, co-creator of Netflix’s Master of None, “Thank you to all the straight white guys who dominated movies and TV so hard, and for so long, that stories about anyone else seem kind of fresh and original.”

So let folks who aren’t like you into your imagination and your emotional world. It’s not the only way to unseat your internal prejudice, but it’s a relatively easy and frequently entertaining way to work on making yourself a better person. You choose what you’re exposed to (and what your kids are exposed to).

You choose what you see. Saying you lack exposure is not an excuse for ignorance or prejudice. It is an admission of guilt.

I have the day off from work, today and have gotten very little done.

I don’t have much in the way of either streaming recs or stuff I’m going to see. I’m seeing Thor for the second time this weekend, but there seems to be a kind of a lull before most of the Christmas movies and Oscar hopefuls hit.

I thought I’d take a bit of time to highlight some movies on streaming that I wasn’t particularly fond of, but which might tickle your fancy.

Chappie is a story about an AI’s awful childhood told by the director of District 9. It is extraordinarily gritty and violent and had a lot of elements that irritated me (particularly in conjunction with some other AI movies I saw around the same time, but that’s another post). It was interesting and well-done, with really well fleshed-out characters–just not at all my cup of tea.

If you’ve seen District 9, you’ll find it has some similar themes and flavors.

Chappie is streaming on Netflix.

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Bound is a 90s thriller containing lesbian themes that gave a bunch of wlw at my college the hots for Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly (especially Gershon). It is a difficult watch because (again) it’s full of violence, but it does have a hopeful ending for the lesbian couple.

Honestly, I haven’t watched it all the way through since it was in the theater, but I remember it being well done.

The film is much harsher than this trailer makes it look, as I recall. Bound is streaming on Hulu.

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What If is a movie about profoundly unhealthy relationships and profoundly bad boundaries. It has stupendous actors and great performances, but is billed as a romantic comedy. I think if I had gone into it expecting a movie about unhealthy relationships with bad boundaries and unlikeable characters, I would have enjoyed it a lot better. It was billed as a romcom. Viewed as a romcom, it is awful.

[CW for transphobic language towards the end of the trailer. As I said, unlikable characters.]

What If is streaming on Amazon Prime.

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And now, I am heading back to tempering some epic laziness with a tiny smattering of chores.