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2/27/2012

"And the Oscar goes to.."


Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the Oscars this season. But the event pretty much turned out as I predicted - French Movie made a comeback, Gwyneth looked great and Billy Crystal made some jokes.

While the Oscars are the perfect celebration of everything glamorous regarding the movie industry, I am slightly more interested in the darker side of film. The kinds of flicks, I hide in my closet when I have visitors and buy online late at night, with my shutters down, not wanting to be affiliated with them in public.

Until recently, I would never have considered revealing those to anyone, be it a priest, a therapist or a blank page in my memoirs. These are not first-rate movies, but they made some kind of impression, and although I don't particularly like what that says about me, I decided to let my inhibitions go, and give you the Top 5 of my all-time guilty pleasures in film, starting with the least embarrassing one - and the Academy Award category that fits best.


5. Freaky Friday, 2003, Comedic Body Swap, "Editing"

Being one of the most glorious moments in movie-history, this body swap jewel provides everything a middle-aged woman secretly desires. A glimpse of what it would be like to be young again this day and age, a most needed break from being "grown-up" and having grown-up responsibilities. Anna (Lindsay Lohan) changes places with her mother, (portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis) for one day, and basically all hell breaks loose in the process. At the end of this Disney movie, everyone understands everyone else much better.



The message
It's not too bad, being old. Not so nice as being young, but still, better than being dead. And that's what counts.

Replay value
Limitless, especially when pms-sing, so basically once every month.


4. In Her Shoes, 2005, Comedy-Drama, "Original Screenplay"
 

The same message as above applies to this movie. In the end, everyone understands everyone else better in the course of events. And this story manages to get there without the obligatory body swap magic. All it takes to accomplish this change, is for Maggie, played by Cameron Diaz (the out of control vamp who suffers from dyslexia) to crash at her grandmother's (Shirley MacLaine) place in Florida, and get a nursing job as she comes to terms with her own life. She finds out what she's good at and becomes a stylist for the elderly. Throughout the movie, her troubled relationship with her sister Rose (Toni Colette) escalates, but in the same way Maggie changes, Rose as well learns to let go of the family trauma, and she quits her job as a lawyer, becomes a dog walker and finally learns to let a man into her life.

The message 
Family trauma doesn't have to destroy you. It can make you stronger. Much like Gin and Martini, when joined, make for a really strong mixed drink!

Replay value
Limitless, because the movie remains superficial and evasive in its quest to portray problems regarding family and upbringing. I wouldn't have watched it that often, if it was a serious drama!




3. Edge of Darkness, 2010, Investigative Thriller, "Adapted Screenplay"

This movie is an adaptation of a BBC television series, and has promising elements to be a solid action movie. A young woman: shot. A conspiracy regarding nuclear research, brave activism and a cop whose sole purpose it is to get his vengeance. Yes! Wait a minute, why is this one on my list... Oh! Mel Gibson is in it, he plays the dead girl's father. I am sorry to admit, but after all the scandalous things regarding Mr. G (spot) I am unlikely to admit to anyone in public that I liked a movie with him as the lead. It does sound really unfair, but I can't help being branded by all these negative headlines. They have left wounds. Sorry Mel, but hey, at least I included it here.

 
The message 
None, really. Everyone dies, but at least father and daughter re-unite in heaven!

Replay value 
At least one or two times. There are some great moments of suspense, several twists and turns. I recommend drinking heavily towards the end.



2. The Other Boleyn Girl, 2008, Period Drama, "Costume Design"


I had to include a period drama at some point. And what period is more suited than the one with Henry VIII and his multitude of affairs, beheadings and court scandals? It's everything I need on a rainy Sunday. The Tudors cashed in on Henry VIII too, creating quite the successful tv series about this era. This movie however, picks out the well-known Boleyn period, the time when Henry (Eric Bana) broke the bonds with the Roman Catholic Church, got divorced from his wife, the Queen of Spain, to marry calculating Anne Boleyn (Nathalie Portman). The influential Boleyn family pulls the strings in the background, and plots to place all of their children at the royal court, with catastrophic results.

The message
Be content with what you have, because when you sleep with a king, you may find yourself losing your head.

Replay value
Great costumes and Eric Bana. He portrays this horrible character, but then again, he is so very sexy. So I can't judge him too harshly for killing all his wives. I think I have a problem.


1. The Family Stone, 2005, comedy-drama
"Actress In a Leading Role"

Number 1 on my to-be-embarrassed-about list is this comedy gem. It pretends to be a harmless little movie about a family reunion for Christmas, but then there is also sonny's new girlfriend (Sarah-Jessica Parker) who gets introduced to hippie-liberal parents and in-laws to-be. She makes a horrible first impression. No, I mean she is a disgusting human being! She is a career woman (awful) who always clears her throat (disgusting) because she has a stick up her ass (absolute no-go). Of course, she puts her foot in her mouth at any given time, making it really hard to like her. Until she gets drunk and stoned, lets loose and discovers whom she really likes in this sorry excuse for a family, it's basically a movie about different ways of torture. How come, the ultra-liberal family with the gay son and hippie Diane Keaton Mum is such a judgmental bunch of nay-sayers? And let's not forget Dermot Mulroney. He is as charismatic as day-old bread. Why I like it? All these elements appeal to my sardonic side. And SJP really deserves a good bashing for being so lean and stylish.


The message
Don't pretend to be someone you're not, to find the acceptance of your in-laws. Especially when the people whose approval you crave are not so nice themselves.

Replay value
Limitless, since it's a Christmas movie and covers the whole spectrum from drama, to comedy, from awkward acting moments to strange writing moments with some kind of political agenda to.... oh well, let's just say it has it all.