Last year. while on winter break, my husband and I decided to catch up on some of the movies we had missed and still wanted to see. We took turns picking the movie, one per night, for two weeks. This year we decided to make it a tradition, and I thought I would share our choices with you.
My husband went first, picking Our Idiot Brother from 2011 starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer. This movie is rated R.
The storyline: Ned lived a happy life growing organic vegetables on a farm with his hippie girlfriend and his dog named Willie Nelson, but an unadvised incident with marijuana at a farmer’s market lands him in jail. When he gets out of jail, he is off to live with his sisters. While Ned is still happy, his sisters are much less so after he manages to screw up one marriage, one job opportunity, one budding relationship and one domestic partnership. He sees those problems as breakdowns in communication, but his sisters see him as an idiot.
My review: This movie was ok. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. I probably will never watch it again, but I really don’t re-watch movies unless I love them.
My pick the next night was Dark Shadows from 2012 starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Eva Green. This movie is rated PG-13.
The storyline: In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet-or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better…
My review: This movie started out with potential, but got stranger and stranger until it finally jumped the shark, it was as if the writer/director didn’t know quite what to do with the characters after a certain point. I love Johnny Depp, he is one of my favorite actors, and he played his role well as usual. Unfortunately in this case, that was not enough to save this one. Will not watch again.
My husband’s next pick was The Dark Knight Rises from 2012 starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Anne Hathaway. This movie is rated PG-13.
The storyline: Despite his tarnished reputation after the events of The Dark Knight, in which he took the rap for Dent’s crimes, Batman feels compelled to intervene to assist the city and its police force which is struggling to cope with Bane’s plans to destroy the city.
My review: Movies based on comic books will never be my first choice, but I thought this movie was well done. It did not disappoint based on similar movies I have seen. I would watch it again, but only if someone else picked it.
My next pick was Seeking a Friend for the End of the World from 2012 starring Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, and Melanie Lynskey. This movie is rated R.
The storyline: An asteroid named “Matilda” is on a collision course towards Earth and in three weeks the world will come to an absolute end. What would you do if your life and the world were doomed? One man decides to spend his time searching for his long lost love from high school during the coming catastrophe.
My review: This movie was quirky, sometimes funny sometimes heavy, sweet and sad. I even cried at the end. Though strange at times, this was a good one.
My husband’s next pick was Moonrise Kingdom from 2012 starring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, and Bruce Willis. This movie is rated PG-13.
The storyline: Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, as a young boy and girl fall in love they are moved to run away together. Various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down — which might not be such a bad thing.
My review: This movie was shot to look old and vintage, which was ok. Other than that all I can say is that it was too weird for me. I am not a fan.
My next pick was The Words from 2012 starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, and Olivia Wilde. This movie is rated PG-13.
The storyline: Layered romantic drama The Words follows young writer Rory Jansen who finally achieves long sought after literary success after publishing the next great American novel. There’s only one catch – he didn’t write it. As the past comes back to haunt him and his literary star continues to rise, Jansen is forced to confront the steep price that must be paid for stealing another man’s work, and for placing ambition and success above life’s most fundamental three words.
My review: There were three story-lines through-out this movie, I could have done without one of them, but overall it was good. I liked it.
My husband’s next pick was Safety Not Guaranteed from 2012 starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, and Jake Johnson. This movie is rated R.
The storyline: Darius is a young intern at a Seattle-based magazine and jumps at the chance to investigate the author of a classified ad seeking someone to travel back in time with. Along with Jeff, the staff writer, and Arnau, a fellow intern, the three go on a road trip to a coastal town. While Jeff just wants to chase after his high school crush and Arnau wants some kind of life experience, Darius spends her time with Kenneth, a man who believes that he has built a time machine. The closer they become and the more they understand about each other, the less clear it becomes if Kenneth is just crazy or if he actually is going to successfully travel back in time.
My review: This was another quirky one, and a little sci-fi, but I liked it. The ending was not what I expected.
My next pick was Friends with Kids from 2011 starring Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, and Maya Rudolph. This movie is rated R.
The storyline: Julie and Jason have been best friends for years with no romantic interest in each other. He sleeps with someone new every few days, and she’s looking for Mr. Right. Now in their thirties, they notice that their friends seem to lose all their good qualities when they have children – child rearing and the spark of Eros don’t seem to co-exist. So, they decide to have a child together, share in child rearing, but pursue their own romantic lives. Things go well until he meets Mary Jane and she meets Kurt. Both seem like perfect mates. What could go wrong?
My review: Funny, sad, and at times true to life. The ending was a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed it.
My husband picked to watch the Cowboys game, so I picked two movies in a row. My next pick was The Odd Life of Timothy Green from 2012 starring Jennifer Garner,Joel Edgerton, and CJ Adams. This movie is rated PG.
The storyline: After receiving bad news from a fertility doctor, Cindy and Jim Green try to bury their dreams of having a child by writing out all the great traits their child would have and putting them in a box in the garden. During a freak storm in the middle of the night, they awake to find a boy named Timothy, with leaves growing from his ankles, standing in their kitchen calling them mom and dad. Cindy and Jim are thrown into the midst of parenthood and over the coming months, Timothy will teach them more than they could have imagined about being parents and raising a child, no matter how he comes into their lives.
My review: I loved it. I probably went through a whole box of kleenex…have them ready. This movie was sweet and family friendly.
My husband’s next pick was Bernie from 2011 starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey. This movie is rated PG-13.
The storyline: We meet Bernie Tiede (1958- ), a chubby undertaker, who takes pride in his work. He’s a Gospel-singing tenor. In a series of interviews with townspeople, mixed with flashbacks, we follow Bernie: he arrives in Carthage, Texas (pop. 7,000), where old ladies adore him; he befriends a wealthy, mean-spirited widow named Marjorie Nugent; they become companions in both daily routines and expensive vacations. Among those interviewed, only her stockbroker and Danny Buck, the local district attorney, are unsympathetic toward the sunny, sometimes saccharine Bernie. Marjorie changes from sour and alone to happy with Bernie; then she gets possessive. What will sweet Bernie do?
My review: Based on a true story, the subject matter is disturbing but the movie is interesting, even funny at times, and the performances were great. Also, this one is based in a west Texas town, and it is always interesting to watch a movie set in or based on the area of the country that you live in.
I couldn’t decide on a movie this time, so I went with one that my husband wanted to see that I thought looked interesting. We chose Liberal Arts from 2012 starring Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, and Zac Efron. This movie is rated PG-13.
The storyline: When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor’s retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them.
My review: This one was good. I love Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother, and I thought he, and the other main characters, did a good job in this movie.
The storyline: The three Bondurant brothers run a bootlegging operation during the depression, up in the mountains of Franklin County, Virginia. Crooked Special Deputy Charles Rakes is after a share of the brothers’ profits. Compounding their troubles, the local competition is elbowing in on their activities. Forrest’s boisterous defiance and Cricket’s knack for moonshine production help the brothers gain a local monopoly. When Forrest is wounded as tension with Rakes escalates, Jack, initially the timid one, must prove his worth against gangster Floyd Banner’s mob, and we see him metamorphose into a cocky exhibitionist in his attempts to woo the off-limits preacher’s daughter, Bertha.
My review: I liked it! This was based on a true story, a book called The Wettest County in the World, written by Matt Bondurant the grandson of Jack Bondurant.
I enjoyed our movie marathon this year, and last, and I hope we continue this tradition…it is a great way to catch up on movies you missed through-out the year!