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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #48

Fight Club
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“You met me at a very strange time in my life.”

 

    Ironically, Fight Club is possibly one of the most talked about movies of all time.  One of the most common adjectives I’ve seen is “beautiful,” which is true.  This film is gorgeous and well made.  I’ve had trouble deciding what I like best about this movie, but I finally settled on something.  Ed Norton.  Ed Norton is what I like best about Fight Club.
    To me, he (Ed Norton, as well as his character) is Fight Club.  He is so fantastic in this role, and he brings an extra layer of depth to the story.  Without him – the character he plays, the WAY he plays the character, all of that – it’s just an action movie with some clever retorts.  I love this movie, and I love the way each actor portrays their character, but I think Ed Norton genuinely makes the film a must-see.  (Warning: there’s, uh, violence.)


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #47

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
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“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move.”

    Before I get into talking about why this movie is a must-see, I have to warn you that it is WEIRD.  First of all, it is essentially the documented voyage of Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman, Mos Def, and Sam Rockwell into space, narrated by Stephen Fry.  If I proposed that movie idea to you, you would probably respond with, “That would be so dang weird.”  Correct.  It was pretty dang weird.

    It is a strange movie, primarily if you have not read the book.  The first time I saw it, I was significantly weirded out, especially when that one thing happens to Sam Rockwell’s character.  HOWEVER, it is also really interesting and clever.  The writing is genius, and if you put any weight on the involvement of talented people, I’ve already named some significant individuals, and there are others who fill up supporting roles as well.  If you can handle weird, odd and startling, you should definitely see this brilliantly written, brilliantly acted strange-fest of a movie.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #46

Slumdog Millionaire
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“When somebody asks me a question, I tell them the answer.”

 

    Simply put, Slumdog Millionaire is a must-see.  It’s inspirational, it’s well done, it’s culturally relevant and stunning.  In college, I wrote a paper on this film, which was the only reason I watched it.  I assumed it would be boring, but I was so wrong.  It’s gripping and suspenseful and heart-wrenching and lovely.  As the story dissects itself, I was astounded at how well it was weaved together.  I completely loved it, and if you have not seen it, you are missing out.  


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #45

Sherlock Holmes
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“No girl wants to marry a doctor who can’t tell if a man’s dead or not!”

    It’s easy to see that action is my favorite genre (if I had to be more specific, I’d probably say fantasy-action).  I’ve never been into the stereotypically “girlie” movies, but I also am not a fan of gore and guts.  I like clean action; movies like Memento or The Dark Knight where there’s a lot of movement and excitement, but not too much gruesomeness.  Sherlock Holmes is a perfect blend of action, adventure, and mystery.
    As much as I love the BBC series Sherlock, I think it’s hard to compete with Robert Downey Jr. for his amazing job in that role.  He brings such life and playfulness to the character of Sherlock Holmes; it’s refreshing to see him being given a personality, rather than just a hard exterior and a massive intellect.  He also works wonderfully with Jude Law, who surprised me with how well he fell into his character (Watson).  I was really skeptical about it at first, but I love their chemistry, and I love the idea of Watson being the same age as Holmes, rather than the Bruce Wayne/Alfred sort of portrayal that I’ve seen done so many times before.
    Like I said before, they mix mystery perfectly with action in this film – which I sadly can’t say about the second film in the series, which had little to no mystery at all.  This was in the true spirit of Sherlock Holmes, in my opinion, and as an added bonus, was gorgeous to watch.  Another small aspect of the movie which is not seen in the show is the fact that, at times, Holmes makes mistakes and acts on emotion rather than knowledge.  They humanized a typically (overly) robotized character.  He becomes believable as a real person, and much more enjoyable to watch.

Sidenote: THIS IS POSSIBLY MY ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE SOUNDTRACK.  I ADORE IT.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #44

Catching Fire
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“Remember who the real enemy is.”

    There are so many fantastic messages and themes throughout this movie.  It’s funny the way the viewer automatically relates to Katniss and her goal of keeping the people she cares about alive.  As you read or watch and continue on with these characters, you see that Katniss is one of the last to understand that it isn’t about surviving, it’s about changing the world.  In an exchange between Katniss and Prim, Katniss emphasizes that she saved Prim’s life so that Prim could remain alive, and Prim replies, “No, to do something.”  Throughout the games, Katniss is in survival mode – even before the games, she has that mentality.  Her life has been about flying under the radar and providing for her family.  She never asked to be a spectacle, and she never asked to mean something.  I think that’s one of the most relate-able struggles of her character.  She never asked for the attention.  She never asked for any of it, she just wanted everyone to be okay.
Eventually I’m sure you’ll get sick of me yammering on and on about how much I love the characters in this series.  I’m sure someday I’ll write far too many words about Rue, Gale, Johanna, Peeta and Katniss and their individual meanings and all of that unimportant nonsense.  I waited far too long to read these books, but this post isn’t supposed to be about the books.
If you haven’t seen these movies, you’ve done yourself a disservice.  They’re absolutely beautiful.  As I’ve mentioned a thousand times, Jennifer Lawrence is a flawless human being, and I adore her and her work.  When I first saw her as Katniss, I doubted her and thought anyone could play that part.  I was wrong and stupid.  She is an amazing actress, and she does the part beautifully.  I can’t decide which I prefer (The Hunger Games or Catching Fire), they were both fantastic, and I am so enthralled by this series.

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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #43

Memento
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“Oh, I’m chasing this guy… No, he’s chasing me.”

 

    Memento is a classic in my eyes.  I’m always really shocked when people haven’t heard of it, or haven’t bothered to watch it.  It’s one of those films that is so crisp and well made; watching it is a smooth ride, and it’s easy to become invested in the story and characters.  This is the first movie I saw Guy Pearce in, and he never disappoints (even when he is severely limited and stars in movies like Lockout).  This was also my first Christopher Nolan film, and his movies have a certain clean-cut attribute that makes watching them easy somehow.  The way the film plays backward chronologically is so great the first time you see it.  I loved being as clueless as the main character, and trying to solve the same mystery he was so obsessed with.  Polished, crisp, extraordinary.  This is a must-see.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #42

The Way Way Back
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“It’s called delegation, baby. I read about it in a book about it.”

    If you are sad, if anything is going wrong, if you are even slightly unhappy or apathetic WATCH THIS MOVIE.  This movie made me so, so happy, and it’s such a quality film.  The Way Way Back is at least in my top 5 movies of 2013, if not my #1 movie of the year.  LET ME GIVE YOU SOME REASONS.
    Jim Rash is in it.  Jim Rash directed it.  Jim Rash wrote it.  I think you get the idea.  To be fair, Nat Faxon also wrote and directed it, but I’m a super fan of comedic genius/acting beast Jim Rash (who stars in Community, Thursdays at 8 PM on NBC).  The cast is amazing.  The writing is amazing.  I am in awe of this film.  It’s rare that I watch a movie and am satisfied with almost every piece of it, but I really was.  Liam James was iffy in spots, but honestly I barely noticed.  Sam Rockwell is amazing and has great chemistry with Maya Rudolph.  Steve Carell fully embraced a role that was different from his regular loveable-awkward-older-guy routine.  Everything comes together and leaves you feeling accomplished and hopeful; the perfect ending to a delightfully charming movie.