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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.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #41

Safety Not Guaranteed
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“I have no funk.  I am totally funkless.”

 

    I was really excited for this movie to come out, then I super slacked on watching it for no real reason.  There are two people who I am convinced can do no wrong.  Those people are Aubrey Plaza and Jennifer Lawrence.  I stand by that statement; they’re essentially my heroes.  Aubrey Plaza is fantastic in this movie (and everything she’s ever been in, obviously), as are the other actors (shout out to Jake Johnson for being perfect in his projects as well).  
    To be honest, despite the talented cast, and overall pleasant quality of the film, I thought it was just alright.  It didn’t blow my mind, or wow me or excite me, it just sort of kept me busy for an hour and a half.  I was disappointed.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #40

Anchorman
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“Milk was a bad choice!”

 

    I assumed Anchorman would be just another Napoleon Dynamite overrated comedy phase that everyone passed through.  Thankfully, I gave in and watched it (at around 4 AM with a bunch of friends), and it was HILARIOUS.  This movie has amazing writing, fantastic characters, and hilarious actors.  I fell in love with them, just as much as Brick loves lamp.  Wait, no.  More than that.  More than Brick loves Lamp because does Brick really love lamp at all?

In anticipation of the sequel (which has been amazingly promoted), I suggest you watch this again, or for the first time.  Whichever.  Watch it.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #39

Bridesmaids
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“At first I did not know it was your diary, I thought it was a very sad handwritten book.”

    Bridesmaids is one of those movies that always makes me laugh.  If you need a solid pick me up or are just in one of those moods where you want something mindless but entertaining to watch, this is the perfect film.  If you have a problem with swearing, don’t watch this movie.  I think it’s one of the most quotable movies since Mean Girls.  Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Rebel Wilson, and Ellie Kemper (among others) are just hilarious the entire time.  The plot is fun and captivating; the main character is relate-able; the jokes are fantastic, and the acting is flawless.
    Sidenote: Chris O’Dowd is in this film.  CHRIS O’DOWD IS GREAT.

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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #38

The Lorax
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“How bad can I possibly be?”

 

I just realized how appropriate today’s movie is.

 

Today I saw a really horrific thing happened to a squirrel.

I thought a lot about it as I continued on my drive to the supermarket with my sick mother in the car with me.  I thought a lot about how I would give up industrialism because I love nature, and I hate what’s happened to nature.

And I believe that.  I believe humanity has royally screwed up the world.  I believe we pollute it and change it and garbage it into something disgusting and I hate that animals, and plants and nature suffers because we must contort it to be something with which we can be at ease.

I think of that almost every time I drive my car.

Today’s film is The Lorax.

 


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas – #37

The Invention Of Lying
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“Hi I’m Bob. I’m the spokesperson for the Coca-Cola company. I’m here today to ask you to continue buying Coke. Sure you’ve been drinking the drink for years and if you still enjoy it well I’d like to remind you to buy it again sometime. It’s basically just brown sugar water. We haven’t changed the ingredients much lately so there is nothing new I can tell you about that. Changed the can around a little bit though. You can see the colors are different there and we’ve added a polar bear so the kids like us. Coke’s very high in sugar, and like any high calorie soda, it can lead to obesity in children and adults who don’t sustain a very healthy diet. And that’s it. It’s coke. It’s very famous. Everyone knows it. I’m Bob and I’m asking you to not stop buying coke. That’s all.”

 

    First of all, there are so many talented people in this movie.  I know that happens pretty frequently in Hollywood these days, but I just adore so many of the actors in this film.  If that isn’t a good reason to see this movie, then okay, don’t see this movie.  I mean, there are other reasons, too.  I’ll get to those.  This movie is about lying, or the lack there of.  The main character ends up inventing lying, and ends up biting off more than he can chew in some circumstances.  
    If you are a religious person, you can’t go into this movie trying to come out offended.  Personally, I was not offended.  It made me think, and honestly I really enjoyed the outlook that was presented, as well as the way it was presented.  I know a lot of people probably won’t agree with that, but that’s okay, this movie isn’t for everyone.  Ricky Gervais is a super atheist, and honestly I recognized the satire and brushed it off, or even laughed it off, cause this movie is really funny.  In the beginning, I didn’t like it nearly as much as the middle and on.  
    Religion and satire aside, this is a good movie.  If you are at all nervous, don’t be.  Even though Ricky Gervais thinks religion is crazy-town-banana-pants, that doesn’t negate what you believe or the reasons you believe it.  Feel free to ignore this movie, if that makes you more comfortable, but seeing things like this – especially lighthearted, fun things like this – make me smile and open up my mind.


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55 Movies to Get You to Christmas #36

Little Miss Sunshine
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“A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning he doesn’t even try.”

    We’re in the home stretch now, and what better way to transition out of drama and toward Christmas than with a feel-good week? No better way.  There isn’t one.  End of story.  This is the best way.  Okay, let’s do this.
    Little Miss Sunshine was not at all what I expected it to be.  In case you haven’t noticed that recurring trend, movies that surprise me tend to stick with me.  I don’t like Abigail Breslin, so I anticipated being annoyed with her throughout this film.  Turns out she got annoying after starring in this movie, so that’s not a problem at all.  The rest of the cast work amazingly well together to form a surprisingly functional dysfunctional family.
    Coming from someone who has a pretty boring family situation, I always loved watching families that seemed dysfunctional but were actually very complementary of each other.  I love seeing how they protect each other when weaknesses arise, but also work with each others’ strengths.  Family bonds are pretty cool, and I love when movies can capture that sort of spirit in a smooth way.
    This movie has some sad parts, as all well-rounded movies do.  It’s not solely a comedy – it’ll get you feeling some feels.  But it is entirely worth it.  You grow close to characters you disliked at the beginning, and have compassion for hard-to-love characters as the film plays on.  It’s definitely worth the watch.