Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Bueller? … Bueller? … Bueller? … fuck, I hated that commercial. American advertising at its worst. But maybe I just lacked the context for it?

Given how common references are to this movie, I know surprisingly little about it. I’ve seen like 3 different parodies of it in various TV shows and other media, but still don’t have a sense for if I’m going to like it or not. I have a sneaking suspicion that its going to be another comedy where the sense of humor just doesn’t appeal to me, but I am really hoping that this is not the case…


Ferris Bueller’s Day Off didn’t change my life, but I enjoyed it. Unsurprisingly, a lot of things reference this movie – I have been missing callbacks to this movie well above and beyond the ones that I knew about. Talk about cultural impact. I found the movie funny enough – I wasn’t sitting there laughing the whole time, but I also didn’t feel like that was what the movie was trying to achieve. It found a comfortable groove, and it worked.

Bonus Charlie Sheen starring as Charlie Sheen:

charlie-sheen-reprising-role-from-ferris-buellers-day-off

Good:

  • Protagonist talking to the camera is a favourite style of mine.
  • Elaborate automation tricks. Did this movie inspire the entire Home Alone franchise?
  • I lost my shit at the scene of the Ferrari joyriders catching air, set to Star Wars music.
  • Oblivious Dad is Oblivious.
  • The dean’s receptionist was a work of art.

Bad:

  • The sister’s characterization kinda sucked and her entire arc was boring.
  • How exactly did Ferris hack his attendance records? Disregarding anything else, I refuse to believe that either his house or his school was connected to ‘the information superhighway’.

Song of the Sea

I’m not quite sure that I have anything to preamble about for this movie. About the extent of what I know about this is that it is animated, and I have that only on virtue of having seen the movie’s box art. I’ve never heard of it, which is rare among movie’s on the List – anything important enough that I should have seen it, I usually have heard of (if only in passing). Not so with one. Animated movies and I tend to get along though, so if nothing else I’m expecting a relaxing night on the couch with this one.


How perfectly charming.

Song of the sea is a children picture book brought to screen, with the pencil-drawn style and simple designs filled artful texture. It is right up on par with the 2D greats like Studio Ghibli in my opinion. Seriously, just look at this shit;

song-main

Absolutely adorable. It took me about five minutes to get used to, and by the end I loved it. The style lends an artful nature to every single scene, and given the story that is being told it is a perfect fit.

The story follows the path of an Irish fairytale (I think – definitely some sort of Gaelic tradition) as it applies to the lives of a brash but anxious young boy and his mute but inquisitive sister. Lots of great fairy lore and visual storytelling, and I’m not ashamed to admit that the end made me tear up a little. It is a beautiful and charming story, well told.

Good:

  • The animation blew me away. In a modern movie scene filled with CGI and 3D, this movie is hand-drawn masterpiece.
  • The score was minimalist, but perfectly accented the long dialogue-free stretches where the focus is on the mute meanderings of Saoirse.
  • Did I mention that it nearly made me cry? That is a hard thing to pull off.

Bad:

  • A little too much time is spent front-loading the characterization of the humans, which makes the opening act a little bit of a slog. This largely melts away when the fae stuff gets rolling though.
  • This is a fairytale, so don’t expect a great amount of depth. This is more a warning than a drawback – don’t come to this movie with the wrong expectations. I didn’t, and was happier for it.

Bonus Round: Limitless

This evening, I felt like watching a movie. I’d stayed up late for the Star Wars midnight release, and then had the day off and spent it doing nothing much – so naturally my subconscious was 100% convinced that it is Sunday, and therefore movie night. And who am I to argue?

I decided to go off-List for this, since the next List movie didn’t seem to fit my mood. I’ve been watching the Limitless TV spinoff recently, and have been enjoying it – I recommend it if you want some mindless (but not brain dead) filler for while you’re doing something else. Someone told me the movie was pretty good too, so here we are.


This movie was exactly what I expected, given my pre-knowledge of the setting. And that isn’t a bad thing. This was a fun (if somewhat predictable) thriller, and it was exactly what I was hoping for. Solid characters, realistic consequences, well put together. Absolutely deserving of it’s spinoff (which was almost certainly pitched as ‘What if Edward Morra solved crimes instead of investment banking?’). This isn’t the sort of movie that is going to blow anyone’s mind, but I think it was a pretty good catharsis movie to contrast against The List.

Good:

  • I absolutely love the aesthetic cues in this movie, most notably the increased colour saturation and brightness when the protagonist is notably high. Makes for very pretty eyes.
  • Filled in a few background details about NZT that are missing from the TV show. Nothing major, but it makes the whole thing feel a little more holistic.
  • I like well-written genius characters, and while this isn’t perfect in that regard it definitely scratched that itch.

Bad:

  • The endless zoom shots. The first one was kinda cool and novel. The second one was boring. The really long one actually made me kinda nauseous.
  • On a similar vein, the excessive fish eye shot shouldn’t have been used as many times as it was. Once is cool. More is yawn.
  • Why on earth did Morra, while on NZT, decide that borrowing money from a Russian gangster was a good idea? This seems like a terrible idea (even sober), especially when he could have raised that much money in like a week of trading from where he was at? Half the conflict of the movie -disappears- if this rookie mistake is avoided. Lo and behold, the problem with genius characters – they should be too smart for this shit, but they aren’t.

 

Zoolander

Apparently this movie is pretty funny. My only idea about what to expect has come from seeing the trailer for Zoolander 2, and that has led me to believe that this movie is going to be fucking bizarre, and that I will probably laugh like mad. I appreciate absurdity as a source of humor, and I think this will deliver, as long as it doesn’t push any of my buttons and make me mad at it instead.


Well that was…singular.

It would be very easy for me to start trash talking this movie, but doing so would probably do nothing but illustrate just how thoroughly I missed the point of it all. Zoolander got a few laughs out of me, but it wasn’t quite the riot I was expecting. A lot of it was just a little bit too forced to really mesh with my sense of humor (which is the same problem that I have with most comedy movies, generally). Ultimately, I was probably not in the right frame of mind to really get the most out of the Zoolander experience.

I can see why it is as well known as it is, and why it ended up on The List. But lets just say I’m in no hurry to see the sequel, eh?

Good:

  • A center for ants…
  • …which needs to be at least three times bigger.
  • ooh-google-ogy
  • Basic makeup kit disguise resulting in actor change

Cons:

  • ‘Oh wow!’
  • Prostate jokes
  • Nothing else bad really stood out…which is not to say that there was nothing else bad, but more that anything else I might mention fails to stand out among the teeming multitude of badness.

Independence Day

Independence Day is one of the best examples of the reason I undertook this movie watching project. Everyone has seen Independence Day, therefore I must have seen Independence Day. QED.

I haven’t though. I have definitely seen large chunks, and have a pretty good working knowledge of the major scenes (in large part due to MovieBob’s Really That Good episode on the film), but the point stands that I have never actually sat down and watched this movie. Thus, it qualifies for The List, and here we are. I anticipate explosions and patriotism.


Okay, so. Maybe I have watched this movie before? Way too much of it was familiar for it to be otherwise. But having sat down and watched it again, I don’t feel like this was a wasted week project wise. I had fun, and that’s the point.

Independence Day has aged some, to be sure, but it seems intuitive to me that this movie was the hit that it was. It hit the right notes to sell me, especially the character beats (especially since there isn’t much in the way of character development – this is definitely a setup-and-go style of movie). The fact that it managed to draw such broad strokes but still sell the hell out of them just brings it together.

The Good:

  • Spaceships! I’m an easy sell in this regard. They were nothing special, either design or special effects wise, but…spaceships.
  • And was it just me, or were the enemy fighter craft distinctly Goa’uld-ish?
  • Will Smith
  • I like seeing things explode, even if the effects are showing their age by now.

The Bad:

  • You hacked the spaceship of a highly advanced alien race. Really?
  • Your computer auto-negotiated the networking protocol, huh?
  • Execute Jolly Rodger? Actually?
  • ARE YOU NOTICING THE GENERAL THEME OF MY COMPLAINTS HERE? Sigh.
  • Fire that isn’t observant enough to notice open maintenance tunnels.
  • Morse code! The aliens will never figure this out!
  • et cetera. I know that this is a blockbuster, and I don’t expect better, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t notice.