Skip to main content

Journey into Movies #1, 2 and 3: Across the Universe, Alice in Wonderland, and Almost Heroes

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were discussing what we wanted to watch that evening. A bit ambivalent about it, I told her that I had had an idea about watching every movie we owned, alphabetically. There were several movies I owned that I had not watched (some still sealed). It would be a fun way to spend nights rocking the baby to sleep.  My wife liked this idea.  There were some of my movies that she had never seen, too, and some of hers that she hadn't watched in years.

The benefits of an alphabetical order include ease of tracking, randomization on ownership, and especially variation in genre (until we get to Star, where we own 13 Star Trek movies, 9 Star Wars, Stargate, and Starship Troopers).  The first five movies on the list are a musical, a Disney cartoon, a dumb (in a good way) comedy, a superhero movie, and a romantic comedy.  This will make most movie nights different, which will be fun.

We agreed to do it. Every night we were planning on staying at home, we would put on a movie. We agreed to some basic veto rules (I'm not making her watch Beavis and Butt-Head Do America), but otherwise we would watch it all.

1. Across the Universe (2007)

The first movie in alphabetical order was the Julie Taymor musical Across the Universe, made using music from the Beatles.



I love Beatles songs, and the singing performances of the six lead actors were quite good.  In particular, their adaptation of I Want You (She's So Heavy) as being sung by Uncle Sam and soldiers during Max's induction into the army was wonderful.  Songs by side characters were enjoyable too, especially Joe Cocker doing Come Together and the young boy and choir singing Let It Be.

The problem is that the movie has six leads and no cohesive plot.  The one best described as our protagonist, Jude (played by Jim Sturgess) has a good storyline, but it can't stand out because of the separate plotlines of the five other main characters.  It comes across as "watch six people exist in mid-to-late 1960s New York."

If you enjoy Beatles music or musicals in general, give this movie a watch.

2. Alice in Wonderland (1951)

I bought the original Disney Alice in Wonderland, directed by Geronimi, Jackson, and Luske, on DVD after watching Tim Burton's 2010 remake.  But I had never sat down to watch it.  It turns out what I like is Tim Burton's aesthetic applied to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, and not the story itself.



My first impression was that Alice was unlikeable.  She had lots of imagination, but hated reading and learning, which offends me deeply.

The entire story could be summarized as "Alice chases a white rabbit into Wonderland; sees weird things as she searches for the rabbit."  This isn't a plot; it's a hook that should lead me into a plot.  Without a bigger story, it was just a collection of individual, silly vignettes, some of which were fun, but others annoying.

Neither my wife nor I cared for this movie.  Even though we have a small child at home, we will likely be getting rid of it.

3. Almost Heroes (1998)

I will say this up front; I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of objectively stupid comedy movies.  Some I love, but others I can't get into.  I can love Bio-Dome but hate Bad Santa.  Chris Farley movies are movies I tend to love, and Christopher Guest-directed Almost Heroes is a fun one.



Almost Heroes is the story of a high-society man (Matthew Perry) and a tracker and general outdoorsman (Chris Farley) in 1804 as they try to beat Lewis and Clark at being the first to map a route to the Pacific ocean.  Perry's character is a weakling while Farley plays the same character he always plays: a very loud, bumbling oaf who somehow manages to succeed despite his idiocy.

The sequence where Farley needs to retrieve the egg of an eagle holds up as one of the funniest movie jokes I've seen.

It's not the best Farley movie, but it's fun and it made me laugh.  That's all I want from such films.

The next three: Amazing Spider-Man, Amélie, and Anastasia!


Comments

Popular Posts

A Letter To My Daughter On Her Six-Month Birthday

Dear Marilla,

I can't believe it's already been six months since that wonderful day, 8 March 2017, when you first graced us with your presence.



Your mother and I had been awaiting your arrival for literally years.  When the doctors first told us you existed, we were absolutely ecstatic.  We didn't know much about you then; not your gender, or what you'd look like.  You just had a heartbeat and a yolk sac.  Nevertheless, we nicknamed you Thor, a strong name for a strong baby of either gender.

As we got closer to the delivery date, you decided to be a bit difficult and give mommy a bit of trouble.  But after a day and a half in the hospital, at 12:30pm six months ago today, the nurse handed you to me, and we gave you your name.



You've learned so much in your first six months of life.  After perfecting the basics like breathing and eating (not an easy start, to be sure), you started figuring out how your body works.  Your dexterity keeps increasing.  You can hold y…

Star Wars New Canon: Princess Leia books: Read Claudia Gray books!

The next items on my Star Wars read-through list were a pair of New Canon novels about the life and times of one character in particular: Princess Leia Organa.  Her history was largely over-written for the New Canon, and two novels help rebuild her story.

For this post, I read the following:

Bloodline (novel by Claudia Gray, 2016)Leia, Princess of Alderaan (novel by Claudia Gray, 2017)
I read both novels in the hardcover format.

Another appropriate story to have read would be the Princess Leia comic miniseries by Mark Waid, but I covered that in a previous post.  At any rate, its plot does not connect with either of these novels.


Story:Bloodline is set 24 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, 23 years after the Aftermath trilogy, but still six years before The Force Awakens.  The New Republic is well established.  The Empire is gone, and so the New Republic has no strong enemies to fight.  The Senate is deeply divided, and cannot resolve a new crisis but for the help of Senator…

Star Wars Read-Through #10: Journey to The Phantom Menace, Part 3 of 3

Having covered the adventures of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and then the adventures of Sith Lord Darth Maul, I am now in the final stage of my "Prelude to Episode I: The Phantom Menace" coverage.  In this post, I will cover a handful of stories that did not fit elsewhere, specifically:

Darth Plagueis (novel by James Luceno, 2012)Jedi Council: Acts of War 1-4 (comic by Randy Stradley, 2000)Republic 1-6 (comic arc by Jan Strnad, 1998-1999)Prelude to Rebellion parts 1-6Vow of Justice parts 1-3Starfighter (video game by LucasArts, 2001)
I read the two comics in Omnibus: Rise of the Sith.  I read Darth Plagueis in hardcover and played Starfighter on my PC, having just purchased it from GOG.com.  It is worth noting that, at the time "Republic" was simply called "Star Wars"; it was renamed Republic in its 46th issue in 2002.  I will be referring to it as Republic in all of my posts, to differentiate it from other comics named simply Star Wars (others having been…