Monthly Archives: August 2012

Summer Movie Slam: ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

Can this really be the best and most exotic?

“I have a dream to create a home for the elderly so wonderful that they will simply refuse to die”

What if we lived in a world where every man had a British accent? How absolutely wonderful would that be…..if only it were true. I mean come on. The female population would be more inclined to settle down with a dreamy man who could woo them with that bloody brilliant speech. Besides being incredibly attractive speakers, the World of Brits seems more at large as of late. Maybe it’s due to the Olympics taking place in London. Not only are they hits with their cunning speech and location, but they’ve also found a place in the spotlight on television screens. It seems like the Brits are coming out on top in captivating series. Specifically on the BBC channel we encounter hit shows like Sherlock (4 nominations beating out AMC’s The Walking Dead) and Downton Abbey (16 Emmy nominations). Since I have yet to watch Sherlock, I can only speak for Downton Abbey. It is a remarkable series built with a solid cast which, in my opinion, is the reason for its popularity. I ask again, what’s not to love about these British characters? With this in mind, a movie has come along that contains some of the brilliant actors found in these series. It probably won’t stand the test of time like most, but it deserves praise none the less. If you classify yourself as having a passing fancy for some enchanting British television, I encourage you to read on.

The movie is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the location is India. The plot concerns the lives of seven elderly chaps and dames coming together to a place that is supposedly built for them from the ploy to “Come and spend your olden years in an Indian palace.” To some folks from different walks of life whilst in the same age group, this slogan seems overly enticing. The elderly are viewed as a bunch of old farts about to croak. Retirement is the life, children see them as a burden, their agility has significantly lessened, and luxury is a dream that doesn’t fit into their present conditions. They don’t see a purpose in life anymore. Or perhaps they’ve lost something or someone so significant in life that moving forward or starting over seems utterly impossible. What if they can find a new purpose, a new perspective? What if they can change and affect others in ways they never dreamed possible, especially at this point in their lives. The possibility of fulfilling dreams by a refusal to accept the norm for people their age is what drives them to uproot and move to place foreign and completely opposite of what they’ve always known.

What do they have to lose? Not much, according to society’s standards. Hence, all of them end up at said hotel. The “what if” is more than tantalizing in place of a dull existence. “It’s a luxury development where all the residents are in their golden years” says one of our adventurous friends. And an adventure it certainly becomes. Things are definitely not what they seem upon arrival. The culture is nothing less than an absolute shock, and the state of the luxurious motel is the complete opposite of “luxury.” Luckily, at the end of it all, they discover that “The light, colors, smiles, it teaches [them] something.” Let’s take a look at our lead characters and the qualities that make them unforgettable.

First, we have our leading lady, Evelyn Greenslade played by the talented Judi Dench (M in the latest Bond films, and also seen in Ladies in Lavender and the BBC series Cranford). Evelyn is the one who has lost her partner in life. The death of her husband has left her with a complete void in her little life that seems ever looming and encompassing. In addition to the void, he’s left her in a similar fashion with debt, causing Evelyn to sell her house. For her, a new start is all she can hope for. Naturally, she jumps on board to take off to start afresh. Despite the twist on what she expected, she indeed finds purpose in a job with a voice she can project for the first time in her life. All around her are glimpses of a simplistic life she never dreamed possible, and more importantly, people that can fill her life with depth and meaning. She finds that “India, like life itself I suppose, is about what you bring to it.”

Our next fellow is the leading man, Graham Dashwood, played by brilliant actor Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone in the new Batman trio, also seen as Arthur Edens in Michael Clayton). This is a man whose success has been grounded in the high courts as a prestigious judge. He is finally done after a split second decision, and the move to India is all he cares about. We come to learn that this is not his first time to see the sights of India, for he lived there for a time as a boy. Every day he sets out to find someone whom he loved as a youth, but parted with disgrace and in prejudiced times. This man is the only love Graham has ever known, and to simply know he is alive and well is what drives him each and every day. Discovering that the guilt he carried his entire life was of his own creation frees him to accept redemption and complete happiness. To laugh and learn about the man before him with a family of his own connects Graham to the life he wished he would have been allowed to have, and the perspective makes his glass no longer half empty, but finally half full.

The couple in this film is Douglas (Bill Nighy also known as Davy Jones in the Pirates movies) and Jean Ainslie (Penelope Wilton as seen as Isobel Crawley from Downton). Doug and Jean seek a new life after losing most of the money they’d acquired for retirement after investing in their daughter’s frugal business. Jean is evidently repulsed by the opposite of what they expected, so she refuses to conform or accept the fact that she can start afresh. Doug has suffered years of abundant negativity and lack of respect from Jean, and he luckily discovers contentment and peace alongside a newly discovered connection with Evelyn. We find out whether or not this couple can put aside built up grudges and start a new chapter in their lives in this foreign place.

Feisty Muriel played by the wondrous Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley in Downton and Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter) finds herself in need of a hip replacement in a place where she’s promised a quick and inexpensive procedure. She holds her own with racist tendencies after a life of devotion to an adopted family who replace her with someone younger. Along the way, she fights to apply the idea that “If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to eat [or have anything to do with] it.” Muriel unknowingly bestows acceptance on a young girl accustomed to having no status or recognition in life. She finds new ways to implement her acquired skills including a head for figures in a new life which she thought was unattainable with her background. Ironically, it is Maggie who changes the course of the hotel.

Our final duo are the well endowed Madge (Celia Imrie) who is hunting for her next husband alongside Norman (Ronald Pickup), a man who is trying to remain youthful and vigorous by pursuing reckless short term encounters with younger women as a matured Lothario. Both go to great lengths of fitting in with the high society by pretending to be a sort of royalty from England. The acceptance of how old they really are is difficult to accept while desiring to feel needed and loved by someone truly worthy. Their efforts are highly entertaining and happily resolved.

The glue that holds all these characters together is the fisher who lured them in, Sonny Kapoor played by the up and coming Dev Patel (Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire and Prince Zuko in The Last Airbender). Sonny is the dreamer and part owner of the hotel, and his optimism despite the somewhat false advertising is evident in the idea that “In India we have a saying. Everything will be alright in the end. So if it’s not alright, it is not yet the end.” He deals with an overbearing mother trying to douse his dreams by orchestrating an arranged marriage, and keeping the woman he loves (Sunaina played by Tena Desae) despite his mother’s evident objection. Sonny sees things as they can be, and he refuses to conform to the standards of his family. He too receives perspective from the occupants who inspire him to fight for all he envisions.

India is a world of poverty, but simplicity. To have the ability to adjust to a foreign world at such a ripened age is understandable far out. But our friends thrive in a new place that is surprisingly fitting for what they need. Seeing past the face value of an alien land is what marks them as trail blazers. One of them admits that “Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected” to which Muriel replies “Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.” Innovative beginnings and friendships are the key to overcoming age, and they all have the chance to embrace or reject this once in a lifetime opportunity. For The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel offers “a new and different world. The challenge is to cope with it. And not just cope, but thrive.”

My Note: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is brimming with revolutionary cures, vices, and opportunities for the overlooked elderly.

My Grade: B



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Top Ten Films of the 2000’s: Redux

After a recent conversation with my friend Jason, I realized what a huge mistake I had made when put together my ‘Best of the Decade (2000-2010)’ list in the Fall of 2011. My mistake was that I included 2010, which is part of an entirely new decade. Much to my chagrin, one of my favorite movies of all time, ‘The Social Network’ can no longer be the champion of this list, being that it was not released in the previous decade. Perhaps the mistake was simply my subconscious trying to give Fincher’s brilliant movie the credit it deserves, but I guess I’ll have to wait another 8 years for that to happen.

However, I’ve decided to make lemons out of lemonade and revise this list, and tweak a few things around. Congrats to our new champion at the top! It’s well deserved. There are also a few new additions to this list; one that was on the fence the last time around, and now I tend to be leaning the other way, and another that I totally overlooked for the first edition of this list (which is a shame, because it truly is an incredible film…) and just had to put in, correcting yet another mistake. Hopefully, this will be the final revision necessary.

I’ll simply just post the entire list, mostly, because I feel like it would be overkill to write about each movie considering I did the same thing just last year, and let you decide where I’m right and where I’m wrong! If you would like to know my rationale behind any of these choices, feel free to ask. Let the dialogue begin (I guess?)!

Top Ten Films of the 2000’s (00-09)

1. Michael Clayton (2007)

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

3. The Hurt Locker (2009)

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

5. City of God (2002)

6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

8. Up (2008)

9. Juno (2007)

10. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Honorable Mentions:

11. Memento (2000)

12. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

13. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

14. Up in the Air (2009)

15. In America (2002)

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Poll Question: Which is your favorite of Nolan’s ‘Batman’ films?

Read our review of ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’

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Summer Movie Slam: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

“But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can’t stop you, then you become something else entirely… A legend, Mr. Wayne.”

Liam Neeson speaks these lines at the opening of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Batman Begins.’ When Nolan reopened the book on the classic character, ‘Batman Begins’ first tells us the story of Bruce Wayne. Born into a life of privilege, Bruce was given loving parents that gave him an example of goodness; but, while still a young boy, his family was gunned-down in the street. Driven by anger and a desire for justice, Bruce flees his city of Gotham in search for an answer. Years later, he finds himself in a Chinese prison, still ferociously fighting his fellow captives. It is here that Bruce is offered a path; to become a incorruptible symbol of true justice. He returns to Gotham where he chooses to pursue a life of battling criminals, not as Bruce Wayne, but as the masked-hero Batman.

In ‘The Dark Knight’, Batman must face his greatest challenge yet; the rampaging, senseless killer that calls himself The Joker. Motivated only by his desire to “watch the world burn,” The Joker throws Gotham into a state of chaos. But Batman is not alone. His is aided by Police Commissioner Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent. Together, the triumvirate battles against the violence of a maniac, we watch as an “unstoppable force meets an immovable object,” and although our heroes succeed in capturing the villain, it was not achieved without considerable loss. Harvey Dent, Gotham’s white knight, was driven into madness and dies after going on a murderous rampage. Refusing to let evil win, the Batman takes the fall for Dent’s crimes. They raise Harvey Dent as a hero in order to invoke change in their city, casting out Batman as an outlaw; Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon must keep the secrets of what really happened that night.

Christopher Nolan closes his story of Batman in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ with a finale that is both modern epic and complex drama, giving us a third act that does not disappoint those that have fallen in love with Nolan’s Gotham. Not only does this film meet the impossibly high standards that were set before it, but it found even more ways to wow us with spectacular filmmaking.

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ takes place 8 years after the events of Harvey Dent’s death. Our hero, Bruce Wayne (played again by Christian Bale), has become a recluse, claiming that he has hung up the cowl and cape for the last time. Gotham is at peace because of Commissioner Gordon’s newly empowered police force, but this calm remains based on a lie. The weak foundations that our heroes built are waiting to be shaken up.

Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway) foreshadows the events to come in a slow dance with Bruce. “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and so leave so little for the rest of us.”

The storm hits Gotham in the form of a new evil; a masked mercenary named Bane (played by Tom Hardy). Intimidating in size, and frightening in mission, Bane claims that he is “Gotham’s reckoning” and a symbol of the “borrowed time” that the city has been living on. Bane has one mission; “We will destroy Gotham.” When told of the evil that is rising in the city, Bruce Wayne must do what is required of him; The Batman must come back.

What follows is an amazing, action packed, and purposeful movie. Once this thing gets going, and it does take some time to get going, it cannot be stopped. We are swept up in the story of our hero as we wait for the fate of Gotham City. It’s really a movie that I didn’t want to end. Fantastic in scale and satisfying in finality.

With this new superhero installment, we are also presented with an array of new and influential characters. Anne Hathaway gives her performance as Selina Kyle, also known as Catwoman, with intensity and sharp attitude, giving us a woman who often crosses the line between right and wrong. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (one of my personal favorite actors) plays John Blake, a virtuous young police officer who shares the Batman’s devotion to justice, and who becomes a character of great importance to the story of Gotham City. And then there’s Miranda Tate (played by Marion Cotillard), a beautiful ally that Bruce can find friendship in, so much so that Bruce eventually trusts her with the running of Wayne Enterprises.

The introduction and establishment of these new faces might begin as a burdensome task, but in the end I was so glad that the Nolan brothers took as much time as he did to place these characters into the foreground of the story. Each one of them has great amount of purpose in ‘Rises’, and are vital to the conclusion of the film.

Writing a review for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is honestly a difficult task, because I see it as being a film of great depth that has so much lying underneath the ice, and like the character of Batman itself, it is much more than a man in a mask. But this is simply the marking trait of Christopher Nolan’s films; it inspires discussion, thought, and challenges the way that we see things. I can’t think of any other director working today that can accomplish the mass appeal of a blockbuster-smash as well as the intelligence to tell a deep story; the ability to please movie goers of all kinds. Not only does Nolan accomplish this with ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, it has now become the norm for all of his films, making him a man among boys. He hasn’t made a bad movie. Ever. Just think about that. Who else can say that?

I could write an essay just simply on the themes that are presented to the audience in this film, incredibly daunting themes such as resistance, perseverance, righteousness in the face of evil, and the sacrifice that it takes to do make what is right. We see that sometimes fear is necessary to do the impossible. ‘Rises’ also presents us with heroes that have made mistakes, that are not perfect, but are willing to do what it takes in order to set things right. Most of the film is dark, but at the end of it all, its this darkness that makes the light at the end of the tunnel so much brighter. All of this, in a movie about a guy in a bat costume. Who’d of thunk it?

In my mind, the best thing about ‘Rises’ is the ending, which I will not describe in detail here (trying to be respectful of those who are avoiding spoilers). What I will say is that the conclusion of Nolan’s last Batman movie makes it not just about the struggle against a madman, but the establishment of a legend. The film is on a mission to fulfill the promises of the first two movies and make Batman transcendent, bigger than just vigilante, and a symbol that was tested through trials. Not only to the people of Gotham, but also to the audience, this character has truly become more than just a myth. And no matter what happens in the end, the Dark Knight will rise as a hero, one way or another.

Now for the burning question; is ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ better than the film that preceded it? My answer is no, but I still maintain that it did not have to be better, and I don’t think those involved were trying to make a better movie than ‘The Dark Knight.’ One thing that was obvious to me when I sat in the theater was how different this movie was from the previous two. It wanted to say something new, something meaningful. Nolan’s purpose was to tell the last chapter of Bruce Wayne’s story, to give a powerful conclusion these films. In doing so, he established these three movies as being one of the best film trilogies of all time.

My Note: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is a great ending to an unforgettable saga.

My Grade: A

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Summer Movie Slam: ‘Ted’

There are some things in life that are only there to make you laugh. Nothing more than a chuckle to make you feel better for a moment. These things aren’t bad, but they don’t last very long, and eventually lose their charm.

When was the last time that you watched or listened to Dane Cook’s stand up comedy? The answer, for most of us, would be the 8th grade, some time before you discovered ‘The Office’ and Demetri Martin. But when you were thirteen, Dane Cook was the funniest man on the planet. I remember listening to those bits with my friends, laughing so hard that we were crying on the floor. We would listen ‘Harmful if Swallowed’ again and again, quoting it so much that our parents considered donating us to an animal shelter.

But then Mr. Cook’s next album came out, and it was more of the same. Then he starred in a few terrible movies that someone convinced us to see. Then another album of the same old stuff. Eventually, Dane wasn’t that funny anymore.

Seth MacFarlane; you are slowly becoming the new Dane Cook. You are funny, yes, very funny indeed. But until you try something new instead of the same old schtick’s over and over again, you will laugh yourself right out of relevancy.

Partially, I believe that this isn’t all MacFarlane’s fault. He didn’t demand three animated shows every week; Fox gave it to him based on the success of ‘Family Guy’. I’m sure there have been times where he’s wanted to step out of the box, but stepping out of the box doesn’t move the needle on Fox’s ratings. You know what moves the ratings? Another Stewie and Brian traveling musical, the creepy old man that loves the paper boy, and thirty minutes of “Surfin’ Bird.” How many people have sat this guy in the room and demand “Give the people what they want, Seth!”

Well, someone, must have told him to stick to what you know, because ‘Ted’ is just more of the same. It’s not a bad thing in the short term, but at the end of the day, it makes for an unfulfilling movie-going experience.

In the story of ‘Ted’ is simple, and by simple I mean there’s not much of a story… at all. When John Bennett (played by Mark Wahlberg) is a lonely little boy, he makes a wish for his Teddy Bear to come to life. Sure enough, the next day Ted is a walking, talking stuffed animal with a personality all his own. John and Ted soon become best friends and “Thunder Buddies”. But as time goes on, and John begins to grow up, so does Ted, and Ted grows up to be an immature, disgusting, freeloading roommate that is holding John back.

John’s girlfriend, Lori (played by Mila Kunis), does a very “Meg Griffin” thing and gives John an ultimatum: Ted needs to move out of the apartment or else John and Lori are through. Ted agrees, and what follows are the just growing pains of John and Ted learning to live apart from each other. That’s the movie. There are no real plot changes, nor is there real character development, but there is a bunch of funny stuff that happens along the way.

Ted gets a job at a grocery store, where he meets a cashier that soon becomes his girlfriend. He can’t get fired at the grocery store not matter what he does, leading to some pretty hilarious dialogue between Ted and his boss.

John and Ted spend a night partying with their childhood hero, Flash Gordon, in a drunken montage that is nothing but hysterical.

Joel McHale creeps on Mila Kunis at work. Joel McHale is funny, right?

John sings a song for Lori in front of thousands of people at a Norah Jones concert. Too bad he can’t sing. It’s funny though.

Ted is eventually kidnapped by obsessive fans; obsessive and psychotic fans! Giovanni Ribisi plays a great role as a disturbingly bad father. This is probably the funniest part of the movie.

There are also a bunch of offensive one-liners that are funny based on shock value alone. There is one joke about Parkinson’s disease that I would say is over the line, and caused uncomfortable laughter in the theater.

These are the really funny moments that I can remember right now. Everything above is what I recall about going to ‘Ted’. Doesn’t seem like much, does it? That’s because it isn’t. Listen, I don’t mean to seem rude, and I don’t want to say that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s the funniest movie I’ve seen all year, and it honestly seemed to please the crowd that I saw it with. There were a few parts that I had laughed so much my abs were sore. But then it ended, and I realized that the ending of the movie was very reminiscent of the beginning. Everything was back to the way it was, and no real conflict was really solved. It was just a funny hour and a half.

The biggest problem that I have with the story of ‘Ted’ is the main character, John. Not for one moment do I believe that he loves his girlfriend enough to grow up and change, because he never does. He just screws up a lot, apologizes later, and everything is honky-dory. What happens the next day? Do John and Ted do something stupid again and Lori angry? The conflict is still there. It’s like an episode of ‘Family Guy’; you know that every week Peter is going to do something stupid that makes Lois angry, he apologizes, next episode. In real life, I would question whether or not Peter loves Lois at all. He doesn’t show it to me through growth and change.

If you think about it, the best loves stories are about sacrifice, compromise, and risk. Something has got to give inside these two people or else it’s just not worth it. ‘Casablanca’- Rick makes Ilsa get on the plane. ‘Up’- Ellie leaves Carl a message to stop mourning and live his own adventure. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’- George Bailey gives up his dreams to travel and see the world, because he loves Mary more than his ambitions.

Those make the best love stories.

In comparison, anything else seems trite and inauthentic. It’s a good laugh, but no real heart. A funny quote, but makes no real affect on the way you think. Movies like this are incomplete by design, so I’ll simply wait for the sequel and see if these idiots really learned their lesson. Until then, I’ll watch some ‘Family Guy’ for a few laughs.

My Note: This raunchy comedy about your childhood Teddy Bear is really, really funny, but it isn’t anything better than that.

My Grade: D+

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Summer Movie Slam: ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’

‘Somebody, Somebody, Can anybody find me somebody to love?’ -Queen

The “End of the World” movie has become such an overplayed scenario over the last decade. Maybe it’s the fact that the Mayan calendar predicted that the apocalypse will greet us in just a few short months, or perhaps it’s just the scare of global warming slowly melting the Arctic circle. It could be that LeBron James finally won a NBA Championship, so a global catastrophe really doesn’t seem out of the question.

For whatever the reason, between ‘The Day After Tomorrow,’ ‘2012,’ ‘The Core,’ ’28 Days Later,’ ‘Sunshine,’ not to mention ‘Deep Impact’ and ‘Armageddon’ (which are, by the way, the same exact movie), I’ve just grown tired of all the doom and gloom that we’re seeing on the silver-screen these days. Can you blame me?

Does anyone remember the Los Angeles Super Tornadoes in ‘The Day After Tomorrow’? What was that all about?

Despite my jet lag from watching our planet become ruin time and time again, I decided to take a chance and go see ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.’ I love Steve Carrell. I love Keira Knightley. I love dark comedy, and I was hoping that this movie would be a different perspective on Earth’s swan song.

Not all romantic comedies begin by telling you that a giant asteroid is going to destroy the world in just a few short weeks. Then again, ‘Seeking a Friend…’ is unlike any romance that you have ever seen before. Half-sarcastic comedy, half-touching love story, this movie is one-hundred percent original, and thank the Lord for that.

The film, like most love stories, centers around our two lead characters. Our hero, played wonderfully by Steve Carrell, is Dodge. Dodge’s wife abandons him in the very first scene of the movie. After hearing the news that the planet is a ticking time-bomb, she simply gets out of the car and runs away. Unlike his closest friends and family, who are determined to ring in the apocalypse with partying and anarchy, Dodge wants something more out of his last living days. He ends up going through old photo albums and letters, reminiscing about his old high school sweetheart; his first love. Dodge decides to forgo the fireworks and self-deprecating festivities in order to find his long lost love and declare his undying devotion to her, and of course, do this before the clock strikes midnight.

Dodge’s next-door neighbor is a young woman named Penny (played by Knightley). Penny is a quirky, neurotic, pot-smoking head case who became even more unglued once she heard about the giant meteor… asteroid… whatever. She loves old records, hates her failing relationship, and can sleep through anything. Filled with regret about the time she has spent away from her family in the UK, Penny is heart-broken that she couldn’t get home before all of the airports were shut down.

One night, a riot breaks out near Dodge and Penny’s apartment building. Dodge rushes to make sure that Penny gets out of the building, and while on the run, they strike an agreement. If Penny will help Dodge find his first love, then Dodge will make sure that Penny can get on a plane to see her family one last time. They set on the road, and the audience watches as their adventure unfolds.

I love it when I walk into a theater expecting an average movie, and end up walking out with something twenty-times better than what I expected. ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ is a film that I wanted to see again right when the credits rolled (and also couldn’t wait to write about), because the film itself did something similar to a magic trick. It opens in dark, nihilistic fashion, leaving the audience to believe that it’s all down hill from the start. But on the contrary, from the first five minutes until the last shot, ‘Seeking a Friend…’ gradually uplifts the audience to an emotional conclusion, while also wrestling with themes of contentment and true happiness.

This next part may seem like a stretch, but just stick with me on this one.

In my mind, the movie itself is really a microcosm of how humanity deals with mortality and death, and the remaining life that Dodge and Penny have is simply an allegory of life as we know it. The story is pointing out that in reality, our time on this planet is short, and it is what we choose to do with that short amount of time that really defines us. By making a movie about what happens when we realize that our world is collapsing, writer/director Lorene Scafaria was able to show us what is most important. Love, friendship, and at the end of the day, having someone by your side.

Like in life, at the beginning our characters have goals that they want to achieve. They spend their time fighting and searching for the right path to get them where they want to be. But, there comes a point where Dodge and Penny realize that what they were searching for was right in front of them all along (cue romantic music).

I don’t want to ruin the ride for anyone, so I will simply close with a quick observation about how ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ was received by the critical masses.

Film critics will choose any number of reasons to give a movie a bad review. It could be that it didn’t end the way they felt would be appropriate, or it could be the way it was shot or written. It can honestly be something as simple as the characters not being ‘likable’. And this is why you can’t hold out too much on what the critics think: in the end, it’s really just a collaboration of slightly-snarky and cynical opinions. I honestly believe that this movie received mixed reviews because it made critics feel something they didn’t want to feel, and made more importantly, showed man as something that they didn’t believe to be true.

It painted man as having the potential for goodness in a world that was all going down the tubes. It showed two people that could fall in love in just a few short days. It boldly stated that love conquers even death, and that is something incredibly counter cultural. And what can I say; I’m a lover, not a hater. So, when it comes to feel-good movies, it’s my practice to not listen to the critics. They’re all sad and lonely anyway.

Just kidding, Roger Ebert. I’m still interested in writing that book with you. Your move, Ebert.

My Note: The most surprising movie of the summer. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll enjoy.

My Grade: A-

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