Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thumbs up, thumbs down, and a question for ya.

Saw the new Bond movie last weekend, and it did not disappoint. The theme music, as feared, is unpleasant (enough with the goddamn wailing already). But the movie rocked, and must be seen again ASAP. I really, really like how they've reinvigorated the Bond character. Go, see. Report back.

On the home screen (that is to say, the home wall... eventually we'll get a screen, and probably kick ourselves for not having done it sooner), we had A History of Violence (2005). Briefly, for the five Americans who haven't yet seen it: A small town family man owns a diner. When bad guys come and try to rob it, he reacts so spectacularly that it makes big news, drawing the attention of mobsters who believe him to be someone he claims he isn't. Trouble ensues.

I know a lot of people really liked this movie. I didn't. Not even a little bit. The performances were either oddly wooden (Viggo Mortensen as Our Hero) or caricatures (Ed Harris and William Hurt as the mobsters). The script was stupid. The sex was gratuitous -- these scenes were really just, ahem, stuck in there, and completely lacked the chemistry they were supposed to be showing. Yeah, we get it, they're connecting -- but how come it doesn't look like they're having any fun? Yeah, we get it, they're conflicted but still attracted -- do we have to watch them pounding it out on the stairs for five freakin' minutes? Yawn. (Can we stipulate that I'm not a prude? I guess you'll have to take my word for it, and/or I'll have to come up with a post of great sex scenes.)

Anyway. The whole thing was predictable and tiresome and, even at 1 hr. 40 min., probably a half hour too long. Better suited to cable.

It did serve one purpose: the friend who recommended it to me and I can reasonably conclude that we usually hate what the other one loves, and ignore each other's recommendations henceforth. We only see each other a couple times a year, but she'll often tell me, essentially, "that book/movie you said six months ago that you loved? was really, really bad!" and I sort of shrug and change the subject, because I can't even remember recommending whatever it was. When I hate something she loved, I usually don't bring it up; I can express opinions pretty strongly sometimes, and don't want to be misinterpreted as insulting her.

When someone tells you a book or movie is a must-read or -see, and you hate it, do you make a point of telling them so? If they do, are you insulted?


  1. Okay, first of all, I also hated A History of Violence. I'm with ya on that one.

    Secondly, I refuse to watch the new James Bond because I resent the fact that he's blonde. Other than Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan was a great Bond because he LOOKED the part.

    As to your question, I do not generally report back on a book or movie recommendation unless the person asks me how I liked it. Depending on who that person is, I may sugarcoat my review if necessary.

    I make blanket recommendations sometimes, like in my blog I might say "This was a great book, I recommend it." If someone hates it in that context it doesn't bother me. But if I recommend something to someone on a very personal level and it turns out they didn't like it, I usually find myself baffled. Like, "How could you possibly not have liked it? What didn't you like about it?" Especially when it's something that I really and truly loved.

    And finally, I totally think you should post the greatest sex scenes. That'd just be fun.

    I would like to nominate the scene with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz in Enemy At The Gates, where they're in an army sleeping bag in a room full of soldiers and they have to be silent. For most of it you don't see anything but their faces, and it's totally hot.

  2. I don't get why blond is a problem. (If it has anything to do with it not being Ian Fleming's original vision... well. The movie-007 departed from that long ago; hair color aside, this new incarnation is actually something of a homecoming.)

    Bottom line, for me: Daniel Craig rocks this role but good.

    Haven't seen Enemy at the Gates. Sounds worth watching.

  3. A History of Violence (2005) is a bad movie.

    When someone tells me a book/movie is a must read/see, but I think it was awful, I do not bring it up. If the book/movie comes up again, I just say it was not for me. It's possible I was not in the right mood, that I missed something important, or that I know too much about the reality to enjoy the fiction.

    I typically do not make recommendations for others, but will mention the things I have enjoyed. If they come back to tell me it was lousy, I am not insulted - we are just different. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I am not sure why they always need to share it.

  4. I don't get the blond thing either, but eh. I wonder if Jude Law and his nanny had better scenes.