Most of my movie-watching time this week was spent with a new series: GLOW. I can only assume the pitch for the show went something like this:
Creator: I have this brilliant idea for a new show.
Producer: Tell me.
Creator: Think of Orange is the New Black – set in the 80s and with wrestling!
Producer: OMFG, that’s crazy wicked bro! If we can just make a nice actress take her top off in the pilot, you’ve got green light!
The show is, as one would expect, inspired by real American events. And just like OitNB, the first season is pretty fun and fresh-ish and all over the best decade in history. Alas, beyond that, I doubt much will come of it.
Movie of the Week:
n/a (all were average – so here’s a provocative pic from GLOW instead)
- Tour de Pharmacy (2017): I wasn’t taken with the precursor to TdP, tennis-spoof 7 Days in Hell (2016). For whatever reason, that one felt dated and too silly. Perhaps it’s because I care about tennis and don’t care about the Tour de France/cycling, hence I am more willing to accept caricatures and stereotypes of the latter. Anywayz, I laughed at this, even though it feels like it lacks punch to actually matter. The borderline disturbing cameo made by a certain controversial ex-cyclist was a fine idea, cherry on top like, to a strong cast that manages to make the ridicule likable. Given that it’s barely forty minutes long, you have my recommendation and acquiescence to check this out if you’re the inclinations veer towards sports. 6/10
- Gifted (2017): This soft-core movie about a gifted child being cared for by Captain America (Chris Evans), her uncle, has a Hallmark level plot and some decent screen-writing to make the characters presentable and witty, elevating the whole affair to a bearable level. Directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer (2009), a couple of Amazing Spider-Men), this movie about family quarrels and the expectations one can/should have of brilliant young minds doesn’t really have enough nuance in making the sole argument that exclusion (or elite-ization) is the wrong path to trot down. It is, however, a relevant theme for discussion, so for a while the movie kept me interested, before it started to nag. A thing I really dislike is the use of female side-characters solely to provide damaged men a romantic escape hatch, women whose sole purpose is to move the plot along and give the viewer a sense of relief that all the good guys are taken care of – there’s one of them in here too. Ah, well… 6/10
- To the Bone (2017): Another thing that irritates me is how these people try to make certain lesser actors look like/remind you of better actors. It’s the case in TtB, with the irrelevant Lily Collins being shaped into a Rooney Mara. Some may disagree, but it sure looked like Rooney Mara there for a while. The movie gives anorexia the full treatment in an uncomfortable tale that, unfortunately, failed to make me connect. The fault lies with the characters whose motivations feel impenetrable. You can see drama coming a mile off and you just know what it’s going to feel like, so that doesn’t help either. But there are these glimpses of utter truthfulness that touched me, hurt me even, with the pain that was being shared; while not the most desirable feeling, it made TtB matter to some degree. With an equally emotional, if somewhat predictable, ending to boot, Marti Nixon’s movie just about makes the grade. 6/10 P.S. If you’re in it for Keanu Reeves, don’t be. He barely comes up.
- Okja (2017): Okja is an uneven movie, bitingly ironic at points, and completely lacking in subtlety, which advocates against the industrialized agricultural complex – specifically meat. Okja is the title character’s name, a super-pig bread by the mega-conglomerate Mirando (*cough* *cough* Monsanto), which aims to harvest the meat off the animal after a ten-year feel-good campaign covering up all the vile nastiness the company has been indulging with (animal abuse, GMOs, corruption, you name it). As it just happens, Okja looks less like a pig and more like a half-hippo, half-dog with the intelligence of a very clever dolphin – just to make certain you can’t objectify this unambiguously human animal-character. The movie is profoundly anti-system, going at it from the big commercial targets and the subservient media-figures, all the way down to the inconsistency of animal advocacy groups. There are some beautiful moments in Okja, but I despise the lack of nuance when portraying big, politically hefty themes. 5/10