2/15/13: A Good Day to Die Hard

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What a curious thing, Die Hard. Die Hard is, in the eyes of many, one of the greatest action movies ever made. For good reason, of course. It has everything you could reasonably want in an action movie unless your idea of an action movie comes from the Michael Bay/Roland Emmerich school of action movies. Die Hard is an intense film with well shot scenes, a hero you instantly get attached to, and a charismatic and oddly likable villain. Plus there’s a black guy! Everyone loves those!

Part of what makes Die Hard so…Die Hard is the central character of John McClane, a no-nonsense cop with a bit of a vigilante streak in him. He works so well as a hero precisely because he doesn’t want to be one. Sure that whole “How does the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” line in Die Hard 2 was played for laughs, but it perfectly encapsulates the John McClane character. The reason we like John McClane so much isn’t just because of his pithy quips or his prowess with a gun, it is because we enjoy seeing someone struggle against the odds. It makes for an exciting movie, especially an action movie, if the protagonist is in over his head. It makes the payoff all the sweeter in the end.

Back in 2007 fans of Die Hard complained that John McClane was going the route of generic action hero, that Die Hard was going for spectacle over situation. That it was killing what made Die Hard…Die Hard. They were wrong.

A Good Day to Die Hard killed it. And then shat on its corpse. Just to be safe.

The problems with Good Day are evident almost from word go. It just sort of…opens. The Russian Alec Baldwin talks to another Russian about some muddy stuff that has no real payoff. Some guy who looks like Sam Worthington’s stunt double shoots a guy. People in Langley stand around looking worried. It’s all very fast and all very poorly handled. The Sam Worthington lookalike is Jack McClane, son to super cop John McClane.

Jack McClane is the worst thing in the movie.

I’m not talking about the actor (I can’t be assed to look up or remember who it was), he was awful but so was everyone. I’m not talking about how he has no redeeming qualities. I’m talking about how this single character is responsible for making Die Hard into just another shitty action movie.

You see, Jack McClane wants to be in a Michael Bay movie. He wants to be the guy that waltzes into a room, fires a gun a few times and watches as everything explodes and inept guards fall over rails to their death. He would fit in perfectly in any other summer movie where people defend its quality by calling it “mindless entertainment.”

Fuck you if you’ve ever justified a movie with that excuse. Fuck you for accepting those types of movies as enjoyable.

You’re probably thinking “this guy hates the movie because it doesn’t feel like a Die Hard movie”. Yes, that’s true. The movie has no reason to have Die Hard in the title. There’s nothing resembling a Die Hard movie present. But even if I went into it having no knowledge of Die Hard I would hate it.

A Good Day to Die Hard might be the laziest action movie I’ve ever seen. Everything about it screams lazy, from Bruce Willis’ performance which adds a new meaning to “phoning it in” to the fucking terrible camera work, the awful pacing, the non-threatening villains and the downright cringe-inducing script.

The script plays out like someone was told to write a script for a sequel to Die Hard and the only thing they knew about Die Hard was that at one point the main character gets a machine gun and he says “yippee kay yay, motherfucker”.

John McClane arrives in Moscow to spring his son, Jack, from jail. What John doesn’t know, because in true McClane fashion he has a strained relationship with family, is that Jack is working an assignment for the C.I.A. Jack is tasked with escorting a political prisoner out of Moscow for…reasons. John shows up as Jack is fleeing and  fucks everything up. Father and son are now tasked with killing Russians who want to kill the prisoner for…I dunno they were bored?

The core of the movie is the relationship between father and son. Jack absolutely hates John because John was a terrible father and daddy issues are all the rage these days. The movie makes it a point to hammer this into your skull by having Jack constantly go “FUCK YOU, DAD” without ever going “fuck you dad”. Early on the only things out of Jack’s mouth is some variation of “damn you, John”.

Remember the part in Die Hard when they had Holly constantly point out that things are problematic? No?

BECAUSE THEY ESTABLISHED THAT IN THE FIRST FEW SCENES.

Jack’s entire character is just generic action guy who hates his dad. On the flipside, once reluctant hero John is now actively engaging in danger just…just because. Throughout the movie John keeps saying “this is supposed to be my vacation!”

Except, no, John, it wasn’t. You specifically went to Moscow to get your son out of prison. You specifically started a multi car pile up/high speed chase that ended with wounded in the triple digits. Are we supposed to think John’s idea of a vacation is ruining international relations and compromising a secret government mission?

The strained relationship could serve as an interesting backdrop if it was done well. It wasn’t. One scene has father and son at odds end and the next scene they are buddy buddy. One small conversation where John mocks Jack for crying as a kid and all the years of bad blood is resolved because it would be too difficult to stage an action scene where two people work like oil and water. Fuck character development for the person you clearly want to take on the John McClane role, no one wants a reason to care about the hero.

Speaking of reasons to care, the villains have the most vague plot that gives the audience no real reason to care about them or otherwise feel anything towards them be it hatred or sympathy. They are Russians and hate Americans and that is reason enough to hate them, I guess. There is some mention to the main villains being responsible for Chernobyl (yes, the whole thing) but that’s about it. Think of any iconic villain in an action movie. Not just Hans but any villain. Why do you remember them? Did they have a memorable appearance? Charisma? The villains in A Good Day blabbity blah are literal rent-a-cops in movie form. Without an interesting or compelling villain there is no real reason to get invested in the hero’s journey and thus no reason to care about the movie as a whole. A large reason why people loved The Dark Knight was because of Joker’s presence and menace throughout the whole thing. He was constantly a step ahead of Batman and that made people invested. Imagine if the villain in Dark Knight was that Russian guy that worked with Falcone and the other mobs. Would you care when Batman took him down? Fuck no you wouldn’t.

That’s the villains in Good Day. The laziest written villains possible. “Russian”.

A Good Day to Die Hard tries so hard to be a spectacle piece. It wants nothing more than to have an excuse for a room full of glass to be shot to bits and then blown up. In the process it loses anything enjoyable about it. There’s no soul in the movie. It feels like a factory assembled movie put together to appeal directly to the lowest common denominator. Judging by the way the people behind me in the theater spoke so highly about it (“That was fuckin’ AWESOME!” after every single action beat) I guess they succeeded.

Every scene not housing a big room that can be full of cannon fodder exists merely as a tool for Bruce Willis to smirk and look old. Rather than spend downtime attempting to give Jack or the villains any sort of motivation, they speed through these scenes in order to cram in yet another scene where the McClane’s jump through glass. It’s sad because there could’ve been a real movie here, with characters actually growing and everything. But no, we get this fast paced spectacle where no scene is given any time to breathe or develop. Sure we’ve had four movies to get to know John, but Jack has a fresh slate here. If you’re going to give the hero a sidekick, at least give the sidekick a personality. Like Argyle or Zeus Carver.

A Good Day to Die Hard is lazy. That’s the best way to put it. I suppose if you’re the kind of person who thought any of the Transformers movies was actually good you’ll come away from Good Day with a positive image. But you’ll be the kind of person who thinks “mindless entertainment” is acceptable. And you already know what I think of people like that.

1/25/13: Movie 43

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Take a look at that poster. Take a good, long look. What sticks out? Is it the incredibly boastful tagline of “THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS COMEDY EVER MADE”? The long list of moderately-to-well-known actors making up the cast? Is it the terrible way the actors look and how none of them are looking at the same thing? Or how the head shots all look like they are pulled from a different image? Is it the terrible photoshop trying to fool us into thinking Johnny Knoxville doesn’t look like age fucked him like a prison inmate?

Whatever it is, you must agree that the poster is just awful.

But does the poster pique your interest? Do you look at the cast list and the claim of being an outrageous comedy and say “That looks like something I have to see?” I was like that. I heard Kate Winslet was doing a comedy and my first thought was “How can she top the uproarious film that was The Reader?” So I saw it. And I’m not going to review it. Instead I am going to do some nice community service.

This goes out to anyone thinking of paying money to see Movie 43.

43 REASONS NOT TO SEE MOVIE 43

  1. Hugh Jackman wears a set of prosthetic testicles on his chin. That’s the entire joke. A joke that was done in Men in Black 2 and even South Park. 
  2. Immediately following the overlong scene of Kate Winslet proving that she has a (terrible) sense of humor by appearing in a sketch where Hugh Jackman has a set of testicles on his chin, the fake movie-within-a-movie set up tries to apply subtlety. To a sketch about a man with testicles on his chin.
  3. The movie was shot over four years ago. It is only coming out now.
  4. It has a different director for each little sketch, one of whom is the most middling director in all of Hollywood, Brett Ratner.
  5. It was conceived and put together by Peter Farrelly, further giving evidence to the claim that Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary were really made by aliens. And also that Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary were never funny and you are all idiots.
  6. Halle Berry, after getting topless pointlessly in Swordfish and having rough prison-style sex with Billy Bob Thornton, doesn’t even have the decency to show her actual tits, instead dipping an obvious prosthetic into a vat of guacamole.
  7. One of the directors has an impressive resume consisting of such cinematic delights as Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Daddy Day Care.
  8. Jason Sudekis proves that he could never be Batman. In case they were looking for a replacement.
  9. Even though they could use a parody excuse, the costumers made the worst Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman outfits ever put together by the hands of Chinese children. Seriously, I’ve seen better costumes at a Wal Mart.
  10. Seriously, if you’re going to have the characters play Batman, Robin, Supergirl, Lois Lane, and Wonder Woman, at the very least make them look like the counterparts.
  11. Real life couple Chris Pratt and Anna Faris have as much chemistry as Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman.
  12. Real life couple Chris Pratt and Anna Faris do their best to convince us that a skit about pooping on someone can be funny if they just repeat the same thing. God bless them for trying.
  13. At one point the movie stops to give us a fake ad for something called the iBabe which is a naked woman with iPod buttons on her. The ad is done in the same style as those old iPod commercials with the dancing people and the popular single of the day. I am sure it was funny back when those commercials were still on the air.
  14. McLovin desperately tries to prove he can be funny. It didn’t work in Pitch Perfect, Chris, it doesn’t work here.
  15. Seth MacFarlane is the most convincing actor in the movie. Let that simmer for a bit. And then remember this movie has no less than two Academy Award winning actors in it.
  16. Emma Stone isn’t even pretty to look at in the movie.
  17. Stephen Merchant shows that Ricky Gervais is his breadwinner.
  18. Josh Duhamel is in the movie.
  19. At one point someone explodes into chunks of shit instead of blood when hit by a car.
  20. Poop is not a punchline, yet on more than one occasion a fart or poop is used to punctuate a scene.
  21. Justin Long punches the PC guy from those commercials. Seriously, fuck Mac.
  22. Halle Berry, who has already won a Raspberry, shows an incredibly fake and obviously prosthetic pair of breasts. That’s the joke. That she has large plastic breasts. Everyone laugh.
  23. Liev Schreiber is wasted. Sorry, Liev. I still love you.
  24. There are fake commercials  Three of them. This is explained in the movie-within-a-movie as being a great idea.
  25. Seth MacFarlane has one of the only actual jokes in the movie. He is pitching a movie (“It’s like Family Guy mixed with Schindler’s List!”) (that’s not the joke) to Common. The name of the movie is Challahcaust. i thought that was funny because I like dumb puns.
  26. An ensemble cast is wasted doing jokes that a juvenile wouldn’t find funny.
  27. Uma Thurman makes the exact same joke about Superman cumming quickly that everyone has made before. Only she said jizz so it’s different.
  28. Instead of watching this you can use the ticket money to go and rent The Ten, which is also a movie about short films but is actually funny.
  29. The name Dick Grayson is used to make a pedophilia joke.
  30. Hugh Jackman has a set of testicles on his chin.
  31. You can get the same effect from this movie if you just watch that one clip from John Waters’ Pink Flamingos where Divine eats dog shit.
  32. A better sketch comedy movie is Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. At least they understand how to make sketches funny,
  33. The line “that was epic” is uttered. And it is meant to be taken at face value.
  34. Josh Duhamel does not get killed. Or covered in bodily fluid.
  35. It is trying to be like The Kentucky Fried Movie but doesn’t bother to offer the parody or humor that made KFM actually funny.
  36. There is yellowface in the movie. And unlike Cloud Atlas which had yellowface for an actual reason and was the cause for criticism by offended people, the yellowface here is used for a single anti-Asian joke and dollars to donuts it won’t have any criticism for it. Double points: both instances of yellowface involved Halle Berry.
  37. The movie wasn’t screened for critics. That should tell you something.
  38. Its idea of ‘outrageous’ humor is on the same level as stuff you’ve seen in other movies in its ilk.
  39. None of the directors on their own have made a funny movie. They still haven’t.
  40. What’s the point of having a huge cast when all you do is have them sit in front of each other and talk to someone with testicles on his chin.
  41. It makes Judd Apatow movies seen like high fucking cinema.
  42. Why is it even called Movie 43?
  43. The only thing offensive about it are the obscenities I yelled in my car on the way home.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good comedy just as much as the next warm blooded American. But I like my comedy to have punchlines. Jokes. Set ups and deliveries. Someone farting is not a joke. Someone shitting is not a joke. What is a joke is watching this movie.

But okay, I can be fair. Here’s a list of positives about Movie 43. I was going to have 43 things but I couldn’t think of that many.

5 REASONS TO WATCH MOVIE 43

  1. During the scene with Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry, Merchant makes reference to parallel universes and alternate universes and for the briefest of moments I thought of Cloud Atlas and was happy.
  2. Josh Duhamel gets face fucked by an animated cat.
  3. Josh Duhamel makes out and rims an animated cat.
  4. The home school sketch with Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts was actually funny. Watch it on Youtube or something.
  5. Kristen Bell looks cute as Supergirl.

As you can see, unless you are like me and enjoy seeing Josh Duhamel getting face fucked by a cartoon cat (because Josh Duhamel fucking blows and any and all humiliation towards him is okay by me), there is no good reason to see Movie 43. None. If you do it I will personally kick you in the dick.

Which, come to think of it, never once happened in Movie 43. So that makes six positive things.

SUGGESTIONS

As mentioned in the list, two better movies to watch are The Ten by master of awkward comedy David Wain, and The Kentucky Fried Movie. The Ten also stars Liev Schreiber. It also has jokes and is funny and just watch it.

1/18/13: Linda Linda Linda

 

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If you ask an average movie watcher to list their top five favorite movies, chances are you will see a list of familiar titles that more often than not line up with at least one of the films on IMDB’s Top 250 list. If you ask a serious film aficionado you’ll probably get some more of the safe, well known films. Oh, by the way if someone says Citizen Kane is their favorite movie they are trying to impress you. I am probably talking out of my ass in assuming what other people would put in their personal top five list. Generally speaking you will not meet many average people who will put a foreign film on their list of favorite movies.

Linda Linda Linda is one of my favorite movies. As in a top fiver. Maybe one day I’ll tell you the list.

Now some might think that starting this review list blog thing with one of my favorite movies is a dumb idea. But I did say that I would write about every movie I see this year and Linda Linda Linda takes the honor of being the first. Of course I didn’t pick it specifically so I could gush about this movie. Don’t be silly. Well, alright, that’s part of it. But I also think it is harder to write about the things you love, at least from a critical standpoint. Writing on why something is bad is easy. So yes, I did pick Linda Linda Linda to start the list off on a high, but I also did it to see if I could talk about the movie and why I love it and even some things I don’t like about it. If you’re expecting me to end this with a number so you can scroll down and see what I give it, just leave now. I hate applying numbers to things. The number doesn’t matter. The words do. So read on and see why Linda Linda Linda is a wonderful movie.

THE PLOT Linda Linda Linda is a plotless movie. Not literally of course. It is plotless in the same way Napoleon Dynamite is plotless. But unlike Napoleon Dynamite, the plotlessness of Linda Linda Linda works in its favor. The movie is about three Japanese high school girls who are in their school’s pop music club three days before the cultural festival. For those of you who didn’t grow up with anime, a cultural festival is where every class and club at a high school puts on sort of a mini carnival for a few days and people from the town come and have some fun and pay some yen to eat food made by the students and maybe see a play or something. My knowledge of Japanese culture comes strictly from anime, movies, and Asian dramas so I am probably off base. But all you need to know is that a cultural festival is literally that: a festival.

The girls, Kei (Yuu Kashii), Kyoko (Aki Maeda, Battle Royale), and Nozomi (Shiori Sekine, actual musician) find themselves in a bit of a pickle. Their guitarist has broken her finger due to a basketball injury and Kei’s enemy and fellow club member wants nothing to do with the performance. With just under three days before they are scheduled to perform the three decide to have the first girl that crosses their path perform vocals so they can play the gig. Enter Son (Bae Doona, Take Care of My Cat), a Korean exchange student who barely speaks Japanese. I’m going to stop for a minute. See that name up there? Bae Doona? Were it not totally creepy I could easily talk about her for extended lengths of time. I celebrate her entire filmography…the ones that I’ve seen, anyway. I’ve sought out movies just because she is in them. I honestly considered learning Korean just because I wanted to watch some of the Korean dramas she stars in without subtitles. The way some people adore actresses like Meryl Streep I adore Bae Doona. If you are going to be reading this blog you’d do well to remember that name; it is bound to come up again. Multiple times. Anyway, back to the movie. The four girls, with merely three days before they perform, have to learn three songs from the Japanese punk band ‘The Blue Hearts’. Kei, normally a keyboardist, has to learn guitar while Son has to learn to both sing in a different language and communicate with the others. Now you are probably thinking that that sounds like a plot. You’re right. It does. But the movie isn’t about that. I mean, sure the end goal is for them to perform at the festival but that’s not what this movie is about. This movie is about Son.

Bae Doona as Son

Bae Doona as Son

THE SON

Indeed one of the reasons I adore this film so much is the character of Son and Bae Doona’s portrayal. Doona, a Korean actress, steals the show away from the ‘main’ character Kei. It isn’t just her. The director, Nobuhiro Yamashita, gets credit for letting scenes develop a character just as much and as well as dialog. What I mean by this can be seen in the opening scene of the film. It opens with a tracking shot as Kyoko walks around the school, stopping to talk to some of her friends. All around her you hear and see the sounds of laughter and happiness as classmates and friends work on turning their classrooms into festival stations. And as Kyoko continues on her walk, she passes by a seemingly empty room – and the camera moves into the room. And it isn’t empty. Inside the room is Son. Son is staring at the exhibit for her classroom. Her classroom, a special classroom specifically for her, is advertised as a “Japan-Korea Culture Exchange”. Contrary to every other classroom, Son is by herself while her teacher rambles on about fliers. The other classrooms are putting up decorations and balloons and sounding excited. Son is staring at the main attraction for the class. A picture of a cow with cuts of beef on it and “Beef Darts” written on top.

Son is very much a stranger in a strange land. She barely speaks the language, her teacher doesn’t care, and she has no friends. The display of loneliness don’t stop there. Son is always shown walking alone while those around her are walking in groups and having fun, and the only person outside of her teacher that talks to her is the daughter of her host family; and she only does it to subtly mock her for not understanding the language. Son is not a particularly happy person and the movie does a fantastic job of showing this to you. It does this by effectively using mise en scene. The characters in the movie don’t talk often so to compensate Yamashita puts an emphasis on visual storytelling. Now, pretty much every director worth a damn is going to want to care about the layout of a scene, but Yamashit uses the scene and the set to tell his story just as much if not more so than the script. And Bae Doona is no slouch either. Her eyes say just as much as her mouth and you can feel the sadness that lies beneath her every smile. What makes Son work as a character is in how she interacts with the other three. Son is initially forced into joining the band so that Kei can get out of an awkward situation. Son, not understanding, merely accepts. And even as she says no after understanding what they meant, Kei doesn’t seem to care that Son is uncomfortable. This simple understanding is the start of Son’s (and Kei’s, but we don’t care about her) transformation.

All good characters in any medium should undergo an arc or otherwise change in some way by the end. Son not only changes, she changes the other three even while they continue to laugh at her. I’m trying to avoid spoilers even though this movie came out in 2005 but suffice it to say, Son goes from a sad-but-smiling character into someone who genuinely finds acceptance and friendship. One of my favorite moments in the film happens near the end. Son’s only visitor to the Beef Darts exhibit is the daughter of her host family. Son is tired and doing her best to put on a smile for the kid. And then Kei enters. Son brightens up. And the daughter, in total shock, says “Hey, you have a friend!” That line, hell that SCENE, floors me every time because it perfectly represents the arc that both Son and Kei go through. Son finally has a friend and Kei no longer finds herself taking things so seriously all the time. They helped each other without even knowing.

 

THE MOVIE

Son and Kei's friendship is the backbone of the film

Son and Kei’s friendship is the backbone of the film

Unfortunately this isn’t about Son. It’s about Linda Linda Linda. Yes, Son is a major reason why I adore this film but another reason is that it’s just an enjoyable movie all around. It is the perfect rainy day movie and I don’t mean that as an insult. Pretty much every aspect of the movie is geared towards a relaxing movie watching experience, from the incredibly simple plot to the score composed by former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha is there to give the viewer a warm feeling. It’s the movie version of grandma’s home made chicken noodle soup. And if your grandma never made you chicken noodle soup I am sorry for the terrible life you are leading.

I often criticize Japanese films for being poorly shot and having some of the worst special effects this side of an Asylum film, but Linda Linda Linda feels like it was helmed by Robert Zemeckis..err…pre-Flight. From the opening tracking shot to the masterful mise en scene to the direction of each individual scene, Linda Linda Linda just…works. It is hard, dare I say impossible, to not end the movie either with  smile or feeling good. Unless, of course, you have something against aimless movies and understated performances.

THE BAD

Of course there has to be bad because nothing is perfect. I do love this movie nd it is because of that love that I can see the negatives. Most of them are minor, but they are still there.

The biggest problem is that two of the four girls are just kind of …there. The movie is really about Son and Kei and it shows. The other two never get any sort of time to shine or grow even though the movie is two hours long. The only thing the audience knows about Nozomi is that she is quiet and has a large family. It is heavily implied that they are not doing too well financially since she has to budget out groceries while the other three girls try to get her to buy expensive desserts, but nothing is really done with the character. She is just “the bassist” and sometimes she pipes in to agree or disagree with another character. Kyoko, the fourth girl, is given  subplot that goes nowhere. I mean that literally. She is supposed to be the ‘normal’ one that holds the band together but that’s poorly executed. Her subplot involves her crush on a classmate. It’s in there but it really has no reason to be. It isn’t resolved and all it does is create one tiny bit of needless drama in the final act. I really would’ve liked to have these characters have the same impact as Son and Kei, but nothing of the sort happens.

I mentioned that it was a two hour movie and I am all for movies over 90 minutes, but there are times when the deliberate pace works against it. Specifically the scenes with Kei and Tamoko, an older girl who spends her festival time sitting on the roof drinking beer and reading manga.

But the biggest offender is the single worst scene in the movie.

THE WORST SCENE

Near the end, as in ten minutes or so before the credits, there is a really heartwarming moment between Kei and Son that takes place in a bathroom. It is one of my favorite moments in the movie. Immediately following that is a dream sequence in which Kei is given a prosthetic hand, a cake, and is put on stage in front of four people dressed like The Ramones while the other three girls clap and are slowly slid offscreen.

This is the worst scene

This is the worst scene

It is completely out of place and adds nothing to the movie. In a movie where very little actually happens it takes effort to add a scene which literally adds NOTHING to the table. All it does is extend the run time. It isn’t even necessary to tell the audience that the girls are asleep because that is already accomplished prior to that when characters are trying to contact them. It doesn’t even work as character development for Kei because at that point in the movie she had finished her arc. In fact in the scene before the dream she finally reaches the end of her development. Are we supposed to interpret this as meaning that one day Kei wants to play on stage at the Budokan in front of The Ramones?

Does she know that Johnny, Joey, and Dee Dee are dead?

There is also some stuff between Kei and her burnout ex boyfriend that goes on for a bit too long. But it’s not the worst. The dream is the worst.

THE BEST SCENE

The best scene involves Son. Because of course it does. Late into the movie, the girls are worn out from practicing late into the night. Son takes this as her chance to go for a little walk. The girls had been practicing in the school club room and so Son, who had never experienced a culture festival, decides to go on  little tour. No one is there, of course, because this is after hours. Son goes skipping by the exhibits and emulating the sounds she overheard in the past days. Son is delighted just to be able to see all of the stands after days of nonstop rehearsal. She winds up in the auditorium and steps onto the stage.

What follows is incredibly uplifting as Son pretends to introduce the band, detailing the quirks and traits of her only friends. And as she comes to herself she pauses and gets a depressed look on her face. It lasts but a second, but she never describes herself like she does the others. She hesitates and just says her name. And when she returns to the club room she sees the other three girls waiting for her and smiles the first genuine smile of the film.

It sounds odd in text, but it plays wonderfully on film and defines the character of Son. All she cares about is having friends and seeing them happy. The other three need Son for the gig. But no one realizes just how much the four of them truly need each other.

The second best scene involves Son and a secret admirer but you’ll have to see the movie to get that.

THE END

I hope I did an alright job in justifying why I think Linda Linda Linda is a fantastic movie. I probably didn’t. But it is.

I’m terrible at ending things so I’ll just do a quick summation of my thoughts.

Linda Linda Linda is a fantastic movie that I adore for its visual storytelling and understated performance by the incomparable Bae Doona. I’m not going to say that everyone should watch it, and if you hate deliberately slow paced movies where nothing happens until the end you will probably be bored to death right around the time the girls are drinking juice under the stars. At times you feel the length of the movie, but you won’t regret sticking it out to the end. Even if you hate foreign movies for some reason, consider watching Linda Linda Linda. You won’t regret it. And if you do, tell me. So I can tell you that you are wrong.

SUGGESTED VIEWING

If you like Linda Linda Linda I suggest you watch Swing Girls. Swing Girls is very similar to Linda Linda Linda and came out a year before. It contains a larger cast of characters and has pretty much the same plot. Though instead of a punk concert the girls in Swing Girls want to play a swing jazz show. The characters aren’t developed well and it’s far more comedic, but the two are practically the same movie. Hell, they even have the same ending. Like, the exact same scenario and resolution. I feel Linda Linda Linda is a better film, but Swing Girls is pretty good too.

Once you get past the reading, anyway.

The stars of Linda Linda Linda

The stars of Linda Linda Linda

What is Norton’s List

So it’s come to this. 

Great way to start, right? You all have that person in your life who has a million stories to tell; the person who is always at the center of attention; the person who swears he met Tom Cruise at a party once. I’m not that person. Instead I’m the person whose friends and family always told to “start a blog” because of my…loud opinions. Which, by this point, is probably the same story for every damn blog out there. Better late than never, though, right? Now, when people tell me I have loud opinions they don’t mean on such hot issues like politics, religion, racism, or whatever you see on the nightly news. No, my opinions are based in the much nicer world of pop culture. 

Specifically the world of film. 

For as long as I’ve known just what it is people like Roger Ebert do for a living I’ve been talking mess about movies. I love movies. I love watching them. I love discussing them. I love making them. I love writing about them. 

I know. You’re thinking “Here we go, another asshole with a keyboard wanting to start a movie review blog. Boring.”

And you know what? You’re right. I’m just like every other amateur critic out there. What gives me the right to say what is good and what is shit? Why should you listen to me? I don’t have the answer for you. But I still gotta try, right?

But that still doesn’t answer what exactly the ‘list’ portion is, does it? Ostensibly, yes, this is a blog for me to dissect films. In that sense it is a review blog. However, that is not limited specifically to theatrical releases. 

What the list is is simple. It is a listing -and critiquing- of every movie I watch in the year 2013. (And 2014, if this goes well.) Be it a movie I see in theaters, something I watch on HBO, or even a Lifetime original movie: if I watch it in 2013, I will write about it. So you may very well see me talk about movies you are already familiar with. Or perhaps I’ll introduce you to a new favorite. Anyone who knows me knows that I watch a metric assload of movies. While some people like to go out clubbing or fucking on Friday nights, I’m much happier watching Annie Hall or In Bruges on a Friday. That probably makes me sound like some kind of anti-social weirdo, but I’m proud of my hobby. Also I’m a shit dancer so you don’t want to see me in the club. 

Norton’s List is something I’ve been thinking of doing ever since some of my friends once told me to start a blog after I told them just why Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the worst big budget movie in recent memory. That movie came out in 2011. Why did it take me so long? 

I’m habitually lazy. Probably because I’m sitting around watching movies all damn day. 

So in a nutshell, that’s what Norton’s List is. A place for me to have a record of every film I watch over the course of a year. And I’m inviting people to join me and listen as I defend or deride the movies of 2013. This blog will most likely be updated weekly (sometimes daily depending on my schedule) and in weeks where I don’t watch a movie I am going to talk to you about some of my favorite actors, actresses, and directors. 

Or, I dunno, I’ll talk about television shows or something. 

So please, join me as I start this year-long journey. And by all means contact me to agree or disagree. I love nothing more than discussing films with like-minded individuals. 

Thanks for reading. Hopefully you’ll continue to do so.