What do Avatar, Twelve Monkeys and Juno have in common? I’ll give you a minute …
Giving up already? OK, here goes: I lounged on my sofa on Saturday and watched all three movies back to back while I was being majorly lazy. Yeah, I know you had no hope of guessing, but it was fun to make you try. Don’t ask me why I picked those three – except that my DVR was telling me it had only 19% remaining capacity, and Avatar is a long-ass, capacity-hogging movie.
First, I watched Juno. I’m hanging my head in writerly shame for not having seen this movie way sooner. I mean, it came out in 2007. But now that I’ve seen it, I can say it was worth the wait. The dialogue and actors were amazing – and I loved that Juno’s stepmom was not a hateful bitch. How refreshing!
Next, I watched Twelve Monkeys from 1995. “Why?” you may ask. Three reasons: 1) Bruce Willis, 2) Brad Pitt and 3) A good friend told me it was pretty good. I remember catching glimpses of it a long time ago when my dad was watching it on DVD, but I didn’t pay much attention. It looked like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Blade Runner. Not my idea of a good time then. But I’m older now (remember when I used the word “rad”?) and better able to appreciate movies about crazy people. See, Brucie’s a time traveler sent from the future to stop a virus from wiping out the human race. But when he arrives in the past, he ends up looking like, well, a nutjob. Brad Pitt is there, too, also looking like a nutjob. Amazing how well these two actors portrayed insane characters who weren’t actually insane. At least in Brucie’s case. Brad really was looney tunes – but in a good way. Brad just wanted to free the animals, not end the world as his co-characters assumed.
At any rate, I was entertained, if a little lost at times. And it turns out that what I perceived as a terrible, sad ending was actually quite hopeful. I didn’t figure this out until a friend explained it to me. I’m going to say I didn’t catch the hopeful note at the end cuz I was distracted by Brad’s freakishly rolling left eye. But it could just be that I have the attention span of a bored cat.
Last, I watched Avatar. At nearly three hours long, it freed up lots of space on my DVR when I deleted it. Bottom line: I liked it. I wasn’t crazy about it. I don’t want to watch it again. But I liked it. As everyone knows, the special effects are rad. I totally bought that the Na’vi people exist and that a paraplegic Marine could have his consciousness inserted into a Na’vi avatar so he could fall in love and save the world. Well, the world of Pandora, anyway.
Lots of cliches in this one. White guy puts it all on the line to save people of color. Dad’s not happy his daughter has fallen for the enemy. Misguided military guy blows shit up to gain control of lucrative resources. So while I was entertained, I felt as if I’d seen a lot of it before -- just not looking so damn cool.
It was derivative all over the place: Gee, there’s Romeo and Juliet. And Dances With Wolves. And The Wizard of Oz. Oh, look, it’s How to Train Your Dragon! And whenever Sigourney Weaver was on screen, I kept expecting an alien to come out of the ventilation system. I could already hear her screaming, “Get away from her, you bitch!” But, hey, that might have more to do with the fact that Avatar writer James Cameron also wrote Aliens, which I hadn't remembered until just now. Funny how the brain works.
So, did you watch any movies this weekend? Recommendations?