Saturday, May 23, 2009

Music Movies

Just finished watching August Rush with the kids, even though I initially told them we were only going to watch 30 mins and then go to bed, because they stayed up late watching Willow last night. When Daddy's away...

Anyway, what does anyone make of this movie? While watching it, I kept having flashbacks to this confrontation Lebo had in the Blockbuster in our old neighborhood in Dallas with a couple of effetes who were checking out Mr. Holland's Opus, which she promptly derided as Mr. Holland's Doofus. So she stood and argued with them about the de-merits of this movie, which she claimed was overly sentimental, canned, predictable, etc, while Nate, Dan and I stepped out of the store to avoid engaging. Same comments could be made of August Rush: adolescent acting, manipulative emotional scenes, a love affair built on a couple of upclose eye-locks. Robin Williams is a cheesy rehash of Fagan, supposedly threatening, but really laughable, who spouts a bunch of neo-platonic hoohah about the music of the spheres to the kid musicians he's hiding in an old theater. And the ending is predictable. And even though it took Annie awhile to figure out who August's parents turn out to be, everyone else knows as soon as the movie starts. I did fastforward a little of the romance at the beginning: it goes from a rooftop kiss, to the lovers waking on the roof, all clothed, but spooning.

But at the same time that I'm going through this argument in my head, after fast forwarding the scenes where the girl cellist's father tries to break them up and the rock star renounces his music, we started watching when August is at the boys' home and learns to whistle. And I got sucked in, as did all the kids. I tried telling myself that I appreciated the movie's message about the power of the arts to lead to transcendence. And it had a good message about faith. And a warning about falling in with suspicious characters. The choreographed grand finale was almost too obvious to enjoy, and yet I enjoyed it. I let myself be manipulated. And I hope my kids are now more interested in music.

In other news, our inspection seemed to go well today: no electrical, plumbing, roof, or foundation problems. We don't have the final report of what we'll have to fix, but most of the repairs the inspector noticed are minimal - biggest is getting the wrought iron railing resoldered and the bricks that it's anchored to replaced. And getting a window in the stairwell replaced with tempered glass, which is apparently now the code. To celebrate the inspection being over, I let the boys get down the little GI Joes from the attic, where I've stashed a bunch of toys. Next step: the appraisal. Happily a house similar to ours just sold, and it compares favorably to ours. St. Joseph, we're not quite ready to dig you up yet and have a feast in your honor. but we're starting to think about it. Keep petitioning for us!


laurie said...

I remember watching this movie and although I do not remember the details, I do remember "feeling" happy about it. However, we watched Junebug last and it left me confused (surprise!). Parts of it were painful to watch. It is not on my recommend list yet. Any observations from those who have seen it?

Kate said...

I think either low self esteem or unrealistic expectations must be involved if it was truly expected that the Cooks would be long outwitted by a movie which stars Felicity. ;)

I didn't care that the ending was obvious - isn't it always obvious in a fairy tale that a happy ending is forthcoming? And, knowing that, isn't one just supposed to sit back and enjoy the story while it gets there, despite any elitist yearnings which might prod one to do otherwise? :)

I don't think a movie is inferior for being simple, unless its simplicity is actually a failed attempt at something more complex. (And, no, no one should have won an acting Oscar.) But AR wasn't that - it was just a sweet, modern fairy tale about the magic of faith and music, and I really liked it, without embarrassment. If I remember correctly, though, John didn't enjoy it as much as I did. I think our respective Anglo backgrounds prove somewhat discordant in this area - you Brits are naturally suspicious of/averse to romanticism, while we Irish are always happy to lose ourselves in a fairy story.

Betty Duffy said...

I agree with Kate. I liked it. It was fluffy and welcome. But I probably wouldn't rent it again.

Betty Duffy said...

I saw Junebug, and I can't remember how it ended. Didn't she lose her baby and divorce the guy's brother? I don't remember the significance of it though.