Saturday, November 21, 2009

The film double taker, the illusion type faker.

I've been at home with stomach flu for a couple of days now, so what can one do besides laying on the couch while reading Tolkien, sipping hot tea and listening to Belle & Sebastian? Watch tons of movies of course...
Now, I think a little warning is at hand here because when it comes to motion pictures you probably won't find a person as inexperted and unknowledgeable as me. By now my friends are used to it, but less familiar people are always amazed by the amount of movies that I've never seen.
It just so happened that my parents didn't have a television set until when I was 10 years old or so and even then we didn't have cable TV, just an anthenna (*). I couldn't watch cable until I was 19 and lived by myself. Most of you may not even remember watching TV with an anthenna, but in Belgium this meant you could only receive two Flemish, two Walloon and maybe one or two German stations. Obviously I could only understand the Flemish ones so my choices were limited. This meant I couldn't watch all the cool TV-shows and movies that my friends had seen and would discuss the day after at school, as those government funded TV-stations obviously weren't gonna broadcast Rambo, Indiana Jones, MacGyver or The A-Team...
In fact all the movies I've seen on these two Flemish stations seem to have blurred into one shitty movie about the first female ever to join the police/army/firefighters, something about a planecrash, and somebody going to jail for something he didn't do... The only movie that stuck out was about Malcolm X, and for a couple of weeks they did broadcast a series about Elvis Presley on Friday nights, which is how I got hooked on music so I guess after all I do owe a thank you to BRT1!
So when it comes to movies I still have a lot of catching up to do, probably more than I'll have time for in this lifetime. However my friend Geert took it upon himself to give me a belated schooling on flicks that every boy must have seen and guided me through Robocop, Terminator, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Back To The Future, Red Dawn and the likes. Now I can't say I liked them all equally, but I certainly could understand why these films are still magic to most people that grew up around that time. Also my friend Simon recently hooked me up with a fine selection from his DVD-collection, covering a broad spectrum of must-have-seen movies.

I made it clear by now that I am not a movie connoisseur, so these are not reviews but when the couch unwillingly became my refuge for the last couple of days, I was relieved when the fever dropped so I could sink my teeth into the following movies...
Magnolia: I've always preferred films that are unpredictable but make sense at the same time. You know that feeling when you think you've got the plot figured out, but then all of a sudden everything comes together in one shot and you realise you've been missing the clues by focusing on the wrong ones? Like in The Usual Suspect when Keyser Soze walks away in the end? Or Fallen, where the last shot makes you realise you were wrong all along? That's when I know a movie is good, or in both these cases brilliant. Brilliant is definitely a word that crossed my mind several times while watching Magnolia. This may not be a 'the ending explains it all' type of movie, but all these different story-lines coming together on different levels is... well, brilliant. In the beginning of the movie I noticed some ropes clearly forming the numbers 82 and after that the number appears on several occasions. I figured it'd be a clue but when the movie was done, I still had no idea what 82 meant, until I happened to be reading my bible later that day and all of a sudden came across Exodus 8:2 which explained everything. Like I said: brilliant!
And yes, ofcourse I just Googled it, the only Exodus I know is a trash metal band.
The Remains Of The Day: An enjoyable, almost laid back film that takes place in a beautiful setting with victorian interiors. I felt like plebs drinking my tea out of a Starbucks mug and not a porcelain cup. There doesn't seem to be happening much but Jack Nicholson is great as always.
Kramer Vs. Kramer: this is a movie that could've easily been broadcasted by BRT1 as it deals with a separation, a father raising his child alone and court battle for custody. Despite these tragic sounding storylines, it is actually a fun movie to watch and brought a smile to my face at times. I did enjoy this.
Scent Of A Woman: I used to own this on VHS but it's been years since I'd seen it and I was happy to be able to see it again. Ever since I saw Scarface (which was probably way later than you've seen it) I've been a huge fan of Al Pacino. I think the best monologues I've ever seen were by Al Pacino, I mean The Devil's Advocate? Your mind is blown! Any Given Sunday... City Hall... All have great monologues. But Pacino's speech towards the end of Scent Of A Woman is definitely my favourite. His cracking voice going into screaming, eyes wide open, spit all over the place... "if I were the man I was five years ago I'd take a FLAME THROWER TO THIS PLACE". Great movie!
Serpico: Had never seen this before and can't believe I called myself an Al Pacino-fan without having seen this. Great movie. New York City always delivers the best sceneries for movies...
Lords Of Dogtown: picked this up a while ago for 3 euros, because I loved the Dogtown And Z-Boys documentary and figured I'd check out the movie as well... It's not bad I suppose, but more words needn't be spilt on this. Check out that documentary though!
Van Vlees En Bloed: didn't watch this Flemish series when it was broadcasted on television, and I had pretty high expectations because of the reputation every actor/writer/director involved has (in Belgium that is). I guess it's pretty good and all, but I wasn't really impressed, and in retrospect didn't really understand the hype this got when it was aired 10 months ago... Did fall in love with Maaike Neuville though! Call me if you read this Maaike.

Thanks to Geert, Simon and Kris for hooking me up. Also thanks to Koen for attempting to broaden my horizons by lending me a DVD boxset of Gooise Vrouwen...

(*)That's right Anthony Martini, my TV had a hanger for an anthenna too


  1. thumbs up for pacino!

    check out swing kids.
    it's one of the best movies i know.

  2. The remains of the day: not Nicholson, dude, not Nicholson.

  3. When I say Nicholson I mean Hopkins, get some interpretation skills will ya?

  4. als ik eens op een set sta met Maaike Neuville dan zal ik haar je laten bellen, dat wordt lachen (wel als haar lief er niet bij is)

  5. Als er kinderen van komen noemen we ze theflex!