Film Fest Friday: Revolutionary Road & Across the Universe

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I wish I had never seen a preview for this movie. There was really no need to watch it to know the story. Maybe the book was better? Superb acting by Kate & Leo. No real surprises. No real depth. It’s kind of interesting to me that people seem to think American society has changed so much in terms of the pressure to conform and live a life that has “acceptable” characteristics.

It has not.

It’s still about maintaining appearances and settling for what someone-something-somewhere has determined to be right. Especially¬†in the social rung occupied by the characters in this film. Maybe that was why I was so depressed afterwards.

I think it would have been pretty interesting if the story had been paralleled with a present-day couple (or person) with similar issues. I wonder how many people watched this movie and thought, “Wow, we’re so lucky to have progressed so much that these types of things are not something we have to deal with! We can do anything we want as long as we have the money!” Because, you know, everything worth wanting has a price tag. Right? Right? ūüėČ

Unfortunately, when it comes to “whatever we want” the collective imagination is lacking a bit of creativity these days. I heard a bit on the radio yesterday about how today’s teenagers don’t relate to Holden Caulfield anymore. That a free spirit desperately in search of freedom (release!) from a phony society is just not something that means much to them. Maybe because so many of them already have “whatever they want,” or at least what they are programmed to want. Which is really nothing of much real value. Does anyone today even really¬†understand what word “revolution” means?

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As a follow-up, immediately upon the end credits of Revolutionary Road, you should pop Across the Universe into the DVD player to take the bitter taste out of your mouth.

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I avoided it for a while because I was afraid it would be cheesy and generalized. It was, kinda. But it also manages to be lighthearted and humanizing while examining some really serious topics surrounding the current events, emerging musical and artistic genres, political turmoil, and¬†exploding youth movements —¬†dare I say revolutions? — of the 1960’s. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also a musical? And all the songs are Beatles songs? Yeah. I actually loved it. What a complicated time. I totally cried my eyes out at a musical. Whereas Revolutionary Road just made me angry. Interesting.

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Film Fest Friday: Once

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I don’t know why it took me so long to watch the movie Once. It got great reviews, won an Oscar (Best Original Song 2007), and involves musicians, Ireland, and a love story. What the hell was I thinking? Perhaps I was thinking, “argh, a musical?” Actually, I don’t hate all musicals. I enjoy them occasionally and tolerate them when necessary. Secondly, when I saw these people¬†perform the song for which they won an Academy Award, I was fairly unimpressed.

But this is one of those movies that no review or description can do justice. And those are my favorite kind of movies. I could sit here and tell you all about how the music is amazingly powerful, how the personal dynamics portrayed are authentic and touching, how it takes the concept of a musical to an entirely different level and just when you¬†realize how much you’re starting to¬†like it, it¬†ratchets up another notch. But none of this will mean anything to you until you experience it for yourself.

I have a real affinity for underdogs, and this was a low-budget, independent film that didn’t make much money but won a ton of awards. Even better: the two main characters actually were falling in love during filming and are still together. And they wrote all the music that they performed in the movie. Must download soundtrack.