Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Remotely controlled

I spent the last week of spring break taking recuperative, narcotic-induced naps; in between, I sorted through La Madre's very eclectic DVD collection.

The Italian was a Russian film, a cute but rather sad tale about an orphan who discovers his birth mother is alive and runs away from his orphanage to find her. He is then chased by the orphanage directors and adoption agency representatives, who all want to make a lot of money by adopting him off to an Italian couple. Hence the title.

It probably sounds like a comedy. It is not. That's all I have to say about that. But it's cute, in its own depressing sort of way.

Then, because I knew not what I did and can probably legitimately blame it on the drugs, I watched Evan Almighty. To further unjustify my actions, I thought it was Bruce Almighty. (Took me fifteen minutes before realizing they were two totally different movies, though Evan is apparently the sequel to Bruce.)

It was cute. Ridiculous, but cute.
It would totally have made Sunday School fun twenty years ago (also, I have no doubt it is being shown in various houses of worship nationwide). Steve Carell is a modern Noah, a newly elected Congressman (coded as Republican) who is told by God (who else but Morgan Freeman?) to build an ark for a coming flood. His family and fellow politicians laugh at him, of course, and in typical Carell fashion there are bizarre antics. But the flood is actually (spoiler alert!) the result of greedy, irresponsible corporate actions condoned by greedy, irresponsible Washington Beltway insiders.

I liked the environmental stewardship message; I was vaguely uncomfortable with the message about religion and government overlapping so comfortably, especially at God's behest. Also, the flood scenes with no significant damage to DC buildings or human life were a little unbelievable. It's all in good fun, though. Great movie for kids!

The Pursuit of Happyness was painful to watch. Whatever true story it was based on is, of course, an amazing one. But the way it translated to the screen made it seem as if it could be everyone's story, too.

Will Smith plays a broke, struggling salesman who perseveres and by the sweat of his brow joins the ranks of the uber-successful. He starts out in dire straits as it is, then keeps shooting for a competitive internship at a prestigious investment firm, for a 1-in-20 chance of landing a high-paid position. Like Job, every bad thing imaginable happens to him along the way, but he never loses sight of his goal. His wife leaves, his landlord throws him out, he becomes homeless, his kid's child care provider turns out to be no good, he loses a shoe in one scene ... Complete with footage of Reagan speeches, the film also juxtaposes lines outside homeless shelters with the luxurious of investment bankers. Look! Will Smith works hard and makes it -- everybody else should, too! Ignore all the structural and moral problems with an economic and social policy based only on notions of complete self-reliance! This story can be the rule, not the exception!

It was enough to inspire me to wean myself from the highly addictive drug regimen so I could go outside and play and see peeps before I left. All I had to do was pull myself up by...

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