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lights, camera, action

As has become more or less the rule, Your Humble Blogger watched six movies in theaters over the last year. I suspect that at least some of the movies in question will not be nominated for any Academy Awards this time.

It's a little hard to decide which was the Bestest Movie of The Year. In my general categories, the top one is unalloyed joy, and I don't think any of the movies really got in there. On the other hand, both Keeping Mum and Rocky Balboa should be in a category called, oh, had a good time, better than I might have expected, really. The category of liked bits of it quite a lot, but was disappointed, a bit contains V for Vendetta and Flushed Away although V should really be in a category of Problematic: fun to talk about without being a good movie, which could also include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which would keep the latter out of the stunk on ice, even though there were still some nice bits, and it really ought to have been a lot better category, which otherwise contains Over the Hedge.

I also saw Nanny McPhee on DVD, and it was quite good, I thought, although strangely the worst thing about it was the performance and character or Nanny McPhee herself as conceived and executed by the otherwise estimable Emma Thompson. The rest of the cast was excellent, including the children. In fact, they did a very good job of making the children both (a) child-like and (2) different, one to another.

My other DVD watching included another chunk of films from 2005, and when I looked at the list, I was startled to discover that I have watched eight of the ten top-grossing movies of that year. Five of those were on DVD, and I certainly did not pick them by virtue of their success in selling tickets. In fact, I was shocked to discover that Mr. and Mrs. Smith had sold that many tickets. On the other hand, clearly the ubiquity of the advertising for those movies had something to do with my choice, as did the ready availability of those titles, which was due to their ticket-selling success as well. On the other hand, aside from the eleventh-grossing movie (King Kong, which I saw in the theater as part of that gross) and the nineteenth-grossing movie (Million-Dollar Baby, which I saw, if I remember correctly, between Oscar nominations and the Oscar awards), I saw none of the next ten top-grossers, and I doubt that there's that much difference in the availability or advertising presence of the first and second ten movies. Still, sort of odd to see myself in the mainstream there.

To follow up on 2005, I was pleased by Mrs. Henderson Presents and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, two very different movies. Henderson is about WW-II theater/vaudeville, and is very sweet, funny and poignant. Much worth seeing, particularly for yet another reminder of what life during wartime is like when the war is not a minor skirmish on the fringes of the empire. KKBB is funny, knowing and quick, and succeeds in the unusual pursuit of having a genuinely dim-witted protagonist. Robert Downey, Jr., plays a fellow (almost typed felon, which would have worked as well) so far over his head that they would have to drag the reservoir for him, and his stupidity is neither the good-hearted naivete of stock noir protagonists or the lucky blundering of spoof comics but the echt dimness of, well, dimness. They go into the unalloyed joy category for 2005 along with Were-Rabbit and Bride and Prejudice.

Other than that, Your Humble Blogger watched Soap (seasons 1-3), House (season 1), and Doctor Who (season 1), all of which I enjoyed to a greater or lesser extent. Watching television series on DVD works quite well for me, as it turns out, and an hour (with commercials removed) is about how much television I want to watch in an evening. Often we break up a movie over two nights, and there have been several instances where we did not bother to finish what we started. There were also a handful of movies we enjoyed that reach back further than 2005, including the wonderful Triplets of Belleville, the good-but-not-quite-great Billy Elliott and the exactly-what-it-looked-like About a Boy.

Finally, it was not in 2006, but in 2007 Your Humble Blogger watched a film called The Americanization of Emily which appears to have been made in an alternate universe. Can any Gentle Reader explain how it got through to this one? And as its director and lead actor and actress are still alive and working, are they now dopplegangers? I hate to think of who would replace Paddy Chayefsky, but can you imagine a sequel, set in the current state of affairs?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Re: _The Americanization of Emily_: There was a time, generally referred to as "the 60s" when things were different. Many people who call themselves "conservatives" are still very angry that things were different for a while, and they would prefer that the rest of us forget that things were ever different from what they are now.

The "long 1960s" lasted in some bastions of progressive thought, such as Swarthmore College, until late in the Clinton Years, I think, when the "conservatives" used outrage at the President's sexual misconduct to convince everyone that straight-laced repression and strict obedience to bland and malevolent authority figures was better.

Evidence that "the 60s" were real can be found on various recordings of folk music made during the period.

Genuine conservatives, who are not afraid of reality as it is, were less angry about "the 60s." A relation of mine, who is a lifelong Republican and who served in the military, made a particular point of recommending _The Americanization of Emily_ to me. Of course, that relative likes it partly because it stars James Garner, but the point holds, nonetheless.

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