10 June 2008

Two good movies

While Saturday was a busy day for the Popes -- a cookout, birthday party and graduation party (congrats Megan!) all in one afternoon, Sarah and I did take some time this past weekend to watch two films, both of which turned out to be very good.

Friday we watched Michael Clayton. All the accolades were well deserved, as Clooney did a good job as the conflicted title character and Tilda Swinton earned her Oscar. I was both impressed that Clayton immediately sold out his friend and slightly disappointed he later did the right thing. I say "disappointed" only because it would have been interesting to have him never really turn the new leaf. But Clooney did a good job of showing the conflict inherent in the character and, hey, looking at some horses and almost getting blown up can change a person. I also liked how Clayton was always between two things, often represented by people: the corporate lawyer and the lawyer with a conscience, the police and the attorney, the law and the criminal. Good stuff.

Sunday we finally got around to watching Into the Wild. I say finally because our GA Kyle loaned it to me almost a month ago. It was excellent. Well acted and well shot. I read the book maybe 10 years ago and left it with little sympathy for Chris. While I was initially intrigued and envious of what he did, I lost that as he (in my opinion) became more self-absorbed, focusing on his own quest and neglecting the people that obviously cared for him. The movie increased my sympathy, largely though the use of the sister as narrator and by portraying Chris' revelation at the end as he scribbles "Happiness is meaningful only when shared" in Doctor Zhivago. I don't remember either one of those being in the book; I don't think Krakauer included much of the backstory about Chris' parents, which was an interesting choice. I left the film with an increased sympathy for Chris and a small desire to be an itinerant used bookseller. Slab City, man! I found the movie quite powerful and really enjoyed the soundtrack.

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