Ah, movies. We all love a good story told well.
Unfortunately in recent years it has become more difficult to say,
"This has been a great year in movies." It is
just getting more difficult to wade through the sea of remakes, sequels, and
When Hollywood doesn't provide us with high quality entertainment I
turn to videos, the best alternative for a poor movie season.
Until the day they call it the DVD store, for now your local
video store has 100 years of great movies. It is time to check them out again.
Below is our much anticipated and over-hyped first crack at our video recommendations.
For other movie ideas we
also recommend a browse through two of our favorite movie sites, the 100
Greatest American Films and the Internet Movie Database.
To learn more about them, go to our Books
and Movies or simply jump right into their websites.
But enough stalling. Over one and a
half years after
they should have appeared in ideas and events.com, here is Memento,
begins with a murder - a killer, a victim, a handful of mysterious
images, and a ton of unanswered questions. As the movie
progresses, we are exposed to longer glimpses of this initial
scene. Eventually a fuzzy picture becomes more and more clear as
new characters are introduced and we learn more about the main
character, Leonard Shelby.
is a sympathetic loner who
unfortunately suffers from severe short term memory. In mere
seconds he forgets friends, acquaintances, motel desk clerks,
bartenders, and even who he really is. The only thing that
drives him to remember anything - using Polaroid snapshots, little
jotted notes, and other gimmicks - is the search for his wife's
characterization of Leonard, played by Guy Pierce from L.A.
Confidential, is the first success of Memento. Bound
only by vague memories of his wife and his past, Leonard is truly a
tortured soul. Anyone he meets on the street could be a
stranger, an enemy, or an ally in his vigilante cause.
Guy Pierce's impressive performance is Memento's inventive use
of flashbacks. In this aspect Memento succeeds as much as
Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects. But the movie
which most resembles Memento is Mickey Rourke's and Robert
DeNiro's 1987 thriller Angel Heart. Although it lacks the
dark imagery and plot line of Angel Heart, Memento's
flashbacks also build fearful anticipation that leads to an unsettling
is a shame that Memento
came and went largely unnoticed because it is a truly refreshing picture
in a market of remakes and tired-old plots. It barely made an appearance at the 2002 Academy Awards with a
nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Then in a blink it
passed without registering a memory. Set some time aside and
check it out today. It will take a run or two to completely figure
out what you just saw.
next two video picks, Fall
Girl, don't pack the dramatic punch of a movie
like Memento, but they are entertaining
so many good stories, Fall
grabs your attention with its first scene. The main character,
Michael, is psyching himself up for the work day one morning. In a hushed voice you hear him say,
was a funny little man. I needed the fans' help just to make
it out of bed every morning. But luckily, I was blessed with
the best fans in the league.
the rest of the day, I needed God's help. But luckily, I was
blessed with the best God in the league, too.
From that point on, Fall turns an impossible plot into an
highly entertaining and thought provoking film.
is a New York taxi driver whose life changes the day that Sarah, an
international supermodel, gets into his cab. While not overly
impressed with him, she still respects his brimming confidence. But
New York being New York, Michael and Sarah later run into each other
and begin a passionate love affair while Sarah's husband is away on
extended business. And although Michael and Sarah pretend that their relationship
is just casual, reality is always within arm's reach. The movie
then leads to its inevitable conclusion - the choice Sarah has to make
between Michael and her husband.
you can believe that a supermodel can fall in love with a taxi
driver, you can believe that Fall packs a lot of real life into
a movie. My favorite moments are when Michael faxes little love notes
to Sarah. It sounds cheesy but it works, just as the entire
script works - love notes and all - because all of the movie is
extraordinarily well written.
other appeal is that it brings together a fine cast, starting with the
movie's lead actor, Eric Schaeffer. Schaeffer is an unusual
artist. Not only does he star in Fall, he also wrote,
directed, and co-produced this movie. The other cast members would
make you believe Schaeffer picked his friends, relatives, and a real
supermodel to play their parts. Normally that would be a
criticism but in this case it is a praise. The entire cast is
last bit of encouragement for you to rent Fall is that
unfortunately it is getting harder to find nowadays. Find out if your
Blockbuster or Hollywood Video has a copy and rent it today.
we have Party
image you might have of a movie called Party
Girl, it is probably not accurate.
The story follows the fashionable and popular
Mary, a twenty-something woman from Manhattan whose life is completely
life bounces around from getting arrested, to her job as a library
clerk, to her infatuation with the handsome young Lebanese man who
owns the local falafel stand. But the oddest thing that happens to
her is when she learns the Dewey Decimal System in one drug induced
night. Sound strange? Well, Party Girl is strange,
but it is also nicely filled with characters that eventually rise above their
seemingly dimwitted and underachieving selves thanks to Mary.
question remains whether Mary finds the fulfillment she so desperately
wants. That's not as important as are all the great elements
that make up Party Girl - very funny and well-written dialogue,
a fantastic cast of oddballs from Manhattan's club life, and the
perfect performance of Parker Posey as Mary. In fact, watching
Party Girl is likely to make you a instantaneous Parker Posey fan.
this point in a review I would insert some particularly poignant or
funny dialogue from the movie - and obviously
there is much more that can be said about Party Girl - but trying to capture its comedic essence will not do the movie
justice. We simply recommend Party Girl because it shares
some of the best elements of Memento and Fall. It
has the breakout performance by its lead actress, a highly
entertaining script, and a fine supporting cast. But thankfully
it does not have Memento's disturbing ending - one brooding
movie is enough for now.
You should just give Party
Girl a try. It is a quirky movie whose appeal is not limited
to younger viewers, because good comedy cuts across all generations.
There you have them, our first answer to that offhand question,
"What should I rent tonight?" Thanks for browsing a
small set of our favorite movies. In the future we hope to offer more from off
the beaten path.