I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Now, let me quickly mention that my definition of "a lot of movies" is significantly different than the normal's person's definition. Please note: I'm the girl who's never seen Godfather. Avatar. Fight Club. Citizen Kane. The list goes on and on. So for me, having seen four movies within the span of a week is something rather noteworthy.
So last week I watched The Time Traveler's Wife, which I already mentioned in the last blog post. I loved that film--I thought it was incredibly sweet and romantic, without resorting to any of those obnoxious cliches that are so abundant in chick flicks. It had an element of artsy-ness, but it wasn't simply artsy for the sake of being artsy. Instead, it was absolutely beautiful. I thought it actually did a better job explaining the premise of a time-traveler better than the book did, possibly because it's easier to see the time-traveling than it is to read about it. But it's been years since I've read the book, and I didn't particularly care for the book when I read it. I feel like I might enjoy it better now, since I'm older and have a better appreciation for these kinds of stories.
Last night I watched Shakespeare Behind Bars, a documentary about a drama program at Kentucky's maximum-security Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. I didn't know what to expect when I popped it into my computer: I figured I'd be watching a lot of punks mess around with Shakespeare. But I was so wrong. I watched these people struggle to find the truth of Shakespeare's characters. They were performing The Tempest, a play that deals a lot with redemption and forgiveness. Appropriate for this group of actors, no?
It was fascinating to see these men struggle with the kinds of issues that "real" actors struggle with, especially since these men aren't actors--most of these men looked like normal people! The real eye-opener for me was the parts of the interviews where the prisoners discussed why they had been put into prison to begin with: truly horrible things, heinous crimes. Yet they spoke and acted like normal people. It made me realize how complex people are, how there truly is no such thing as black and white... I am still constantly amazed at how little I understand the human condition. I sometimes tend to see people as either good or bad, even though I know that isn't the case. Watching this documentary in some ways was a struggle, because I wanted to believe they were good people. Then I learned what they did, and that information changed my mind--for a bit. But at the end of the film, I still wanted to believe they were good people. So all in all, very very fascinating film.
Also, I'll add this--in the past, I've never been particularly interested in the justice system. I'm not sure why--it just never sparked my interest. But in seeing the film, I'm definitely a little more curious. Also, before watching the film I'd only been interested in theatre in education as a tool for youth, but seeing how Shakespeare effected these fully-grown men, I'm starting to rethink that thought.
Today, I saw two movies. The first was No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It was a romantic comedy, and I loved it! It was cute and funny and sweet! And unlike most romantic comedies that I've seen, it didn't seem to have an excessive number of cringe-worthy moments. That's why I usually am skeptical of romantic comedies: they're ridiculous, the main characters act foolish, and the situations are so ludicrous that it makes me roll my eyes. But this movie? Not so much. I thought it was hilarious and it just made me happy! The main characters had excellent chemistry and a fun bantering way about them, which I love in movies. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not as thought-provoking as Shakespeare Behind Bars, but way more fun.
The second movie I saw was Life After Tomorrow, a documentary about girls who have played Annie or Orphans in Annie on Broadway or in the National Touring Casts. I thought this was going to be really interesting, but it failed to capture my attention after a while. It consisted of a bunch of interviews with various actresses. They talked about their experiences performing in the show, about growing up as an actor, about stage-moms, coming home after the show... It was all interesting information, but it was rather dry. There were some clips from the original productions, which were probably my favorite part. But other than that, it mostly consisted of a bunch of talking heads. It probably could have worked just as well as a book.
And that concludes the movies I've seen this week! Two romantic films, two documentaries. All enjoyable, but only one (maybe two) that I'll go out and purchase.