10 for ’10: Quotes

28 12 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here.

A single line can have so much power in a movie.  It can make us laugh, make us think, or make us cry.  It can delve profoundly into the soul, give insight into a character’s mind, provide a perfect punch of beautiful language, or be so foolish that we can’t help but repeat it endlessly.

2010 gave us many great quotes from many great movies.  Here’s just a sampling of how the power of the written word was wielded this year from 10 fantastic lines that served a great deal of purposes.

“Dating you is like dating a Stairmaster.”
– Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) in “The Social Network

“I just want to be perfect.”
– Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) in “Black Swan

“That Charlene … she’s one of them MTv girls!”
– Micky Ward’s sisters in “The Fighter

“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”
– Agnes in “Despicable Me

“This rock has been waiting for me my entire life.”
– Aron Ralston (James Franco) in “127 Hours

“It was almost as if … I had a love that was all mine.”
– Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) referencing Natasha Bedengfield in “Easy A

“You’re waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can’t be sure. But it doesn’t matter … because we’ll be together.”
– Mal (Marion Cotillard) in “Inception

“When the world slips you a Jeffrey, just stroke the furry walls.”
– Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) in “Get Him to the Greek

“Stop trying, SURRENDER!”
– Richard from Texas (Richard Jenkins) in “Eat Pray Love

“Thanks, guys.”
– Andy in “Toy Story 3

Random Factoid #441

12 10 2010

I’ve seen lots of topics around gender pop up on the web over the past few days, so I’ve decided to dedicate two factoids to the issue.  Today’s focuses on the men; tomorrow, on the women.

Cinematical took a look at the MPAA’s sexism in evaluating nudity in movies.  Listen to this statistic:

Since 2006, 786 movies have been flagged for “nudity.”  Only three — all 2010 releases — have the warning of “male nudity”: Jackass 3DEat Pray Love, and Grown Ups. Zero in five years carry a “female nudity” red flag.

So why the discrimination against men?  Apparently it’s the legacy of “Bruno,” which angered quite a few parents.  I’ll admit that it was quite graphic (and a little bit more than I expected from an R), but I’m sure there are plenty of movies with graphic female nudity and we don’t see them getting descriptors added.  And for those wondering, “Bruno” was rated R for “pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.”

I don’t understand why male nudity is that much more taboo.  I saw “Eat Pray Love” and “Grown Ups,” and neither featured any sort of traumatizing images.  Both were just bare backsides, which can pass in PG movies.  The double standard seems quite strange.  Are we just protecting women from the indecency of seeing certain things?

There’s only one fair way to do this: either the MPAA takes the unnecessary step of adding the gender of the naked person before each mention of nudity in a movie OR they just go back to saying “nudity” and leaving it at that.

Random Factoid #412

13 09 2010

It’s funny what movies can make us do.

I read a lot of books (and I keep a detailed record for them much like I stated that I did for movies in Random Factoid #400).  After seeing the movie “Eat Pray Love” and winning a copy of my book, I decided to delve into Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir.  I’m not a woman, but I definitely did get a lot out of it, particularly from her stay at the ashram.

More notable, though, is that I also used an “Eat Pray Love” bookmark to keep my place in the book.  For seven years now, I have been using the same bookmark that I got on the first day of fifth grade.  It has a Bible verse and a very nice illustration on it, and I have used it for every book I have read since.  Up until now, that is.

This is totally random and probably won’t generate any comments.  Oh, well.  I enjoy using this to chronicle my own personal milestones.

“Eat Pray Love” Poll Results

22 08 2010

“Eat Pray Love” third wheeled it at the box office this weekend, scrounging a nice $12 million on a fair 48% decrease from its opening.  With $47.1 million in the bag, it’s outpacing last year’s “Julie & Julia,” which wound up with about $94 million overall.  But that

Anyways, box office speculation aside, it’s time to talk about awards.  Back before anyone had even seen the movie, I wrote an Oscar Moment on “Eat Pray Love” speculating on its chances in Best Actress and Best Picture.

With a low 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s doubtful that the movie will garner the critical support necessary to get a Best Picture nod.  Then again, that’s just one point higher than “Nine,” which was still in the hunt for Best Picture last year, albeit as a bottom-feeding disappointment.

But there hasn’t been any hating on Julia Roberts, and good actresses have gotten into the Best Actress field with worse ratings – just ask Cate Blanchett, who scored a nomination in 2007 for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” a movie with a 35% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

So I asked the readers where the awards season run for “Eat Pray Love” would end.  Would it wind up with an Oscar nomination of any kind or just be a Golden Globes movie?  Or, heck, would it even have an awards season?

No one seemed particularly optimistic.  Only one-fourth of voters in the poll thought it could manage an Oscar nomination.

The other six were split half and half.  Three think it will be nominated for a Golden Globe, while three others think it won’t have any luck in the winter.  It’s really tough to tell, but Julia Roberts would be an easy fallback if the rest of the season disappoints.  So for now, we will just have to wait and see.

Random Factoid #385

17 08 2010

Just when you thought I was done talking about “Eat Pray Love,” I come back with ANOTHER factoid.  I am not obsessed with it on an “Inception” level, just to clear the record.

Today’s discussion piece comes courtesy of The Big Picture over at The Los Angeles Times. The post was “What does this say about U.S. manhood: Male critics actually like Eat Pray Love,” and author Patrick Goldstein gave this shocking statistic of the movie’s critical opinion:

Men who liked the movie: 27.

Men who hated the movie: 44.

Women who liked the movie: 15

Women who hated the movie: 24.

Here’s my take on these results.  Looking at them for just what they are, you might assume that male critics have been emasculated or a kind of gender swap happened.  Although I’m not taking statistics next year, I know (perhaps through reading Malcolm Gladwell, perhaps through 15 years of education) how to look at data and interpret it.

Just to point out, male critics don’t like it more.  The percentage of people who liked the movie was nearly identical among the genders, with just a fraction of a percentage point more for women.  The surprising fact is not so much that they liked it at all so much as it is that they liked it just as much as the target gender.

As a self-declared movie critic, I know that more than the quality of the movie itself factors into the grade I bestow upon it.  Preconceived notions play a HUGE part.  If I think I’m going to hate a movie, and it winds up being average, I will probably give it a higher grade than an average movie I thought I would love.

Take, for example, the movies I gave a B this summer.  I was expecting “Robin Hood” to be amazing, and it wound up being just OK.  On the other hand, I was preparing for a disaster with “Despicable Me,” which I actually mildly enjoyed.  Had I seen “Robin Hood” with the expectations of “Despicable Me,” I probably would have given it a higher grade; the same goes for the other way around.

As much as we try to stay subjective in reviewing, we can’t help but let surprise and disappointment play a big part in our feelings.  And I think the surprise of seeing a decent chick flick makes guys more inclined to like a movie, while women would feel disappointment for the same movie.

My conclusion: male support of “Eat Pray Love” doesn’t reflect the quality of the movie; rather, it is evidence of the influence of gender-based stereotypes on the opinion of a movie.

Random Factoid #381

13 08 2010

There are influential movies, and then there are influential movies.

Sound like a profound observation?  It’s really not.  I just think it’s a fancier and more mysterious way of saying that there are two types of influences movies can have on us.

The more deep, lasting influences come from movies I dub “lifestyle influential.”  These movies change the way we think and the way we see the world.  These movies can be as profound as “Requiem for a Dream,” the movie that makes you never want to do drugs, or as hard-hitting as “Schindler’s List” and “Hotel Rwanda.”  On the other hand, I also place into this category movies that have a long-lasting impact on the way you do things.  So I place “Julie & Julia” here because it started me on the whole blogging journey.

Then there are the movies likely only to inspire a spontaneous change; I dub these “behavioral influential.”  The effect of seeing one of these movies is a sudden impulse to act like a character or do something they did.  “Eat Pray Love,” which I saw on Wednesday, can now officially fall into this category.  As Julia Roberts’ Liz Gilbert munches on some delicious Italian food, our mouth waters thanks to some lavish camerawork fondly known as “food porn.”  So when my family went out for dinner yesterday, I insisted on Italian food only because of seeing the movie.  I had a delicious seafood pasta that totally hit the spot.

What movies have influenced your behavior recently?

REVIEW: Eat Pray Love

12 08 2010

The big tagline advertised for “Eat Pray Love” is “let yourself go.”  Indeed, as millions of readers across America have discovered, Elizabeth Gilbert (played here by Julia Roberts, who looks every bit as good as she did 20 years ago in “Pretty Woman”) did just that after she couldn’t find fulfillment in her everyday life.  Her publisher allows her to spend a year traveling to Italy, India, and Bali as she attempts to discover how to forgive her past while finding happiness for the future.

Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation of Gilbert’s memoir, however, doesn’t do itself the favor of following the author’s lead.  Rather than letting itself go, it keeps all its emotions bundled up inside.  There are some definite moments of profound revelation that are wonderful to watch, but the movie comes off as feeling rather cold.

We get to smile on occasion; there is a laugh every once in a while, but we sit through the majority of 130 minutes with a stoic stone-faced look.  Even as Gilbert eats delicious food and falls in love, the movie still keeps a melancholy and vaguely plaintive tone, which really puts a damper on how much we are able to enjoy ourselves.  That’s not to say the movie is off-putting because Gilbert spent a great deal of her year in solemn reflection.  Murphy just doesn’t indulge us often to share in her moments of bliss.

People who have read the book tell me that Elizabeth Gilbert has a wonderful sense of humor and a compellingly entertaining voice.  It’s a near impossible cinematic feat to lift both of those off the page and onto the screen, and the script, written by Murphy and Jennifer Salt, doesn’t seem to do her writing talents justice.

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