When I haven't been reading or forlornly avoiding carbohydrates, I've been watching tv and movies. I'm gonna try to let this be my last week of woe-is-me self-indulgence, especially in light of how obviously worse it could be; there's nothing like a mass murder to really put things in perspective.
In any case, I've watched several movies in the last couple weeks, and I believe them to be highly Netflix-worthy. Here they are.
This is a movie about bird watchers. I know -- you're already bored. But what really drew me in was that this is a movie based on true facts and that this "big year" thing -- this is a thing that actually happens. Certain avid bird watchers decide they are going to see as many different species of birds as they can in one year, in order to earn that year's record. The pursuit takes them all over the world and the competition is surprisingly cut-throat. I found it really funny and light and pleasant, which was just what I needed.
The only reason I began watching this movie is because Sam Rockwell is in it. He is one of my favorite actors of all time and high up on my freebie list, despite not being what might be considered super hot or manly. If you've never seen the movie "Moon," you simply must. Like, stop whatever you are doing right now and find it and watch it. And then come back to me and tell me what you think of Sam Rockwell.
So anyway, turns out Hilary Swank and Minnie Driver are also in "Conviction," and that it's a very endearing movie based on yet another true story about a woman who, in spite of being a high school dropout, manages to earn her law degree in an effort to free her brother (Sam Rockwell) from prison, where he's been placed on a murder charge. I really enjoyed it.
Once you're done watching "Conviction," go ahead and google Rockwell's character's name for additional interesting info ...
Now, as a rule I try not to watch movies that have Jonah Hill in them because something about him creeps me the hell out. And I had no desire to watch "Cyrus" because I thought it was going to be one of those stupid slapstick somebody-is-going-to-poop-their-pants kind of movies. But it totally is not that kind of movie. Hill is a bit creepy in it, but it actually serves the movie well. John C. Reilly is fabulous and Marisa Tomei somehow still looks about 19 years old even though she's 47. By the way, I just said Marisa Tomei is FORTY-SEVEN. It's a sad world where time never stops ticking, I tell ya.
The premise of this movie is that Reilly is a lonely divorcee who meets Tomei. They strike up a romance, but Tomei's adult son -- Hill -- lives with her and is a bit possessive of his mother. It sounds dumb but it's great. I really liked it.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a metal-head ... I mean .... I think this is probably his best role yet. He plays this completely insane person who inserts himself into the lives of a boy, his father (Rainn Wilson), and the boy's grandmother. The boy's mother has just died and the family is suffering. Gordon-Levitt's interaction with the grandmother character is gold. It's just the frigging best. Natalie Portman makes an appearance or two -- frankly I'm not a fan and think they could have picked someone who looks more low-income America, but what do I know. In any case it's a really interesting movie.
So I watched one more movie that I didn't particularly like, but might still be worth a watch. I'll tell you why.
"In Time" has all the hallmarks of a movie I'd like. Justin Timberlake, set in the future ... yeah that's about all I need. The premise is that everyone stops aging at 25, but when they reach 25 their "clock" starts ticking. They have a year's worth of time (and time literally equals money in their society) when they turn 25 and can spend that time or earn more time by working. The movie picks up and drops a few different plot lines, which is annoying and dissatisfying, but I'll tell you why it might be worth watching anyway. For starters, I'm a fan of Amanda Seyfried and she looks completely amazing in this movie. Her legs are nuts.
But more importantly, Vincent Kartheiser (aka Pete Campbell from Mad Men) plays a role he is really, really perfect for in this movie. It's pretty much worth it just to see him in this movie.