When I take long flights, I tend to watch movies. I gravitate towards movies because I’m somewhat claustrophobic and the thought of flying through the air in a metal cylinder is nausea inducing if I linger on it for too long. I need something that'll consume my senses, so it doesn’t dawn on me that I’m thousands of feet in the atmosphere, breathing recycled air, squished next to a stranger I’m desperately trying not to touch.
Recently I’ve been on a lot of flights and so I’ve seen a lot of movies. And because I'm a giver, here’s the stuff I’m recommending to you. There are only so many super hero movies a person can watch before their blood becomes radioactive and they start to sprout a third eye. Then again, maybe radioactive blood is your thing. Either way, give one of these a go the next time you’re combing through movie menus, looking for something to watch.
Have you seen Carol, because you need to see Carol. Be forewarned, you will have no other option but to fall desperately in love with both Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett) and Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara). Carol feels dreamlike and bitterly real all at once. This is the most captivating love story I’ve seen in quite some time and an excellent example of superb filmmaking. I cannot believe it took me this long to see it. That’s just embarrassing.
The Love stories here are also great, but Saoirse Ronan’s performance is sublime. She enhances every aspect of this wholly stunning film. Love stories happen daily and in the movies they happen even more than that. This film isn’t just a love note to the romantic cinephile. It’s a love letter to a bygone era and places that no longer exist.
The Big Short
By now you should understand that A. The US economy crashed in 2008 & B. Obscene levels of greed and impunity lead to that crash. The particulars of the dealings that caused our economic demise are complex, but Adam McKay (Director) manages to cut right through all that. Not only does he explain our economic fall from grace, he keeps things light with just enough comedic energy to swallow the pill we've just been handed.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This one’s older. It came out in 2012. I’m unsure why I stayed away for so long, but I did. Now that I think about it, I believe I disliked the trailer at the time. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way and so I left it unseen. I was a fool. I’ve been a fool this entire time. Ezra Miller is electric and Emma Watson makes everyone around her more appealing. Don’t think of this as some teen movie for kids, either. It’s an excellent story of an invisible outsider who decided to show up for life one day.
This one’s a comedy, but this is also the movie that sold me on Melissa McCarthy as a dramatic actress. She’s phenomenal in this. Bill Murray knows how to make comedy hurt in the best possible way and his talent compliments the story well. Naomi Watts is down right hilarious and Jaeden Lieberher, as the boy at the center of all this, is a force all his own. Comedies don’t get enough respect. A good laugh and a great story go a long way.
Tim Burton brings us a cautionary tale about an artist who became wealthy and famous for his wife’s work. She painted the big eyes and he took the credit, money and fame. He's a prick. I’ve never hated Christoph Waltz more and I’ve seen the man play a despicable Nazi. Amy Adams delivers as the scorned wife and artist. Both actors make this surreal version of true events worthwhile.
Steve Carell and Channing Tatum deliver insanely good dramatic performances here. I knew Mark Ruffalo had it in him from the start, but I wasn't so sure about Carell and Tatum. These are two gents best known for jokes and punch lines, not startlingly good dramatic performances, right? Wrong. Everything about this film is intriguingly unsettling. From the broken relationships to the awkward exchanges, your skin will crawl and you won't be able to look away.
Jennifer Aniston carries this entire film. That’s not to say it’s a bad movie or anything. It’s good. It’s just not the most realistic representation of how things tend to unfold in the life of a depressive. That aside, Aniston’s performance is gripping. In fact, it sort of grabs you by the throat and won’t relax its grip until the credits roll. Just watch it and you’ll see.
The Skeleton Twins
I don’t know what I was expecting from this movie, but I’m legit delighted that I found it. Skeleton Twins is like a realist’s version of a fairy tale replete with neurosis, denial and anxiety. Bill Hader is earnest, vulnerable, naive and impossible not to love. Kristen Wiig is quickly becoming my favorite comedic actress and her performance in this movie probably has something to do with that.