CHRISTINE (1983)

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Christopher

A badass car killing people for fun. This is what Christine is and that’s why I love her. Though the first part of the film was some overly close bromance between two friends (lovers?), once the carnage of Christine started, it became a very enjoyable movie. I thought it was filmed great; if they shot it now it would be awful CG. I wish I had seen this during my Duel phase because I would have loved it. Also, this film has definitely shed a light on all the times I’ve seen it parodied –  not that you really need to see the film to get that it’s a car killing people. I was never really one to name cars but after seeing this I think I’m going to do it. My car’s name is now Belinda.

Elizabeth

I set my DVR to record Christine because I thought it would be a cheesy 80s horror movie; it’s about a killer car for God’s sakes. Maybe because my expectations were pretty low to begin with, but in the end I found that Christine is . . . not bad?

It’s definitely weird. There’s no gore and the car doesn’t talk (as I was sort of expecting/hoping). But it really focuses on obsession, and how if someone (in this case, a nerdy kid) has nothing really to hold onto, they’ll latch on to whatever they can, even if it’s a haunted car.

Another thing that really caught my attention was the music. It wasn’t your average run-of-the-mill, synth-y 80s horror music. It was sort of cool. Really cool, actually. It sounded like something pulled from a John Maus record, which added to the whole feel that the movie wasn’t too lame and was surprisingly cool.

Note: After seeing Chris’ post, I thought I should add that my car’s name is Gloria. 

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DELIVER US FROM EVA (2003)

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Elizabeth

When I saw Deliver Us From Eva on sale at Big Lots for $1.88, I couldn’t pass it up. And what a good decision that was.

Deliver Us From Eva was everything I thought it would be: racist, sexist, and particularly homophobic (in this world, being a gay man is the same as being a woman, and a straight main being mistaken for a gay man is the most severe of insults).

So Eva (Gabrielle Union) is the eldest of 4 sisters who live in an undisclosed city (we found out in the behind the scenes special that it’s Los Angeles) who took over as family matriarch after their parents’ death when she was 18. Because of this, she’s unusually concerned about her sisters’ lives, including their respective romantic relationships. There’s also some kind of trust fund that she has control over, which is never really quite elaborated on, but is a main point of concern for the sisters’ husbands/boyfriends. To get Eva out of their business and to try to get access to the trust fund, the husbands/boyfriends hire Ray (LL Cool J – of course!) to go out with her, sleep with her, make her fall in love with him, then move away to a different city together, dump her in the city, and then move back without her. What a rational, non-sadistic way to deal with your significant other’s family.

Eva is evil because she stands up for herself, is 30-something and without a man, and is focused on her career. We’re supposed to empathize with the men, because how can a man be expected to get laid when they want and control their woman’s money with a strong-willed woman in their way? It gets weirder.

When the husbands/boyfriends catch wind that Eva has turned down a job in Chicago to stay with Ray, they kidnap him and chain him to the ceiling of a warehouse, then tell Eva and her sisters that Ray’s dead so that she’ll move to Chicago. Luckily, Ray escapes to make it in time for the funeral, where he spills the beans about getting paid to date Eva, and so she punches him the face and she and her sisters walk out.

The movie would have been okay if it ended here, but instead, after some reflection, Eva sees the goodness in what her sisters’ husbands/boyfriends did, and they all forgive the men for kidnapping and faking Ray’s death. Eva also gives them access to the trust fund, because she is now a real woman after being successfully put in her place by the men. And even though (or perhaps because?) Ray is now stalking Eva, she takes the job in Chicago.

But don’t worry! Ray follows her there and rides a horse into the lobby of the building she works in (because she loves horseback riding, so that makes sense). Ray tells her he won’t leave Chicago without her. Instead of barricading herself inside her office and calling the police, she gives in to his romantic ways and they ride into the city on horseback.

As a woman, it’s a little difficult to articulate how disgusting movies like this make me feel. The fact that movies like this get made and are successful is terrifying to me. It shows a certain amount of agreement on the fact that the one thing all women need is to be controlled by men and always, under any circumstances, put the man’s needs before her own. What a classic.

Christopher

Men are cool, women are mean, and gay men are basically women. Those are the fantastic morals this movie establishes and stays true, too. It’s very difficult to find anything good about this, which made this a great Friday night movie with the gang.

I know it is said that LL Cool J is one of the greatest actors Americans have ever seen, but honestly, he didn’t really bring his A game with this. The best part of this film was watching the behind the scenes so the actors and director could tell me what I was supposed to think about the story and characters, because I definitely wasn’t sure while watching it.

This was a good watch with friends but I really can’t wait for Think Like A Man, which we’ll hopefully watch soon!

PROMISED LAND (2012)

Promised Land

Christopher

Promised Land was very enjoyable, considering the trailer made it look like a complete waste of time. The story was compelling and there were a few things that surprised me, in a good way. I will say that it’s a bit distracting having Jim from The Office in it, but he actually did a pretty good job.

My favorite part of the movie was definitely the cinematography. It was very similar to My Own Private Idaho in its beautiful landscape. Gus Van Sant can be hit or miss with me and I’m happy I saw this. I can’t say I’ll see it again but you should check it out. Seriously.

Elizabeth 

Of all the things I expected Promised Land to do, one of them was not remind me of director’s Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho. The stories are next to nothing alike, but they are shot similarly, that is, beautifully. Van Sant does not waste the fact that his story takes place in the Midwest, and while he might glamorize the landscape a little bit, he’s really just showing that he knows how to really shoot a film.

I was nervous about Promised Land. We saw it at a free preview screening, and after the fiasco of Not Fade Away, my hopes for Promised Land dwindled. Even though it’s Van Sant, plus Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and Frances McDormand, I was nervous. When I saw that the story was done by Dave Eggers, and that Damon and Krasinski co-wrote the script, I got more optimistic. And once the movie started, I forgot all about my trepidation. My main concern (and expectation) was that it was going to preachy, that there would be an obvious good versus evil conflict between big business and the environment. But Promised Land really plays with this delicate conflict of Money In A Shitty Economy vs. Integrity. As Sue (Frances McDormand) says after Steve (Matt Damon’s) revelation about the importance of the environment, “It’s just a job.”

I also feel like I oddly identified with Steve. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but the way he deals with conflict in his job reminded me of myself. I guess it’s also the idea of being in a job that you truly enjoy and are good at, even though it might not be what you had wanted for yourself, another quality Steve and I share. Luckily, my job doesn’t have ambiguous morals, but I still felt like I knew where Steve was coming from.

Also, Promised Land made me super homesick for Illinois. Beautiful.