HOT ROD (2007)

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Christopher

I really dislike Andy Samberg so I was not really excited to watch this movie. But Elizabeth kept on insisting that it was funny. I suppose Samberg is sometimes funny but the main reason I dislike him is the fact that he was dating and is now about marry Joanna Newsom, easily my favorite living songwriter. So I know my thoughts on him are very skewed but he just kind of bugs me.

In the end, however, Elizabeth was right and I did find this movie to be pretty funny. Especially Samberg’s character’s relationship with his step-dad. This movie is on Netflix and it’s worth watching . Although, I’m sure I was the last person to see that that has any interest.

Elizabeth

I don’t know what Chris is going to say about him, but he hates Andy Samberg and I’m pretty sure it’s almost 100% because Andy Samberg is engaged to Joanna Newsom. So whatever he says about Andy Samberg . . . just know where it’s coming from. ANYWAY . . . HOT ROD IS AMAZING. It’s one of my absolute favorite comedies, because it’s weird and sweet and both realistic and unrealistic and just funny. I don’t really know how else to describe it except amazing.

Hot Rod is full of moments that don’t make sense, or shouldn’t really be there, or go on too long. Doing this is sort of a specific kind of humor (my mom wouldn’t find any of that funny, for example), but Hot Rod is consistent with its style and just goes for it, so it works. It’s also unexpectedly subtle in certain ways, like the relationship between Rod (Andy Samberg), Rod’s mother, Marie (Sissy Spacek), and Rod’s stepfather, Frank (Ian McShane). Their relationships really play with the classic movie/TV trope of a son trying to earn a cold father’s respect with a passive mother. But Hot Rod takes this to the extreme when the plot of the movie turns into Rod trying to raise money for a life-saving heart transplant for Frank just so Frank can be well enough for Rod to kick his ass and earn his respect. They break out into extremely long, sometimes violent fights, all while Marie either looks on passively or just brushes it off. It’s pretty great.

There are too many great moments in Hot Rod to name and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything anyway. Just know that this is a movie that really must be seen.

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BADLANDS (1973)

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Elizabeth

Something weird happened when I saw Badlands. I really, really, really liked it. I guess it shouldn’t have been that weird, since it’s not supposed to be a bad movie or anything. But it has some things going against it for me: it’s directed by Terrence Malick, who also directed one of the worst movies I have ever seen (Tree of Life), the main characters aren’t exactly likeable, and there are extreme, somewhat random acts of violence. I should probably hate this movie. But, alas, Badlands is just too good for it to succumb to any of those biases.

Part of what it has going for it is its beauty. But, then again, Tree of Life is also beautiful. But Badlands is beautiful in a different way. Its beauty is more real, more relatable, but still surreal at the same time. The settings are beautiful, whether it’s Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek)’s forest fortress, or the houses (both mansions or shacks), or the badlands . . . it’s all just sort of breathtakingly beautiful. Then there’s Kit and Holly themselves. Martin Sheen, who was 33 here but could’ve passed for 21, is so beautiful, he’s almost weird looking. He’s boyish but intense. And Sissy Spacek really plays into her weird-but-gorgeous thing to where it’s hard to stop looking at her. As a couple, they’re perfect in this movie for their parts; they’re beautiful but also a little strange looking – perfect but with something off about them.

Badlands is scary, because practically everyone who gets into Holly and Kit’s way, whether they mean them harm or not, gets murdered by Kit. But Kit reminds me of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood – he’s so charming and good looking that you don’t really notice how evil he is until he’s really evil. He tricks us just like he tricks Holly and everyone else. Not being an actor, I really have no idea how anyone accomplishes that, but Martin Sheen really nails it.

I’m also really into the whole sequence that takes place in the forest, when Kit and Holly are first running from police. They build a pretty impressive living space for themselves, a place that looks like every kid’s dream. And while they’re there, my favorite scene of the whole movie takes place . . . such a short scene that it’s barely there. It’s just Kit and Holly dancing (Kit in cowboy boots, Holly barefoot) to Mickey and Sylvia’s “Love is Strange.” That seems like an overly obvious song for them to be dancing to, but the song is so good, and Kit and Holly silently dancing to it (not even really dancing together) is just so great I can’t even explain it.

If you haven’t seen this, don’t make my mistake and shy away from it just because you saw Tree of Life or don’t like seeing people get murdered. It’s just too good.

Christopher

I believe that this was the third time I watched this movie. Whenever I think of this film I think of my friends who I have heard say they hate this film. I think they thought that this was pretentious and whatnot. But as an adult I just feel that if you don’t like this movie you’re going out of your way to hate it.

I think what it comes down to, for me, it how well shot it is. At one point they go to a house that is in the middle of nowhere South Dakota…..and it it so beautiful! Since watching this I have said multiple times that that would be my dream house. In the middle of nowhere with all the sky and American land that you can take in. In my mind that is the American dream. Live your life, enjoy great people, and when you get older go off and enjoy a little solitude.

This movie also triggered my new goal, one that Elizabeth is not on board to do yet, but to find a “nowhere” Texas. I want to find a place in Texas where I feel truly in the middle of nowhere. I’m sure this is not that difficult to find and I think Elizabeth isn’t down mainly due to it maybe being a little scary, but in my mind it would be so peaceful. And so far when I have told people this they say, “And then what would you do.” But truthfully all I would want to do is nothing. Just sit and enjoy. Probably bring some beer and food too.

If I ever do achieve this goal, I will post the pictures here.

CARRIE (1976)

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Elizabeth

CarrieĀ is obviously pretty freaky, but any time I watch it I’m just reminded of how much of a tragedy it is. It opens with Carrie (Sissy Spacek) getting her period for the first time in the school locker room shower without knowing what a period is, and instead of being at all sympathetic, the girls in her class throw pads and tampons at her while yelling, “Plug it up!” I don’t think you have to be female to find that horrifying.

When I was younger and before I ever saw the movie, the cover of Carrie scared the hell out of me. And while obviously the whole pig-blood-prom-fire scene is the most famous and pretty memorable, I think it makes Carrie look too much like a bad guy. Okay, yeah, Carrie killed her classmates, including people who tried to help her. But she was bullied to an unbelievable degree, and her mom was a psychotic Christian. Can you blame her? Okay, I’m not saying there’s an excuse for school violence. But tormenting a girl with telekinesis does not bode well for you, which is a lesson everyone should take away from Carrie.

But in all seriousness, I think there is a lesson to take away from Carrie, which is that no matter what you think you know about someone, you might not really know what’s up with them. And don’t douse them in pig’s blood during their one moment of happiness, either.

Christopher

I was not expecting to love this movie but it was great!! I had no idea how sad and crazy this film was and that John Travolta was in it.

It was a pretty predictable movie, mostly because how famous it is, but at no point was I bored or uninterested. I felt like this film was a lot like Rosemary’s Baby in the way that it turned out to be pretty great instead of just a cheesy horror film.