What I’ve been watching

Nacho Libre: I knew this would be bad. But Jack Black is usually pretty good, and I thought if anyone could pull off a film about a Mexican monk who wants to be a luchadore, it would be him. There are a few funny moments here, but mostly this movie–even with Jack Black in it–stinks.

Empire Falls: I read this book several years ago and just loved it. Richard Russo is amazing. When I found out about this two-part miniseries…and that Paul Newman played the role of Max…and that Russo wrote the screenplay…I knew I had to see it. Newman is perfectly cast. I can’t imagine anyone else as a better Max. And although some details from the book were omitted from the movie, for the most part the movie works very well and sticks closely to the book. The one bit whose omission weakened the movie, I think, was the scene in which Francine teaches Miles how to drive. The phrase “power and control” is mentioned in the film (perhaps as a nod to those who’ve read the book and understand how pivotal it is here) but isn’t nearly as meaningful as it could be without the additional background. Still, I highly recommend this movie–though I recommend reading the book first.

Whale Rider: I have finally conquered my personal case of “Movie Guilt.” You know what I mean: you get a DVD from Netflix and hold on to it for weeks or months because you just aren’t in the mood to watch it (though you do want to watch that movie–just not right this minute), then eventually mail it back unwatched, telling yourself you’ll get it another time. Well, this was my third go with Whale Rider, and I’m glad I managed to push through the “not sure if I’m in the mood for this movie right now” barrier. No frenetic editing here–just a beautifully filmed, character-driven story that is unlike most of what’s out there. I liked it a lot.

7 Responses to “What I’ve been watching”

  1. Katie Jon 15 Apr 2010 at 9:51 am

    I loved Whale Rider and may have to watch that one again. I’m glad to know about Nacho Libre. I like JB, but I was unsure about this one.

  2. Chrison 15 Apr 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I must be one of three people in the world who hate JB. :)

  3. One Tall Robon 15 Apr 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Chris, there are four. I tolerated “School of Rock,” but generally concur with you.

    I haven’t seen “Whale Rider” since the theatrical release, but loved it.

    Marsha, I heard the NPR interview with Sheedy et al on Hughes. Hawsum. Thanks!

  4. Marshaon 15 Apr 2010 at 9:13 pm

    I like JB when he’s being over-the-top JB–as in “School of Rock” (which has the added bonus of starring a Cusack). When he tries to do anything else, it just doesn’t work.

  5. Frankon 19 Apr 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I liked Whale Rider too. Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one that sits on a Netflix movie for months. I try not to estimate the average movie rental cost in my head.

  6. knittymamaon 29 Apr 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I loved Empire Falls and had no idea it was a movie. I’ll have to get it. Thanks!

  7. Lindsayon 03 May 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Hey, I didn’t know you were a Richard Russo fan! I’ve read all of his books (I think!) His daughter went to college with me and he spoke at her graduation and I thought he was just awesome, so I started reading his books and totally loved them :) We should chat sometime :)