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Friday Night Lights (2004)
Not a football movie !
I am not and never have been much of a sports fan. However, this movie has been plugged so much I went to see it.
A couple of years ago, I went to see ANY GIVEN Sunday expecting a football movie. I was surprised to find it a work of art: the struggle of the players on the field shown as a ballet; the use of sound crunching and the use of total silence at other times for contrast.
In NIGHTS there was just smash on smash of bodies with no indication of the fact there are designed plays in football. That is the fault of the director. Thornton did the most he could with a minimum of book.
I had felt the same way about sports when I went to see MIRACLE, a hockey movie with Kurt Russell. That movie did NOT disappoint. I left the theatre with an appreciation of hockey.
I know that part of the NIGHTS was showing the effect of football on the psyche of town and how they felt about their team. In that, the movie succeeded. Too bad they could not have made the game more interesting.
Orange County (2002)
This is comedy ??
This must be comedy because I think I remember laughing at one point Why does it seem necessary to have some stupid brainless people in a movie in order to call it teen comedy??
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Visually spectacular and Musically marvelous
If you are looking for a boy/girl movie and nothing more, you will find it here but will be missing the greatest part of this movie. The choices of songs and so wonderfully performed by all the principles left me breathless.
I wasn't able to take my eyes off the screen because I was so fascinated by the set design, photography, colors, costumes --- I really am running out words to describe how overwhelmed I was by this movie, and I see about two movies a week. This was worth all the exposure to lesser films this year. I am really amazed that I am going so overboard in my praise because it really is not my nature. The last time I was even nearly so impressed was the drama of "Boys don't Cry". This, of course, is very different moviemaking.
You must, however, avoid bringing critical notice of some details. It is a fantasy nor reality and must be absorbed as such. Go see it in the best sound theatre available. You will miss much if you don't see it with full surround, best fidelity and a large screen
Loving Jezebel (1999)
Kept me glued to the screen thruout
This movie was fascinating. The story was interesting and fun. One thing in the production and casting was exceptionally well done: the story can be of any young man, black, white, asian, etc. The relationships worked for any people and I was glad to see a movie that showed that all people are the same. Interplay between white and black characters never took into account those differences and it was so refreshing. I wish some of the black directors in the business would stop emphasizing the differences between people and stick to the similarities.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
One of the best of the year
I don't intend to add to the many positive comments about this movie. I agree with them. But from another perspective:
First, I have never been a football fan. However, any movie that combines Oliver Stone and Al Pacino has to get my interests. I loved it.
One thing that did impress me more than anything else was the quality of the sound design. The 3 dimensional noises in the huddle, on the line, from the grandstands; the growls and other sounds from the players; these things made the movie live and my blood boil. I was breathless.
Then these things interspersed with dead silences and slow motion dreamlike sequences gave the action a spiritual quality.
I stayed for the credits to see who had done this sound work and I think Wylie Stateman will get, at the very least, an Oscar nomination for sound design. If you ever wondered what this credit meant, see this movie and you will know. This movie would have lost a great deal of its punch without that sound designer's talent.
Boys Don't Cry (1999)
Incredibly moving film but painful to be moved this way
I had seen ratings of this film and noted it as one I didn't want to miss. I'm torn between the feelings of being glad I didn't miss it and sorry I saw it. It was painful. The acting by all the main characters was so real, I felt I was standing next to them all the time. . .cringing!!!
One of the saddest things to know is how Teena(Brandon) was so mixed up that she didn't choose a way that could have helped her out of her miserable position. Large cities with large gay populations could have been supportive even though she was a transexual and not lesbian. (Not giving anything away. This is shown in the beginning of the movie.) Instead, at every point where she had a choice, she made the wrong move.
Go to this movie and feel like crying for her and applaud the acting of the three main women (including the mother) and also the two main male actors. Hate their characters and admire their acting.