Skip’s Quips: And for Dessert, I Get ‘Seven Samurai’

Blog Sketch 082813This is why it pays to be nice to your spouse.

A few days ago, Trudi got the Kurosawa classic The Seven Samurai on Netflix, and we watched it together … despite the fact that both of us had seen it multiple times (I about 100 or so). Plus, it’s not Trudi’s favorite movie, though she does like it more than other samurai films. So it was something of a treat for me.

God bless you, Trudi. Thank you for being so good to me.

Oh, it was as good as ever, filled with swashbuckling adventure, heroic deeds and complex characters. I love this movie very much, and I’m grateful to my wife for letting me see it. I get Seven Samurai withdrawal symptoms, you see, and after I go, say, about six months without watching it, I get an incredible desire to view it again.

Trudi and I have different tastes when it comes to films. We don’t always agree on what’s good and what isn’t. But sometimes we do things that one half likes more than the other half – without complaint. That’s part of what makes a good marriage, I think. And it’s just one of many reasons to love Trudi.

Now, the question is: When am I going to reciprocate with a rom-com? Hoo, boy.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: A Failing Grade for ‘At Middleton’

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I want to tell you something about the movie At Middleton.

IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!

OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s proceed to why this rom-com was so wretched. It had some talent in front of the camera, including Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga as parents visiting a college with their kids and finding romance in the process. Unfortunately, the script was dreadful, creating a host of unbelievable situations in the name of character development, including a completely unrealistic scene in which the duo crashes a campus acting class and provides a clinic in method theory.

Can you say, “Ludicrous?” I can.

Another problem: Many sequences went on for far too long, with the effect that they became tedious. The conversations between the two parents were so uninteresting that they didn’t foster any definition; instead, they removed it. What we, as viewers, were left with were skeletons of characters speaking poor dialogue and becoming more and more insufferable as the film went on.

Oh, and I really dislike forced quirkiness, which was broadcast through Farmiga’s free-spirit mom. Yuck.

Much of the blame for this nonsense could be put on the direction by Adam Rodgers, who co-wrote the film, too. But the script’s issues were really insurmountable. If only it were better paced. If only the characters were credible. If only … if only …

Can I watch something good now?

Skip’s Quips: Does a Date Movie Have to Be a Rom Com?

Admit it: You’d rather spontaneously combust than watch Monster-in-Law again.

I sure would. I’d even throw in a bit of melting à la The Wizard of Oz‘s Wicked Witch of the West if that 2005 Jennifer Lopez/Jane Fonda opus could pass me by once more.

Why flicks like these are regarded as date movies I’ll never know. My theory is it’s the Meet the Fockers recipe: add some big-name stars who aren’t afraid to get embarrassed, mix in a flimsy script laden with crude jokes, fry it up alongside some uninspired direction and serve with a side of cynicism–the idea that folks will find it suitable for significant-other viewing. Because, of course, it doesn’t have any huge CGI battle scenes, orcs or parsec-swooping spaceships in it.

Frankly, I’d rather take a date to see Kagemusha. Oh, wait–I already did that.

Maybe that’s what’s really missing from our moviegoing patterns. We’re prescribed a diet of genres that purport to be appropriate for various ailments–a need for romance, a need for comedy. But isn’t it better to see a movie just because it’s really good? Is it an illusion to think that you want light comedy on a date? Perhaps you’d be better off with Alexander Nevsky…if the alternative is Fockers/in-Law.

I believe quality trumps type–that no matter what mood you’re in, a great film will make you feel better. And a bad one will make you feel worse.

Which is not to say that your date will always be a success after a viewing of Kagemusha. But you might win out on originality. Chalk that one up for the cinephiles.