Numbers 5 – Zoe Saldana and Emma Stone


5.) Avatar


Look, you’ve seen Avatar already. If you haven’t, you’re probably the *only person in the world* who hasn’t. I’m not really exaggerating, since it’s currently on track to be the biggest film of all time. (I just checked, and it has made $1,689,630,947 worldwide so far. That is a lot of money.) So, yeah, you’ve seen this, and you have your own opinion on it. I am betting they went something like this “The visuals were great, but the storyline sucked.”

So, of course, I’m going to say you’re wrong. Yes, the story adheres pretty closely to a firmly established outline – we’ve seen variations of this story throughout fiction and our own human history. This doesn’t make it bad, or even unoriginal. If that’s your argument, then you’d better be saying the same things about Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc. (Maybe you are. In which case, I’d like to have a “quiet” talk with you afterwards.)

It’s a solid story, one that lends itself well to the themes and message that the film wants to get across. It’s an exciting story that works, and presents a framework in which this amazing world can be brought to life. With technology and visuals so unique it also helps that the story isn’t something that you need a flowchart to keep track of, unlike some other sci fi films in recent years. (I admit, I *still* don’t completely understand the plot of Primer.) And even while the film as a whole might not be pure perfection, taken piece by piece there is beauty and brilliance evident throughout. It’s breathtaking, moving, and absolutely fantastic.

Why isn’t it higher on the list? Two reasons. James Cameron uses slow motion far too often in an effort to make you realize “wow, this is important/sad/tragic.” We’re smart. We can get that *without* the slow motion scenes unfolding while the soundtrack plays wailing sad music. Which leads me to point number two – the soundtrack is a huge disappointment. There are a few decent themes, but as a whole it’s extremely pedestrian and forgettable. Also, I think the end credits song is one of the worst songs ever to play at the end of a film in the history of the world, and I am slightly worried that it gave me ear cancer. So, that’s why it’s number 5 instead of higher up. I liked it a lot upon first viewing, and absolutely loved it the second time around. And, if you haven’t seen it in 3D, you pretty much need to fix that ASAP.


5) Zombieland


Now, if you know me in that sphere we call real-life, you’ll know that zombies scare the ever loving you know what out of me. It takes something really special in a video game for me to play if there are zombies, and even more special in a movie. (I had trouble with the zombies in the latest Harry Potter movie). This movie definitely measures up. The main character, named after his hometown of Columbus, teams up with three other survivors of the zombie apocalypse. They all have separate goals – Columbus (Jesse Eisenerg) wants to merely survive, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) wants to find twinkies, Wichita (Emma Stone) wants to protect her younger sister – Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) who wants to find Pacific Playground, a zombie-free amusement park.

The reason I loved this movie is because it isn’t really a horror movie – it’s definitely more of a comedy. Columbus goes through his rules for survival (33 in all, #2 – Double Tap) which all come into play at some point during the movie. While the zombies are frightening, we’re past all the horror of the initial outbreaks and terror in the streets and have moved on to the survival and get your life readjusted to the undead being around phase. (There’s a zombie kill of the week award). This movie is much like the video game “Left 4 Dead” (4 survivors trying to stay alive) or even more like the cult classic Shaun of the Dead (a must-see) with a tongue-in-cheek attitude towards the walking dead, with girls kicking butt and taking names, and characters so real and new that I’m desperately hoping for a sequel (which has been requested by many of the cast members as well). And that’s saying something for a person who is prejudiced against the Zombie persuasion.

And the bad –

5) Ghosts of Girlfriends Past


Matthew McConaughey plays Connor Mead, a womanizer who despises the institution of marriage and the thought of commitment – he wants to emulate his uncle and guardian, the late Wayne Mead. His younger brother, Paul (Breckin Meyer), asks him to be best man in his wedding and it turns out Connor has dated all but one of the bridesmaids in the wedding party. His first crush, Jenny (Jennifer Garner), is also part of the wedding party and when Connor embarrasses everyone with his lewd behavior and disparaging comments toward the bride and groom she makes it clear that she now despises him. While drunk and trying to hit on bridesmaids, Connor meets the ghost of his Uncle Wayne, who tells him that before the night is over, he will have to confront the ghost of every girl he’s ever dated, led by the Ghost of Girlfriends past (Emma Stone).

While not the worst romantic comedy I watched this year, this movie was an enormous although not surprising disappointment. I haven’t seen Jennifer Garner or Matthew McConaughey in much that I like them in. They always seem to play the same roles over and over again. There were a lot of cheap laughs with a predictable ending and way too many sexual innuendo jokes for my taste. Overall, they didn’t try to do anything new whatsoever, instead taking a classic story and bending it to however they thought would make them the most money.


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