In-flight entertainment

The longest legs of our flights to and fron Italia were run by Delta and KLM. The planes had personal seat-back screens, same as Air Canada has. Not only are those far better to watch than shared drop-down screens; they also mean you don't get censored movies! And the selection was good in both directions. Ever since the demise of Blockbuster, Sweetie and I have fallen way behind on movies, so it was nice to do a bit of catch-up.

I always eliminate movies that would really suffer from watching on a tiny screen with the wrong aspect ratio. That meant that even though I would have liked to have seen Twelve Years a Slave and Gravity, there was no way I was going to try on an airplane. But a lot of movies run on dialogue, so those are the ones I favour.

I don't usually watch rom-coms, but for some reason I like to while flying. Maybe it's just a need for light entertainment. And I had been intrigued by trailers I saw for Enough Said, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener and starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (in his final role). I wasn't disappointed. It wasn't even really a rom-com, although there were comedic elements, as life has. It's the story of two older, divorced people who get together and the complications that result--mainly from Louis-Dreyfus's character, a maseuse, having Gandolfini's character's ex-wife (Catherine Keener) as a client. I liked how the script was purposely left a little messy. No neat tying up of all the loose ends. Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini had a really good chemistry, and Keener and Toni Collette (best friend) were good in support. I might not have made the time to watch this if I weren't stuck on an airplane for several hours, but I'm glad I did watch it.

That was the only movie I saw on the way over. I slept a fair amount to try to get on Italian time. But on the way back, on the extra-long day, I watched three movies. Just got on a roll!

First was Inside Llewyn Davis. Sweetie and I had wanted to see this when we were stranded in Boston last winter, but we arrived just a bit too late for the start and so instead saw Philomena. But as a musician with some knowledge of the early 1960s folk music scene, I still wanted to see the film. It's by Joel and Ethan Coen and loosely based on a memoir by the late Dave Van Ronk, whom I once interviewed. Right from the start, I was drawn in. Llewyn is rather unlikeable, as has been noted elsewhere, yet I was still interested in his story. There's a lot more going on than you first know. Plus, Oscar Isaac is both a good singer and very easy on the eyes. It contains typical warped Coen humour while still showing a lot of heart. I loved this movie so much that I convinced Sweetie that we should get it on pay-per-view when we got home. I loved it even more the second time, and she was hooked as well.

With not much of a break, I then watched The Butler. This is the Lee Daniels film based (again, loosely) on the life of an actual White House butler. It's hard to go wrong with Forest Wittacker as the lead, but he is also well supported by Oprah Winfrey (wife), Cuba Gooding Jr. (friend), David Oyelowo (elder son), and even Clarence Williams III (although I thought Terrence Howard was a bit wasted as a philandering friend). And then there are the various presidents: Robin Williams as Eisenhower, Liev Schreiber as Lyndon Johnson, John Cusack as Nixon. With Alan Rickman playing Ronald Reagan, you almost like the guy. It's a bit of a movie-of-the-week, but Daniels did delve into some of the darker and more difficult aspects of the story.

I finished up with The Heat, a cop buddy movie starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. It's silly and over the top, but it's supposed to be. I was thoroughly entertained, and I laughed out loud several times (something you probably shouldn't do on an airplane). Bullock is great as the uptight FBI special agent who eventually loosens up, and McCarthy is phenomenal as the foul-mouthed Boston native who breaks all the rules but gets the job done better than anyone else. Her dialogue is especially sharp as she repeatedly punctures the Bullock character's carefully crafted façade. As a women's comedy, Bridesmaids didn't really work for me. This one definitely did.

Think Sweetie will let me watch The Heat again?

1 comment:

Coline said...

Miles behind here too. I now shall look out for The Heat, You have to see Gravity...