Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've been asked this year to be one of the judges for a local film festival. For the last week or so, I've been wading through twenty-some entries, enjoying the variety in genre, style, and even talent. There's something almost fun and campy about the below-average homemade films... And, of course, it's a pleasure to be impressed by the shorts that are really well done. An unexpected camera angle, an actor that has obvious talent, a script that makes me think...

Anyway, immersing myself in the nuts and bolts of filmmaking has made me consider some of the movies I've seen recently. We settle for some really crappy "art" don't we? I'd say that Aaron and I only come across a movie that we'd consider great once in a blue moon. The rest are just a way to kill a couple hours on a weekend night.

In the hope that one of these movies might save you from a ho-hum viewing experience, here are a few movies that we've really enjoyed in the last year.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

I know, we're way behind the times, but we just watched this movie. I loved it. I knew I would. It's a beautiful story, beautifully told. A must-see if you haven't already.

Keeping Mum

This British film had us in stitches. The comedy is dark but handled with grace and a light touch. We especially loved the amazing Biblical truths hidden in plain sight. It's rated R for a reason, and it might not be everyone's cup of tea (nice British allusion there, don't you think?) but we adored it.

Star Trek

Yeah, I know, it's Star Trek. Aaron hates alien/space/sci-fi stuff, but we both loved this movie. It's action-packed, but it... wait for it... has a story. Unbelievable, I know. We were also blown away by the camera angles, the special effects, the atmosphere of the whole film. Lots of fun.

The Dark Knight

Should have watched this one in the theater. Instead, we rented it nearly a year after it released in DVD format. We were completely blown away. Amazing movie. Raw and angry and dark, but ultimately about good and truth and beauty. Okay, that's a huge oversimplification. Just watch the movie.

Julie & Julia

Such a fun movie. Lighthearted, sweet, and entertaining, but with underlying themes of identity, fulfillment, hope, and ambition. We really, really enjoyed it. And then were disappointed the very next day when we heard of Julie's new book, Cleaving, that's all about her extramarital affair due to the success of her Julia Child blog. Boo. But the movie is still good.


  1. Love What's Eating Gilbert Grape. By far one of my favs. And I keep hearing all this hype about Julie and Julia. I must watch that one.

    I have to say, I didn't really like Dark Knight. Hubby and I watched it at home. I fell asleep. Maybe I ought to try and watch it again.

  2. I'm a huge fantasy/sci-fi nerd so I'm happy to see you enjoyed Star Trek and The Dark Knight. I thought both exceeded many expectations because they really take to heart the importance of story and compelling characters. Unlike other films, the special effects are just an added bonus to a well-executed movie, rather than having the FX simply become the overall point. Wow, I could go on and on about these two movies! I recommend them as well. :)

  3. Loved Julie and Julia...we just watched that this weekend too! I really need to read a Julia Child biography. We also loved The Dark Knight and when I watched it years ago, What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I've never seen any of these, but am a HUGE Johnny Depp fan. I've heard about this movie and really want to see it.

  5. What's Eating Gilbert Grape is one of my favorites. Dark Knight was pretty intense compared to the first one. I actually got it for Christmas the year before last. What a movie to get for Christmas, huh? Lol. And I'm just itching to see Julie and Julia. But, I've never heard of Keeping Mum. Sounds like it would be good, though.

  6. I'm glad at least a few of you share my movie tastes! Aaron and I are pretty eclectic viewers, but the best movies in our opinion have a good story, compelling characters, and that fine mix of truth and beauty that make us catch our breath... Any suggestions? :)

  7. I loved Under the Tuscan Sun. Hands down one of my favorites. As well as the newer Pride and Prejudice. The Family Stone is also another good one. It's got some language in it - and when I mean language I mean of the not-so-nice-language variety - but still a good movie.

  8. You've probably already seen them both, but Big Fish and A River Runs Through It are two of my favorites. Definately Maybe is pretty good too.

  9. Lauren, if you like the new Pride and Prejudice you have to try the "old" one--the BBC version with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. One of my ALL-TIME favorites!!!

    Believe it or not, I've never seen a River Runs Through It! I actually bought it on the $5 rack at Wal-Mart a couple months ago because I know it's a classic, but I haven't gotten around to viewing it yet. Soon...

  10. Hello i like to see the movies it's my hobby so this blog will also like by me..

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