Movie Opinions Vary

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It all comes down to trusting the reviewer, I feel. So, I am going to tell you about

several movies I was discouraged about, disinterested in or would not recommend

to a friend. I used to really like getting Siskel and Ebert’s annual movie review books.

My father knew how I liked to study and read about current movies, along with

looking up older ones, too. This was a guaranteed Christmas book for several years

in a row, along with a few others from my parents. I still have “S & E’s” final review

compilation from the last year they were both alive together.

 

I wish I could ask them what they think about, “Gone Girl.”

 

I went to see the movie last night that had been given ‘rave reviews.’ Which is why

I started this post using the suggestion either you have come to know me and would

believe me.  Or you may wish to still try one of these movies. They are not all from

2014, but no endings or many surprises will be revealed.  I feel knowing some of the

facts still won’t necessitate my having to give you a *Spoiler Alert.*

 

My youngest daughter and I went to see the movie, “Gone Girl.” We paid an exorbitant

amount of $9.75 each for this. I could not wait until it came to our local Strand Theatre

which is showing two family shows and one that I am not familiar with. On the “CBS

Sunday Morning Show,” yesterday they featured the author, Gillian Flynn, along with

Ben Affleck and the director, David Fincher. The author emphasized she would still

continue writing but felt this was her ‘shining moment.’ She was enthusiastic with her

having her book on the Best Seller List since 2012. Ms. Flynn was pleased  with the

excellent director and outstanding cast following her  script/screenplay. It was exciting

to listen to her confidence. It is always nice when someone’s life falls into place. It gives

every writer hope for their own being well-received. She had other books do well, but

this movie is something she felt possibly would be her “best” book in her entire life.

I started getting  ‘pumped up’ for later that evening.

 

I left the library and waited until my youngest daughter called, since she had gone

into Martini’s Restaurant to work. Knowing if it were ‘slow,’ she would be ‘cut from

the floor.’ (Server slang for being sent home with lack of tables to wait on.)

 

We met in the middle, she driving from east side of Columbus, my heading south

from Delaware. I expected the snacks to be priced high, so I put a candy bar and a

bag of Smart Pop, Cheddar Cheese flavored, in my purse. I NEVER do this to the

local movie theater. I don’t feel any twinges of conscience for this action at the Rave

Cineplex. We did not make the matinee show, which would have been only $5.

We started chattering, as we ‘hit the ladies’ room’ before entering the theater. Then we

watched a slew of advertisements for television shows on the big screen. We saw several

good promotions for Diet Coke and movies that were coming soon. We did not see any

trailers for the next two on our October list, (“The Judge” and “The Best of Me.”)

 

I will say that as we left “Gone Girl,” someone told us it was exactly like the book. If you

loved or liked the book, go ahead and watch this movie. If you did not read the book nor

know the plot, I recommend you stop, look it up, and think about how you want to feel

after you leave the theater. We both, (Felicia is 28 years old and I am 58), felt it was

depressing, had no redeeming value nor were any of the three main characters ones

we cared about.  Yes, that includes Ben Affleck!   We liked the character of the female

police officer in charge of the investigation of the missing woman, we also got teary-

eyed, because there is a very nice sister of Ben Affleck’s character.

 

We compared this to the overwhelmingly sad and horrible feelings we felt when we

finished the movie, “Prisoners.” Again, that movie had great actors and actresses, Hugh

Jackman and Terrence Howard included.  If you enjoyed that particular movie, then

you may enjoy this one. (But I will wonder if you would please tell us WHY you liked it?

in the comments’ section.)

 

Another movie we had watched, so excited because of the leading male actors and the

(again) positive reviews was Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, “The Wolf of  Wall Street.”

We were so thankful we picked that out of the Redbox, which cost only $1 plus tax.

We watched the beginning, really liking the characters, including the inept one, Jonah

Hill, who is usually funny. By the middle of this long, seedy, and terrible movie with

excessive (but not amusing) debauchery happening, we resorted to fast-forwarding

it to the end.  You really would not be exaggerating if you said you needed to take a

shower afterwards. We hoped to find some redeeming value. If you know the true story

behind this one, you will know there is a slightly ‘good’ ending.

 

It was NOTHING like the pleasant plot with some amoral acts, but mainly fun pranks

while major laws were being broken in, “Catch Me If You Can.” In “The Wolf of Wall Street”

movie, laws are broken, which isn’t what upset us. My youngest daughter and I hated the

fact Leonardo DiCaprio’s character claims, while narrating scenes, when he saw his future

wife, he said he fell in love with her and would treasure her always. His character and

Jonah Hill’s character both went overboard on drugs and prostitutes. (All of this was

included in the advertisements or movie trailers, but we had hoped it would be BEFORE

he got married and had a child with the woman  he claimed was ‘the love of his life.’)

 

I am not going to be a fan who recommends, “Saving Mr. Banks,” either. The title is

misleading, the age group I would suggest seeing this is far higher than 10-12 year

olds. It is like “Bambi,” with its ‘out of the blue’ death and attempted suicide scenes.

It is a forced movie, with wonderful acting by Emma Thompson playing P.L. Travers

and Tom Hanks, as Walt Disney. The scenes of P.L. Travers’ childhood are immensely

tragic. You wonder what kept her going through her life, motivating her to write such

great books. My favorite character is the chauffeur played by Paul Giamatti. I think my

fellow blogger, “Belsbror,” mentioned this months ago, taking his daughter to it and

getting up to leave before it ended.

 

I watched the awful “August: Osage County” movie on Friday, having been on a long

library ‘wait list.’ Again, like “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Wolf on Wall Street,” this

was nominated for Academy Awards for Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, along with

“Best Picture of the Year.” If you enjoy Tennessee Williams’ plays and movies, some

which have been entertaining but very dramatic and highly emotional, then you are

in for a ‘treat.’ This was the style of the writing by Tracy Letts, who won a Pulitzer

Prize in 2008 for the book. Otherwise, I guess I had hoped it would be like a country

edition of “On Golden Pond.” That movie had dramatic performances but I actually

liked a couple of the crotchety characters. I did not relate or like ANY of the main

characters, especially disliked Meryl Streep’s character, who has cancer. I felt the

audience should at least feel sympathetic towards her (but I didn’t). My favorite

character was the unassuming Native American, played by Missy Upham, who is

hired to be the family’s housekeeper. In a mean comment, during the course of

the movie, Meryl Streep’s character calls her an “Injun.”

 

I may have to tell you in this conclusion, that I am not a fan of the “Twilight” movies,

along with the “Hunger Games” books or movies. My good friend, Diane S. and I

got up and left during the premiere of the first “Hunger Games.” She had a daughter,

at the time, ‘stuck’ in Africa for almost 4 years. She had been trying to adopt a boy

who she had fallen in love with as a baby, when she was a volunteer there. When the

12 year old African American character gets shot by another young person, in the

first movie, Diane burst into tears. I have never seen it nor the other ones since then.

It is a shame, since I do like the main character’s actress, Jennifer Lawrence. I would

highly recommend you see her in the complex but funny movie, “Silver Linings Playlist.”

or the dark and realistic movie she is in called, “Winter’s Bone.” Also, she does well in

the Oscar nominated movie, “American Hustle.”

 

It makes me think of the melancholy song, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” sung by

Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in 1972. (More recently performed by the group,

“Simply Red,” in 2009.) You know some of my opinions but we may have to agree

to disagree, on some of my negative reviews of some ‘popular’ movies. If you wish to

give your opinions, I do embrace freedom of speech and do not like censorship.

Please let us know about any or all of the above movies, which I could not find any

redeeming qualities. I am discouraged by this discovery, believe me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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29 responses »

  1. I didn’t read “Gone Girl.” After reading reviews on Amazon, I decided the story line wasn’t my cup of tea. I like to read a story or see a movie that is uplifting. If I want to be depressed, I just turn on the local or world news.
    Thanks for these reviews, Robin! You’ve probably saved some people money. 🙂
    I’ll be curious to hear your reviews on “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I won’t be seeing it and I didn’t read the books. When I first heard about it, I thought it was about a woman going through menopause. 🙂

    • I think this is hilarious, Jill!
      I found that last comment about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” to be so funny!
      I did a book review or opinion on 50, a year ago. I should look up a key word so someone interested can use it on the right side of the blog. I should have used the title of the book… I will get back to you on a reference. I had one man a little ticked off, since I gave my reason why I don’t like ‘bondage’ while I have romance…
      smiles and hope you have a fantastic week, Jill!

      • Oh, I am so glad you mentioned this, since during “Gone Girl” there was a movie commercial for “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I guess I thought I would ‘like’ Ben Affleck’s character, but he is not a ‘nice’ man, although not as negative as the wife’s role in the movie…I am so glad you realized ahead of time, this would be depressing. I also gravitate towards more positive movies.
        I went back to my post and added the book title to the column on the right, should anyone wish to read the people’s comments on my post. Thank you, Jill, again for bringing this up!

  2. yes, opinions vary widely, i agree, though i do like to read them, to get a feel of what people thought. i read gone girl and would like to see the movie to see if it is the same, it was very dark and twisty, and an intense ride, i remember that. wolf on wall street bored me quickly, a little goes a long way, and august was so depressing i couldn’t take much more of it, even though the acting was very good. i loved jills 50 shades comment too ) onward and upward, a lot of films will open before the end of the year and i’m hoping for some great ones )

    • This was a great summary, Beth! You agreed with the ones from 2013, Wolf on Wall Street and the August movie. I watched the entire August movie, but as mentioned, Felicia encouraged me to fast forward on the Wolf one…
      I am so glad you liked the book, I will look forward to your opinion once you see it. I am also looking forward to my best friend, (in Delaware) Jenny’s opinion because she liked the book, too. But she is one that during different movies, she will close her eyes, I imagine two distinct places she will have them tightly shut!
      Onward and upward. Did you like “Saving Mr. Banks,” Beth? I found myself liking the parts with “Mary Poppins” but not the P.L. Travers’ back story. Which it was just so sad, but I guess you cannot change the ‘real’ or ‘true’ stuff. Just wish it weren’t mixed into the fun parts. I am probably not making sense, right now!

  3. The other night I lost 2.5 hours of my life to Transformers – Age of Extinction. Don’t press play on that one. You have been warned. Life is too short 🙂 I agree with you on August and Wolf and the Twilight movies. Terrible time suckers. But I admit I loved Hunger Games and was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the first movie. I love Gone Girl – the book. It is probably one of my all-time favourites and Gillian Flynn is a master storyteller so I won’t be watching the movie. Just like I won’t be watching Wild because the book is extraordinary. I tend to favour my imagination…:D

    • I love that you stick to books, Yolanda, for your entertainment. I also have been disappointed by movies, but must confess as my younger daughter and I were leaving the man and woman behind us said, “The movie is exactly how you picture the book and we loved it!” (Just so you know…) I guess I was at the movie with the ‘wrong person,’ at the right time. I think Diane S. got so upset, I had to leave with her. I may had ‘stuck it out…’ I am so glad you agreed with some of my less favorable reviews, along with appreciating your ‘right’ to enjoy the “Hunger Games” series of books, I do believe that “Gone Girl” sounds like a good book to read. I do enjoy suspense, don’t mind violence, and the creepy wife would be interesting to read about her in Gillian Flynn’s own words. Thanks!

  4. As a rule for the past twenty years of my life I haven’t done movies much. Until this summer. My friends insisted I watch the series of Super Hero movies. We did. Had a great time. And we’ve actually made it out to the movie theater a couple of times. It helps to see reviews of others. So I’ll add your tips to my memory banks. 😉

    • I think the movies with super heroes sound wonderful, Colleen! How fun!
      I enjoy escaping to movies! I liked the Spiderman movies, also the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Les Miserables and Mamma Mia, there are a lot of great movies to watch out there! I have written about a few but you will find some on your own. I liked that the “Avengers” movies were filmed in Cleveland, Ohio so people from their can recognize landmarks, along with part of it being filmed out at Plum Brook where my Dad worked with nuclear energy, the reactor is closed but the area where the Hulk goes ‘bananas’ is actually still there. We lived in Sandusky, Ohio and went there when NASA had their open house/family picnics.

      • I had NO idea the Avengers was taped in Cleveland! I spent a weekend up there earlier this year and LOVED it. NO IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was the series I have spent the summer watching! 🙂

      • Yes, there was a diligent Clevelander, who wrote a minute to minute summary, where all teh scenes were filmed. I used it in a post reference, but not sure if I have time to look for it today…
        During the first Avengers movie filming, mentioning Cleveland Public Square where an outdoor café scene was filmed, the Opera theater in the movie is a whole different building use, in reality. When I went for the second Avengers movie visit, they had a whole highway blocked off, near the Cleveland Airport, Colleen! I had to follow a roundabout route, but actually glimpsed cars and film crews, vans and buses affiliated with the movie! There are a few shots in another city, too.

  5. I rarely watch T.V. because I read so much. As Yolanda said above, the books tend to be much better. Just this year I’ve read…The Book Thief, The Baker’s Daughter, A Short HIstory of Nearly Everything, Me Before You, Cutting for Stone, The Signature of All Things, Orphan Train, And the Mountains Echoed, and The Death of Bees; and a few others. I’m currenly reading Americanah. I dislike depressing movies, but with books it’s a bit different. So long as the ending isn’t all doom and gloom, I prefer books that delve into “real life”. I did go see the movie “The Giver” recently. I had read the book and an elderly gentlemen that I organize for wanted to see it, so I took him. We both enjoyed it.

    • Thank you for your outstanding books list. I hope my fellow bloggers who enjoy reading will take your list seriously, Sherri! You really out-did yourself, by adding them to this post!
      I love books, but have been enjoying mysteries that are not so deep (Janet Evanovich’s books, made it to #20, Lilian Braun Jackson, ‘Siamese cat mysteries,’ and ones are recipes/plus mysteries, “The Chocolate Chip Murder Mystery” and “The Lemon Meringue Murder Mystery.”)
      Anyone reading my comment, will think I am rather silly, huh?! ha ha!

  6. In movies and books, as in life, there’s not always a happy ending. I think it’s good every once in a while to have unlikable characters as the protagonists, as long as they aren’t one dimensional. Humans are complicated and so, too, should characters be. There wasn’t much redeeming about Amy in Gone Girl, but you got a sense that she was damaged by her childhood and her self-absorbed parents who created a fictional “Amy” who was the perfect child she never could be. I don’t know if that would turn me into a psycho, but at least you got a sense that she was damaged.

    I’m writing a novel in which the lead character isn’t very warm and fuzzy, either. She doesn’t go around killing people, but she’s hard to love. That’s life, though. There are people in this world, for all kinds of reasons, that aren’t fun to be around. In the case of my novel, one of those people was my grandmother. I make her as multidimensional as possible so the reader understands why she is the way she is and why she does what she does. But that doesn’t change the fact that she’s not very likable. I think I’d get bored quickly if I only read books with happy endings and sweet characters!

    • I, for one, very much enjoy a book with a complicated protagonist and don’t require him/her to be necessarily admirable. Some of the characters in Penelope Lively, for instance, are not exactly those you would warm up to a first glance but they are completely human.

    • This is absolutely true, Lorna. I was fascinated by the Dragon Tattoo book and the only other two books the Swedish author wrote. I do feel that the main characters are ‘good’ and ‘deep’ but there is a lot of bad parts that help explain why the characters got to how they are. I liked ‘Hannibal Lector,’ mainly because Anthony Hopkins did a great job, but I still sympathized with the policewoman and the other characters more.
      I love that you explained more about your novel, here, Lorna! I am glad you will show multi-dimensional character, with some negative attributes.
      Oh, you are right about the book, “Gone Girl,” I should read about Amazing Amy and her parents, why she got so psycho! (Oh, I did like that movie, too! smiles!)

  7. I thought Gone Girl was a rocking good book full of twists and turns and it kept me riveted. One of the reviews of the movie, however, said that it lacked the novel’s lighter touch, the humor that ran through the book was entirely missing from the movie thus making it a much darker affair. I haven’t seen it yet but heard Rosamund Pike was outstanding in the role of Amy.
    I did not see August: Osage County because two of my smartest friends said, separately, that it was Dreadful. I don’t need to be told more than twice! Saving Mr. Banks? Meh. I didn’t love or hate.
    And I could not agree more about the “Hunger Games.” Have never read or seen a “Twilight” thing….but somehow know it’s not my cup of tea.

    • I like good action books, don’t mind ‘bad’ boys, crazy and psychotic people either. I really liked the police woman and the sister’s character in the movie. Not having read the book, we went into this thinking that Ben Affleck was a ‘nice’ man, one we would empathize with while knowing that Amy’s character, played by Rosamund Pike, would be the ‘bad’ girl. She did an excellent job of playing her, there are still a lot of twists and turns. I mentioned to someone above, that two people overheard Felicia and I talking, they told us they had both read the book and loved the movie, as we were walking out of the theatre.
      I am so glad to know the book was one you enjoyed and you may still love the movie, as Gillian Flynn told the interviewer (in my post I mentioned this) that she was very excited, enthusiastic and recommended the movie. I can imagine the movie would please book fans…

  8. As you know from reading my review, Robin, I really liked “Gone Girl.” I thought Gillian Welch’s plot was mysterious, suspenseful, and full of twists and turns that left me aghast and thoroughly stunned. A can like movies with characters doing despicable actions because I know they’re wrong, they are not acting as role models for me, and I didn’t go there expecting to be delighted by their morals. I would not be happy if the movie or character in it were being used as examples of good behavior for young people. Thanks for your opinion on the movies above. I liked “Saving Mr. Banks,” although I agree the scenes from her childhood were very dark. And the chauffeur character played by Paul G was my favorite, too.

    • I am so glad that there are many who enjoyed this movie, also the book. I think that it is good to have debates and opinions that differ. It would be boring if we were all of the same mind, Mark!

      I had mixed feelings about the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks,” but wish the first story, about her life and childhood, were separated into another movie. Then, the final movie, one where Ms. Travers’ life got better, financially and emotionally, by having her book turned into a Disney film, this could be really one for all to see.

      Hopefully, people will check out your posts, too. Thanks, Mark, for ‘weighing in’ on the opinions! smiles!

      • You are right that the two Ms. Travers’ chapters were so different in tone, Robin, but I think the movie makers were aiming for that shocking contrast. More debate!

      • I think it was such a disparate contrast that it was kind of ‘shattering’ and breaking up my happy feelings from when I would see the Mary Poppins with the reality.

        But, I really do think this could have been made into a tribute to the resilience and imagination of P.L. Travers, if they would have somehow inserted a balancing place, not sure how to explain this, Mark! It was not ‘horrible’ and it truly is incredible that she wrote such a fine series of books, despite her sad childhood.

        Thanks, Mark, for recognizing the power of debate and friendly comments exchanging!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, we don’t have an OSU game, which is quite a shame! The weather is gorgeous, going to get my grandson, Micah, later to take to the park and keep overnight!

  9. I miss Ebert, too! He was the only critic I found whose tastes and perceptions seemed aligned with mine, so he was a reliable barometer for movies. I even knew the places where he and I didn’t quite see eye-to-eye, so some films he didn’t really care for were films I knew I would still like.

    Weird thing: Affleck directed his brother, Casey (and several other big names), in a film, called Gone Baby Gone, also based on a book by the same title. As I recall, that movie was a major downer, too. I can’t say I’m a fan of Affleck… he was okay in Paycheck and Argo, but he’s one of the reasons Daredevil was so awful (I can’t believe he’s going to be the next Batman… lesson not learned, I guess).

    • There is the word, I was struggling with: “barometer!” I used thermometer recently…
      Anyway, so glad you liked Ebert, one of the amazing duo! I liked “Paycheck” since it turns out to be more dreamy than business-oriented, “Argo,” was a good walk down memory lane, with details I did not know about the true incident. W.S. I think “Gone Baby Gone,” was depressing, but I didn’t feel ‘tricked’ nor like there is a huge mistake in the ending. (This couple, in “Gone Girl,” *spoiler alert*, is going to have ‘demon spawn!’ in my mind!)

    • Oh, and I won’t be trusting Ben A. too much in the future, since he misled the interviewer on CBS Sunday Morning, conning me into going to this movie, expecting some psychological ‘warfare’ but didn’t expect that his character would be almost as ‘warped’ as she is! He said this simple line sounding something like this, “People in marriages grow apart and see things differently, it takes work to keep them together.” I thought that meant possibly counseling or some other ‘good’ actions would be demonstrated. My optimism was dashed…Oh well!

  10. Thanks for giving wonderful movie reviews but frankly speaking I enjoyed reading the variety of comments more. Seriously Robin, you have lovely and lively interaction on these pages. How I wish I could generate one tenth of this.I am not really a movie person but like to watch one recommended by friends. Currently reading Fifty shades of grey.

  11. Thank you, Soul, for your kind comments, glad you like the lively conversation here. I will tell you this, if you checked my first year’s comments, they were sparse and not often very lively! I love my fellow bloggers, but find it hard to build in numbers. I will keep you as one of my favorite places to go, since you have thought, travels, family and a part of the world I don’t know much about, on your blog!!

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