Some households have vast libraries of movies on VHS or DVD. I don't own any DVDs (except for the one in the Nirvana box set) and when I was a kid we didn't own any movies... except for two Betamax tapes that were just recordings off Showtime or something. Those two movies were Rocky IV and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. I would guess that I've seen each of those movies a dozen times. But I hadn't seen either since the 1980s. So when Pee-Wee's Big Adventure showed up as part of Jennifer's mystery Netflix thing, I figured it'd be a good chance to see if it held up at all. And it did, quite a bit. The bits in which Pee-Wee is in his element showing off his usual routines are generally quite lame, but once he starts interacting with the outside world the movie becomes genuinely funny, and not just to eleven-year-olds. There are some really good edits in this movie — the cuts come at exactly the right time for maximum comic effect.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure came in response to a suggestion I'd left on Jennifer's livejournal; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring came because Jennifer has another account and asked if I wanted anything. Spring is a Korean movie I'd read about on Mike D'Angelo's site. It turns out to be about five moments involving a floating temple on a lake in the wilderness. Though they form a story arc, each could conceivably stand alone as a short story... one of those "decisive moment" short stories that come in, observe a turning point in someone's life, and leave. I don't have much to say about this one. It was okay but not incredibly memorable.

Finally, I saw the first half hour of Waking Life before giving up. I'd heard that it was full of philosophy-major rambling but I didn't know that it'd be a plotless string of anonymous talking heads declaiming on existentialism and free will vs. determinism and so forth. It was weird because I kept thinking, as I normally do when I'm taking in a story, "What does the stuff this character is saying tell me about him?"... but in this movie that was totally pointless because the "characters" were just random animated jabbering melons. Apparently I was supposed to find their abstract musings intrinsically fascinating. But I already hear too much from people I don't care about, living in this world where we're all bombarded with chatter. If you want me to listen to this sort of thing you'll have to first make me care about the people doing the talking. Instead, I kind of have to side with Vern when he says, "You know what would be my idea of hell would be if this movie could follow you around and keep talking to you."

Return to the Calendar page!