To Come Back

I've always been the kind of person who calls movies movies.

I run in the kind of circles though where a lot of people call movies "films."

Sometimes, I'll hear a person call a movie a film after I've just called it a movie, and I'll wonder whether or not that person is, in some way, correcting me.

I didn't start to realize this little discrepency until a few years ago. Since then, I've kind of figured out that if you're talking about, say, Wayne's World, it's okay to call it a movie; but if you're discussing Seven Samurai, you should probably call it a film.

I suppose I've adapted somewhat to this new lexical law, but I still, most of the time, long to call a movie a movie.

Nonetheless, I watched two films this past weekend: Volver and Children of Men. Neither was wholly perfect but Volver was strange and pretty and ultimately a little moving, and Children of Men was bleak and visually stunning and a little thought-provoking. And, as I suggested, I'm pretty sure both of these would be called films.

Two more films I'm looking forward to: Half Nelson, which is already out on DVD, and Little Children, which should be out soon.

I'm also hoping Grindhouse makes it to the local Kerasotes soon. Based on what I've read about it so far, though, I'm unsure whether it would qualify as a film or a movie. Perhaps it's a film masquerading as a movie? Whatever it is, it looks like pure entertainment, and I can't wait to see it, though I may have to attend it alone--as J.C. doesn't seem nearly as thrilled about it as I am.


Caroline said...

I used to think people were pretentious when they called movies "films," but now I think I see the difference.

I hope Grindhouse is as silly and beautiful as it looks. I can't wait to see it either.

Lisa said...

That movie vs. film thing drives me crazy. I'm calling Seven Samurai a movie, and no one can stop me!

How I loved Volver. I found it the most accessible of Almodovar's films (ha ha!). When I saw Cruz in All About My Mother, I thought, she is going to be a big star. When I saw her in Volver, I nearly swooned! What a woman. She reminded me of a young Sophia Loren in that movie.

hobart said...

I haven't seen Volver or Children of Men yet, but really want to. I fucking loved Half Nelson, and am also looking forward to Little Children.

Also, re: Grindhouse: I freaking loved this movie so much. I'll keep checking in to see if you see it. It has its faults but is just so, so much fun. Also, we took a 10 and 14 year old, and they both loved it a hell of a lot too, which is awesome.

Finally, re: your post before this one: hell yes Sopranos return!

Chad Simpson said...

Caroline--I don't think I'm an authority on this or anything. Eventually, I'll probably just start calling everything a film.

That was pretty funny, Lisa--the most accessible of Almodovar's films. And I'm with you on Penelope Cruz. She didn't used to do much for me, but the more and more I see her, the more stunning she is. And that was especially the case in Volver.

Aaron--I'm glad to hear Half Nelson is good. I still don't know why I haven't rented it yet. As for Little Children--did you read the book? I'd never read any of Perrotta's novels because they're always marketed as "funny" and "satirical" and I'm not typically all that into funny and/or satire, but Little Children is pretty awesome. Much darker than I thought it would be. Very cool.

Grindhouse still hasn't shown up here. Maybe it'll come this weekend.

And The Sopranos is kicking ass as usual. Re: the last post: Do you watch The Shield? If you haven't seen it, go through the whole thing season-by-season once you're suffering from Sopranos withdrawal. It's pretty amazing, in my opinion.

hobart said...

I read most of Little Children and really liked it. I never finished mostly just because I moved and so it became less and less of a priority, and then, after a while, it just becomes harder and harder to jump back in mid-read. I remember wanting to see it in the theater btu then it seemed to come and go before I realized it. This is a good reminder to go rent it.

I really like novels that are funny, except that there seems to be very few writers who can pull off that tricky combo of funny and good. Two who often come to mind are Lipsyte and Bachelder.

I actually haven't seen the two new Sopranos yet. I don't have HBO, but am going to a friend's tonight to catch up on that shit, ondemand-style. Am pretty excited. I haven't ever seen The Shield, no. I'll try that next, I guess. I just recently, having exhausted my supply of other HBO shows, got into The Wire, and really, really dug it.

Chad Simpson said...


Lipsyte is definitely funny and good. I haven't really read Bachelder--just a story or two--but what I've read I've liked.

On Demand is one of my most favorite recent inventions. Did you get to see Tony get his ass kicked yet? I love Bobby--he's always been one of my favorite characters on the show, so I'm hoping he doesn't catch a bullet before it's all said and done.

And The Wire is probably my favorite of, well, all shows ever. I've seen and loved every episode. It's more substantial than The Shield, but The Shield is really solid as far as entertainment goes.

Chad Simpson said...


I just had an idea: You should do a Sopranos fan-fiction issue of Hobart. Or, you know, stories inspired by The Sopranos.

I only learned what fan fiction was since I started teaching--lots of my students are into it--and from what I hear it's pretty terrible, but I bet you could put together a pretty cool issue. A monologue by Aidrian. One of Christopher's early screenplays. A series of love letters between Bobby and Uncle Junior.

hobart said...

Yeah, Lipsyte is awesome.

I LOVED Bachelder's Bear v. Shark. I couldn't really get into U.S.! but if you can find a copy of BvS, I totally recommend you pick it up. I thought it was hilarious, and a really fast read.

I went over to a friend's a couple weeks ago and caught the first two eps. Holy shit, they were awesome. Even when not so much was happening, SO MUCH was happening! I think I'm headed over again this week to said friend's to catch up on the last two.

I'll add The Shield to the list and get into it after I watch this last season of Entourage on DVD...

hobart said...

I saw Little Children this weekend and had to come back to see what your opinion was on it. I'd forgotten.

... I hated it.

Chad Simpson said...

I saw it this weekend, too, and I'm with you.


That narrator.

A friend of mine tonight called him the "Twilight Zone" narrator, and it was a little like that.

Ronnie's mom was the film's sole highlight for me.

hobart said...

It really was awful, wasn't it? One of the more painful movies I've sat through in a while, actually, and I had pretty high hopes!

That narration was indeed the worst aspect. So unnecessary, so weird, and so out of place. Almost all voice over scenes would have played better without it. And the voice... I kept thinking there had to be some kind of twist re: the voice over at some point because why else 1) have it at all, and 2) have it be such a weird voice.

Also, the book was funny and very human. The movie was never humorous at all, was just creepy, and was kind of clinical in dealing with its characters as opposed to showing any humanity.


Chad Simpson said...

I'm still totally with you, Aaron. The voice of the voice-over is not, say, the voice of the narrator of the book itself. Even if he was reading some of the exact passages in the book, the sound of the voice itself was wrong in tone and everything else in my opinion. And that, I think, is part of what sucked the humanity out of the film.

I like how you characterize it as "clinical," too. It was all very much like that.

I especially disliked the treatment of Ronnie. In the book, we know he's something of a perv early on due to the fact he's gone to prison. But there's some sense of his humanity throughout much of the book, at least until the end of the date with Sheila.

Then the film has him looking at the kids underwater at the pool, which very much spelled out for us that he's a creep, deserving of all the hate directed at him, etc.

Truly disappointing. And especially since I really liked what Fields did with Dubus' "Killings" in "In the Bedroom."