I would admit it, even if it wasn’t obvious. I’m drawn to movies that try to fathom the meaning of life. And this includes the corollary, which is the meaning of our death, if any exists. Those who avoid these speculations in favor of the many diversions that surround us need not read on. I assume you are not in that crowd or you wouldn’t have clicked on edbriggs.com.
I ran onto this splendid DVD by accident. I was browsing Netflix and in the mood for some music. The word “Appalachian” caught my eye. I grew up in the southern Appalachian mountains. The fact that this concert DVD is 10 years old and I had never heard of it before tips you off that I am no music critic and this is just a listener’s review.
Leaving Barstow is about people feeling and being trapped in their life situations but still trying to rise above them. Mostly it is about 18-year old Andrew, played by Kevin Sheridan who also wrote the the screenplay. Andrew is smart and promising but seems tied to his mother’s problems and doomed to live the life of an underachiever in Barstow, California. His teacher is trying to change that but literally dies while trying.
To frame my thoughts about A Song for Martin, I painfully recall taking my 90-year-old college professor father to buy a pair of pants. Dad did not believe he needed the pants, but he went along at my insistence. He took the selection into the dressing room. I stood at the door, waiting. Dad emerged with pants in hand and took me to be a salesman. He began to inform me that the store should be ashamed to charge so much for pants like these, and he was not about to buy them. I remember his confusion, something like fright, when I said that I was his son, Edward, and not a salesman. The pain and embarrassment of that moment was shared by us both.
Anyone who loves war and hates anti-war movies should avoid Joyeux Noel. Although it is not anti-war overtly, but it undermines the “us good people against them bad people” premise of wars. It tells the story of events that occurred in 1914 as German and Allied troups faced each other across their trenches on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. These are sometimes called “The Christmas Truce of 1914.”
Deep Water is a documentary that has all of the suspense of a drama. It is based on the London Sunday Times’ 1968-69 contest to sail solo around the world non-stop. No one had ever done this, although one man, Franacis Chichester, had sailed solo with an extensive stop for supplies and repairs. Nine men set out on this odyssey, which offered fame and glory in addition to a substantial cash prize. Only one of them was to finish.
Look Both Ways is easier to summarize than it is to follow when watching. After seeing it for the first time you may have an impulse to watch it again because you know you missed a lot and because there are things you’d like to try to figure out. If you liked Magnolia you will like this film. If “thought provoking” is not a good thing to say about a film and if you prefer simple entertainment, then you should pass on this one. The gist of it is summed up well in one of its lines: “Every one has to find a way to face his own death.” Almost everyone in the film is dealing with death, either in thought or in reality.
I thought about not reviewing My First Mister. I think I was a little embarrassed about liking it. The absolute worst thing I can say about a movie is that it’s “about as good as a soap opera.” Indeed, this film is a little soap operaish–just a little. It is indeed a “tear jerker”–to get that out as well. Now that I have disclaimed myself, let me tell you why I found it a worthwhile and thoughtful tale.
There is a man on my commute who walks the median of a busy intersection, holding out a paper bucket for contributions. His need is pretty obvious. He limps horribly because one of his feet points behind him. His lower leg is twisted around and it hurts to watch him walk. At least it hurts me. On the other hand, I have rarely given him money. But I have often wondered about the thoughts of my fellow commuters. Do others feel this pain?
One of my first puzzles on beginning Seducing Dr. Lewis was its location. Set in a small coastal fishing village, the place looked much like Battle Harbour, Labrador, where I have stayed and roamed with my cameras. The treeless tundra-like terrain and starkness of the tiny surrounding islands was remarkably similar. When the film was over, I searched the credits eagerly for the location. Harrington Harbour, Quebec. Close! Harrington Harbour is just below the Quebec/Labrador border and therefore down the coast from Battle Harbour. Now, of course, I want to visit Harrington Harbour. I’m reading up on in already. But I’ve digressed before even getting started.