It's wonderful to be home; as far as I'm concerned, half the joy of vacation is the being glad to be back. This despite the moldering Christmas decorations everywhere around here. So that will be priority one today: De-Xmasing. Right after I quit lollygagging on this here blog entry.
Satan and I, of course, immediately delved into the yummy pile of Netfix movies the postman faithfully delivered in our absence. Last night was quite a surprise, actually.
First up: Lady in the Water, (noise on the link) M. Night Shyamalan's highly anticipated, then largely dismissed, fable that actually began as a bedtime story he invented for his children. Rated at a paultry two stars at Netflix, both Satan and I were surprised to be utterly charmed by this film. I, especially, was skeptical having been utterly unimpressed with The Village after totally loving Signs, The Sixth Sense, and pretty much liking Unbreakable.
LITW is essentially a fairy tale set in an apartment complex in, of all places, Philadelphia, and centers on the resident apartment manager, Cleveland Heep, a stuttering loner played brilliantly by Paul Giamatti. The apartment building Cleveland manages is filled with a cast of characters of all races and creeds: behind each nondescript, identical door lies a different peculiar, colorful world specific to the inhabitant(s). The five-story building surrounds a courtyard on three sides inside which is the swimming pool that contains the infamous water. The other worldly lady in the water herself is played by Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron (Opie).
While the movie aspires to be on a level with the likes of Princess Bride, and doesn't make it that far, Night knows how to tell a story, and the film is at turns, funny, magical and moving. One simply cannot help but sympathize with Cleveland Heep. Is every plot point tied up in a perfect bow? No, but the story is well told enough to allow the viewer to suspend disbelief and the characters are likeable enough to make you want to. Best of all, the movie is appropriate for everyone (and may even be rated G). I recommend it for the young and the young at heart. Which is, hopefully, all of us.
And so we went from the sublime to the traumatizing. We then took in America: Freedom to Fascism. This shockumentary film, from Aaron Russo, producer of "The Rose" and "Trading Places", is riveting. According to Russo (and others), there is literally no law that requires Americans to pay income tax. Yah, read THAT sentence again. It is an idea so intriguing, to me at least, that it alone was worth my time.
But the movie doesn't stop there. I challenge you, if you watch no other movies this year, to watch this one (hit the link and watch the trailers, at least).
If I had it to do over again, though, I'd watch them in reverse order. After Russo's movie, I was desperately in need of a hopeful bedtime story.