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Reflections On My Netflix Queue

Warning: minor spoilers for all of the movies and shows mentioned, below; possibility of major spoilers in the comments.

X-Men 3: The Last Stand: Based on some excoriating reviews I read of X3 around the time of its release, I was expecting this to be, like, Daredevil bad. Well, it's kind of a mess, and contains a big, Brian Singer-shaped hole at its center, but doesn't do too bad of a job of wrapping up the trilogy (especially since it makes it clear that the trilogy is, in fact, at an end). Plus, there's worse ways to waste two hours than lookin' at Famke Janssen.

The Station Agent: I promised to review this film back in 2003, and never did. Now I've seen it again on DVD, and ... well, I guess I'm still not. But see it! It's great. And, if you've already seen it, hell, see it again--it's only 89 minutes. Worth it for Bobby Cannavale alone, who gives a such-a-good-actor-it-doesn't-even-seem-like-he's-acting caliber performance. The fact that everything else about the film is top notch is just gravy.

The Professional: WTF, did everyone who recommended this film to me see it when they were 11 and sugar high? Admittedly, if I had seen it in 1994 when it was in the theaters, and never again, it would almost certainly be in my personal pantheon of OMG GREATEST FILMS EVER!! But these days it just seems like the whole Hooker Hitman With a Heart of Gold thing is played out. Maybe I've been reading too much Thuglit.

Lost: Season 2: Yeah, I gotta admit--I thought this series had come off the rails, a few episodes into season 2. Bad enough that I found the hatch completely uncompelling, but it just seemed like they were going to keep launching new mysteries without ever resolving any of the old ones (kind of like (starting a bunch of parenthetical statements (without ever closing any (of the prior ones (this is driving you nuts, isn't it? I vented some of my frustration with this, about halfway through the season. But then things started looking up, when they started focusing more on the "people" mysteries (The Others) instead of the Thing mysteries (the hatch). By the finale, I was totally hooked again. ALRIGHT YOU STUPID EPIDODIC TELEVISION PROGRAM, I'LL GIVE YOU ONE MORE YEAR.

After Innocence: A documentary about people having their entire lives ruined when they are unfairly locked into a prision, and later freed after being exonerated by DNA evidence.

Jesus Camp: Actually, pretty much the same documentary as After Innocence, with religious dogma taking the place of jail. And without the part about them ever getting free.

The Descent: Horror movie about a bunch of hott spelunkers who get trapped in a cave and then have to fight off fast-moving subterannian flesh-eating mutants. Ya gotta keep an vigilant eye on your Netflix queue, lest stuff like this percolate to the top. You know the obligatory Scary Movie scene where a girl is walking around the house in her underwear and the music is super tense and then, suddenly, her cat jumps out of nowhere, yowling? Imagine that scene looped for 90 minutes and you don't have to see this. Basis for the hit TV sit-com: "The Smeagols."

P.S. )))))

Posted on July 17, 2007 to Movies


Obviously you didn't see the bonus scene at the end of the X-Men credits. They gave themselves an out.

Posted by: Keith on July 18, 2007 4:58 PM

The Station Agent is one of my all time favorites. It is a quiet movie with a big voice. I LOVE it so much, I own it.

Posted by: Karan on July 18, 2007 5:10 PM

Yeah, uhm, I purposely moved The Descent up in our queue thanks to an A from Entertainment Weekly. In other news, I'm not longer subscribed to EW.

Posted by: Tom Clancy on July 18, 2007 5:21 PM

I was going to have to hurt you if you didn't close those parentheticals.

Posted by: Mike on July 18, 2007 5:22 PM

In yet other news, preview doesn't stop me from making terrific grammatical errors. I blame pop culture "journalism".

Posted by: Tom Clancy on July 18, 2007 5:23 PM

"Basis for the hit TV sit-com: 'The Smeagols.'"

Now *that* sounds like some real TV to me :)

Posted by: Ben Cornwell on July 18, 2007 5:26 PM

Hey, I actually liked The Descent...

But I do agree with you on The Station Agent - what a brilliant film. It includes another great performance by one of my favorite actresses, Patricia Clarkson.

And you should have gone with the international version of The Professional - Leon. But if you didn't like it already, that probably won't make a difference now.

Posted by: Thom on July 18, 2007 5:27 PM

I really wish that The Descent would've been more about that blond chick's descent into madness. It would have been an awesome movie if there weren't any Gollums around, and the blond chick killed everyone but thought she was saving the day.

Posted by: effika on July 18, 2007 5:35 PM

I've got news for you, X-Men wasn't a trilogy. They wrapped up filming for the fourth installment in Vancouver last year.

The Descent is actually one of the best horror movies to come out in several years. It's British, give it a chance.

Posted by: tworabbitshow on July 18, 2007 5:56 PM

I am so ashamed to say this...I felt physically uncomfortable when you didn't close off all of your parentheseses, and that clenching in my gut released when you did.

Posted by: raych on July 18, 2007 6:33 PM

X-Men 3 was just... terrible. I'm 99% sure it was improvised. And poorly.

Posted by: Brad on July 18, 2007 7:42 PM

Ah-ha! Behold me awesome power to make everything you will ever read part of one gigantic parenthetical remark!


Posted by: John H. on July 18, 2007 8:15 PM


Posted by: Grammar Rodeo Clown on July 18, 2007 8:46 PM

When I saw you had ended the Lost section without closing the parentheses, I immediately scrolled down, assuming you would close them at the end in a post script. =D

Posted by: Iggy on July 18, 2007 8:59 PM

You know the story about how Mozart's mom supposedly got him out of bed? do re mi fa sol la ti.....

He had to get up and finish the scale. I'm so glad to see those balancing parentheses. Whew.

oh. DO!

Posted by: Jonathan Saggau on July 18, 2007 10:50 PM

Next time I see a crap TV show, I am totally yelling YOU'RE SO EPIDODIC! at it. Awesome.

Also, holy fuck man don't do that thing with the brackets again. I was too scared to count them in fear they would not add up. Now I know how recursive functions feel. I'm sorry!

Posted by: db on July 19, 2007 2:23 AM

We don't have Netflix in Canada yet, but I've been dying to see if an older film - that I remember loving - is still available. It's called The Ninth Configuration, and I thought it was brilliant, in my now-that-I'm-21-am-I-ever-deep mindset from that period. If memory serves, it's a story about an asylum for American soldiers who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

If anyone else has seen it, let me know.

Oh, and we loved The Station Agent too.

Posted by: Richard on July 19, 2007 3:57 AM

I really wish that The Descent would've been more about that blond chick's descent into madness. It would have been an awesome movie if there weren't any Gollums around, and the blond chick killed everyone but thought she was saving the day.

In that case it would be "The Hole", with Thora Birch.

Posted by: ajay on July 19, 2007 4:10 AM

I loved The Station Agent. Another fun movie is Danny Deckchair.

Posted by: sora on July 19, 2007 5:07 AM

Heh, that's pretty funny -- I'm a professional editor and I forgot about the parentheses by the end of the Lost paragraph. I think the business world has actually blunted my sensitivity...being a stickler is "too slow" and "not supportive of company goals". If I got hung up on all the things I'm not *allowed* to fix, I'd have washed out long ago!

Posted by: ambient on July 19, 2007 6:46 AM

Richard, our (Canadian) equivalent to NetFlix is Zip.ca. (There are others.)

I've just checked and they have "The Ninth Configuration.

Hope this helps.

And to all, I have been trumpeting "The Station Agent for years. Good to know there are other fans out there. I see Thomas McCarthy has a new movie about to come out that he also wrote and directed. It's called "The Visitor. Here's hoping it can come close to "The Station Agent.

Posted by: waterloo.bob on July 19, 2007 8:19 AM

I twisted my horror film-loathing gf's arm into watching Descent with me. While we both agreed that it sucked hard, it is now another finely-tuned arrow in her we-obviously-can't-trust-your-opinions-on-movies-so-Maid-In-Manhattan-it-is quiver.

Posted by: SillyMcFakypants on July 19, 2007 9:02 AM

about "the professional" (sorry i can't italicise in comments)- i think those of us who like it, do so not because of plot or the movie as entirety, because you're right, they been done to death. but natalie portman is unreasonably hot for her age and gives you that "it's so wrong" flutter in the bottom of your stomach (i'm female but all my male friends agree, surprised that i was the one to admit) and leon is strangely compelling and their chemistry's good. the movie is not so good. i still watch it every time it's on, though, although i haven't remembered the plot in a decade. and you're also right about liking it more if you saw it in 1994- everyone i know who likes it saw it 1st back then. walk good.

Posted by: sweet trini on July 19, 2007 10:21 AM

Waterloo Bob - please, please don't do that. Unended quotes are the reason I'm too terrified to read personal blogs.

Posted by: Acreed on July 19, 2007 10:22 AM

Hey effika, that's almost exactly "High Tension". It's directed by the guy who did the first remake of "The Hills Have Eyes", but less rape and more necrophilia. It's kinda French though, so if your not a subtitle fan, don't bother.

Posted by: Myself980 on July 19, 2007 10:33 AM

Of course X-Men was a trilogy. Not to say a 4th movie is going to ruin the pattern, but X-men 3 viewers found it, I hope, fairly obvious that the major cast of mutants in the first three were passing the mantle to the next generation of mutants.

Also, I had a different reaction to The Professional-- it came out amid my Gary-Oldman-is-the-baddest-of-badasses/just-got-over-Tarantino phase in college (was that last bit redundant?) and I loved this movie. Not only was it an intro to Natalie Portman (who was cute, but didn't give me that stomach-flutter described above-- and frankly even when I see her half-naked these days it feels more wrong now because I feel like I've 'known' her since she was a spindly adolescent), but to Jean Reno, who it turns out is a kickass action star on his own.

When someone says "Get everyone," to me, I still reflexively say "What do you mean, everyone?" just in case Gary Oldman is nearby to give bellow his reply. Even today, I'm looking greatly forward to the current Harry Potter movie because he's in it. See it in IMAX, folks!

Posted by: LAN3 on July 19, 2007 12:13 PM

Waterloo Bob!

Thanks for the zip.ca info.

This is gonna change my life, just like tabbed browsing!


Posted by: Richard on July 19, 2007 1:36 PM

i think you have to give the international version of The Professional a shot. the American version is a dumb action story; the international version is a totally different experience.

Posted by: yara on July 19, 2007 1:50 PM

Yeah, I disagree with your view on 'The Descent' but maybe that's because I'm a closet claustrophobic (haha...get it? oh...nevermind!) and the whole thing gave me the heebie-jeebies. Not because of the herd of Gollums but just the whole trapped-in-those-small-dark-caves and tiny spaces they had to crawl through...ugh! Also, I like to look at other aspects as well, and you have to admit the cinematography was awesome! I really felt cramped along with the actresses in some of those shots where they're in those small tight spaces. Also...it should be worth mentioning that 'The Descent' was Stephen King's favorite horror movie of 2006. Although I won't be watching it again anytime soon, I still liked it.

Posted by: Theresa on July 19, 2007 4:41 PM

I felt that same scary-movie level of tenseness (I really want to say tense-ocity) when you didn't close the parenthesis.

Thank you for resolving the matter in a much better way than the movies do.

Posted by: Allen Holman on July 20, 2007 3:43 AM

on The Professional, you must see the European release (not the American version) released under the title 'Leon'. The American version leaves out over 30 minutes because apparently our corn-fed appetites should not indulge in the Lolita themes and the training of an underaged assassin. Don't bother with the American verion. I think you can netflix the european version under the title 'Leon: The Professional'. The story makes so much more sense in the full intended version and does not feel as campy as the castrated American version.

Posted by: John on July 20, 2007 8:30 AM

I'm going to back up the others who liked The Descent. I imagine it lost a good portion of its intensity in your living room, but I was gripping hard on the arms of my chair through the whole thing in the theater. Yeah, I'm a bit claustrophobic, so that contributed. But as far as horror movies go, I thought this one was pretty well done.

Posted by: Seth on July 20, 2007 8:40 AM

The thing is (or will be : In the third season of lost the first episodes are the worst (actually the 2nd episode is IMHO the worst LOst-episode of them all), but while the season goes on the quality imporves, and in the last third or so has reached the standart LOST-quality. Some parenthisis will be closed.
Some dont...

And John is right about Leon.

Posted by: peer on July 20, 2007 6:54 PM

Have you tried the "watch it now" feature on Netflix? I've come across some great low budget life-story documentaries there that I would have never known about otherwise.

Loved the Station Agent. Still haven't gotten into Lost - it's in the queue.

Posted by: wendee on July 20, 2007 7:21 PM

i agree that you must see the european version of "the professional". i didn't see this movie when i was 14 & i'm rarely in a sugar high & i really love this movie. i really don't think any part of it is played out. this movie started my love of anything with jean reno in it.

i'm sure you knew you'd have disagreements here tho.

Posted by: candy on July 20, 2007 8:55 PM

To all commenting about the "European cut" of The Professional you need to learn a little more about the film.

The american cut is actually Bessons TRUE directors cut and is the film he stands behind more.

Posted by: akbar fazil on July 24, 2007 9:54 AM