I hate to admit that I was a big time movie buff while I was in school. And, I love to confess now, that I still am! Let’s say, while I was growing, I was far more interested in figuring out – How on earth did Craig Schwartz find his way into the head of John Malkovich (I watched the movie – Being John Malkovich twice to understand the concept of mind portals!) rather than, indulging in Shakespeare’s theatrical lines on how Shylock was outwitted by Portia, after the former demanded a pound of flesh from Antonio! Not that, I did not enjoy the play – Merchant of Venice (It was one of the sub parts of English II in my Xth grade) but just that, I enjoyed the sizzling chemistry between Annette and Valmont (Cruel Intentions), more! Now, if you are getting ambushed by the weird analogies I am throwing at you, I might as well just stop and put it in simple words – My love for English partly came from watching Hollywood flicks. (The other part was induced by the amazing teachers I have had in my school) I think I must have watched Terminator 2, ET, Baby’s Day out, Sound of Music, Total Recall, Chain Reaction, Commando and many more, a hundred times! Being a religious fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was in awe of his strength as he upturned a car in the movie Commando, as if it were some toy! Sylvester was a second choice for me even though his looks beat Arnold’s. At the time, I also loved watching many teen flicks like Mean girls, Confessions of a drama queen, Poison Ivy series et al. Let’s say I did not have a particular taste when it came to Hollywood flicks. Intelligent, creative, idiotic, confusing, dumb, I loved watching them all! As I look back on my growing years, a considerable amount of my personality has been molded subconsciously by the movies I have watched.
Comedy, horror, zombie, slasher, action, thriller – I have at least watched one or more movies belonging to all genres. For a long time though, thriller and zombie movies reigned as my favorites. After watching Resident Evil (Part 1), I was totally in awe of the character – Alice (Milla Zovovich – She was phenomenal in Joan of Arc too) and, I often wondered back then, should something like that happen – say, a virus that turns people into mindless flesh eating zombies, what would I do? It is not the gory scenes of the movie that impacted my thoughts, but the profound thought put behind the concept of such a sci-fi! Intermittently, I was also addicted to reading sci-fi stories on the Internet. Don’t ask me, why? I was always more attracted to 20000 leagues under the sea and Alice in Wonderland than towards Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Maybe, I am just obsessed with fantasies and imagination that story tellers churn out. Maybe, those fantasies give me a space to revel in the intricate worlds of sea serpents, white snakes, dwarfs, talking rabbits, disappearing cats, Siamese racoons and what not! Maybe, it just gave me a way out from the grim realities of the real world that was then, synonymous with semiconductor electronics and electromagnetic waves, vectors and matrices! (I spare you further jargons!). Which is why, I intend to post about the 5 random movies that came to my mind today, movies that I still carry along in my head –
Terminator 2: The Judgment Day (1991)
Did I repeat that I have been an ardent Arnold fan since ‘I don’t know when!’? Oh yes! That physique he sported was apt for the characters he had played all along. He was quite the pertinent choice for the roles that demanded a lot of action and less drama. I loved him in Commando, Kindergarten Cop, Predator, Conan: The Barbarian, Red Sonja, True Lies… (well, the list is endless!) But the movie that made an impact on me was his antagonist turned protagonist role in the movie: The Terminator 2: Judgment Day! I cannot even recount the number of times I have watched this movie. The very thought of a machine beginning to emote because of an instruction from future John Connor to protect himself in the future, felt like one marvelous concept (Well, James Cameron’s movie after all). When I watched that movie over and over again, there was this tingling thought that stayed back in my head for long- What if machines really emoted? Things could swing any which way, like the disastrous and vindictive humanoid VIKI (I, Robot) or, like the gentle Bicentennial Man? To even think about an everyday machine to act on its own, is scary. That said, I totally loved Arnold’s act in the movie. Especially those lines:
“I know now why you cry. (wipes a tear from John’s face) but, it’s something that I can never do!”
An awesome concept, an amazing story line and splendid acting! That movie indeed ticked all the boxes for me J
Mean Girls (2004)
I know, people must be wondering what! Really? And, I would say – Yes, really! This movie has made the most sense to me than any other teenage drama flick. The challenge of a home schooled girl in trying to fit in ‘the crowd’ has been beautifully showcased. Lindsay alone could do that amount of justice to the character of Cady Heron! And then, coming to think of it, every small town girl is a Cady Heron for whom the glimmer and shimmer of the elite ‘Plastics’ is like a call from the wild! And, as she tastes the seemingly charming lives of ‘The Plastics’, she slowly and steadily transforms into one, with little realization about how it all started in the first place. Eventually, she realizes how being a plastic is way too much to handle than being real. And, while she discovers her long lost individuality, she makes peace with herself and with everyone around her.
“When you get bitten by a snake, you are supposed to suck out all the poison.”
I totally loved those lines. But what I adored about the entire movie is the beautiful, comical and the emotional journey, Cady embarks on to transform from a home schooled naive girl into a feared plastic and then finally into a humbled Math geek (her real self)! The character of Regina George (played by Rachael McAdams) was equally mesmerizing. After all, not all villains on screen exude villainy in such an adorable fashion. Every dialogue in this movie has depth. Remember, Miss Norbury a.k.a Tina Fey wrote the script for the movie!
Marley and Me (2008):
Ok. I love Owen Wilson. Usually, he fits the bill when it has to be some annoying character whose sole aim in life is to be a royal pain in the neck in the lives of people he loves! Like, if you had a friend like Dupree, who would need an enemy? But then hey! Dupree was a good soul. Just that, his hard times made other’s lives harder. Perhaps, for all the trouble Owens’s unquestionably delightful characters gave Chon Wang (Shanghai Noon), Molly and Carl (You, Me and Dupree) and many more, Marley the lab totally avenged on behalf of all the troubled souls! In this movie, it felt as though Owen Wilson had switched roles with Marley. Speak of a seasoned trouble maker troubled by a pro! But then jokes aside, the beautiful relation between John Grogan (played by Owen) and Marley is that of soul mates who precisely understand why they are the way they are. I totally loved John’s dramatic monologues on the random happenings of his everyday life, with Marley goofing around! The lines from the movie that stuck with me –
“Woke up to a kiss from Marley. Went for a walk that turned into a run. Took an airboat ride. Wrote a column about the death of the ever glades. Planted an orange tree in the backyard. Threw sticks for Marley in the park. Watched him swim in the bay. Watched him steal some guys Frisbee. Bought a new Frisbee for the guy. Gave Marley a bath. Went to work with writers block. Hoping for inspiration strike. Nada.”
Marley sure knew about his phenomenal role in John’s life as a writer! It is here, I have to add that I actually cried towards the end of this movie. All those years, Marley had given a lot of love with a lot more trouble. And while he was being euthanized to put him out of his pain, John recounts how it always felt to be alive around Marley. This is a good good movie. A must watch for all, I would say J
World War Z (2013)
I have been a forever fan of Zombie movies. Watching one feels like playing a Wolfenstein 3D game! Among the zombie movies, Resident Evil was my all time favorite until I watched World War Z. Unlike in Resident Evil, in WWZ one does not come to know about the source of the horrible virus that turns people into zombies in seconds. Neither is an antivirus that could cull it. The source and the solution remain elusive in this movie and, it is this ambiguity that I liked in this movie. The sole purpose of finding the source leads Gerry Lane (played by Brad Pitt)to understand the nuances of the terrible virus is what the whole movie is all about. There is one conversation between Gerry and the young Harvard Doctor Andrew Frassbach (played by Elyes Gabel):
“Sometimes the thing you thought was the most brutal aspect of the virus turns out to be the chink in its armor. And, Mother Nature loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.”
Yet another interesting line from the movie is delivered by the Mossad agent Jurgen Warmbrunn:
Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.
I also totally loved the steely character of the IDF officer Segen (played by Daniella Kertesz). It is her emotional moment on her amputated arm that leads Gerry right to the trick of defeating the un-dead. This was perhaps, the best zombie movie I have watched until now.
By now, you do know how much I love Sci-Fi. This was apparently the latest I watched and, it stayed with me for quite a long time. Every character in the movie was a delight to watch. Scarlet Johansson as Lucy is back with a bang! Her acting in this movie has been extraordinary. The story of a 20 something student (Lucy) tricked into becoming a drug mule carrying a pouch of a ‘new drug’ takes a dangerous turn when she is kicked in the stomach, in turn releasing massive amounts of the drug into her system. Meanwhile, in some corner of the world in Europe, Professor Samuel Norman (played by Morgan Freeman) is explaining about the enormous capacity of the brain and, how once expanded it can lead to controlling internal and external matter. He makes interesting points about evolution with the example of dolphins –
“Now let’s discuss a special case. The only living being that uses its brain better than us; the dolphin. It is estimated that this incredible animal uses up to twenty percent of its cerebral capacity. In particular, this allows it to have an echo location system that is more efficient than any Sonar invented by mankind. But the dolphin did not invent the Sonar, it developed it naturally. And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today. Can we therefore conclude that humans are concerned more with having than being?”
The question surely makes one think about the way humans have evolved since time immemorial. Proff. Norman further makes a crucial point in these lines –
“For primitive beings like us, life seems to have only one single purpose: gaining time. And it is going through time, seems to be also the only real purpose of each of the cell in our bodies. To achieve that end, the mass of the cells that make up earthworms and human beings, has only two solutions. Be immortal, or to reproduce. If its habitat is not sufficiently favorable or nurturing…the cell will chose immortality. In other words, self-sufficiency and self-management. On the other hand, if the habitat is favorable… they will choose to reproduce. That way, when they die, they hand down essential information and knowledge to the next cell, which hands it down to the next cell and so on. Thus, knowledge and learning are handed down, through time.”
Nothing possibly explains the concept of evolution of life and the revolution man has brought in it, better! The whole movie is about bringing Science and Spirituality on the same plane at a point, where they almost touch each other. The technical aspects of movie are bizarre and seem quite mind-boggling. However, the concept itself is not entirely unbelievable.
After all, Proff Norman puts it brilliantly in the movie – “There are more connections in the human body than there are stars in the galaxy. We possess a gigantic network of information to which we have almost no access.”
There are many more movies that have intrigued me to no end. Would write about them as and when I get time. Signing off for now! Until then, ciao!