Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuff those Socks with Cinema Delights

The aftermath of owning a mom and pop edited video store for five years is, well, being a movie buff first. Owning waaay too many DVDs, second. Thirdly, appreciating those gems that rise above the formulaic Hollywood recipe. For The Mister of the House and me, we currently ride high on documentaries. Outside of docs, my preferred genre of film are (is?) dramedies. If you can reconcile yourself with at least three items above, you need to watch these flicks now.

I'm always up for recommendations, so leave a comment on your faves this year. By the way, some of these flicks are a year or two old, but hopefully new to you. The list, in no particular order:

  • Uno. HBO mini-series on 3 discs John Adams. Based on the book with the same title by David McCulloch. Paul Giamatti, you are a stud. John Adams, I might love you most for your passionate respect for your wife, but I think it pales against your respectful sacrifice for our country.

  • Dos. After growing 3 rows of corn in my garden this year, I couldn't help but be fascinated by a couple of college grads out of Boston who stopped to scratch the surface on this scientific fact: more than half of their DNA was imprinted by corn! Errr? Irony one: the 2 blokes had distant relatives in the cornbelt in Iowa (a heart-warming sidestory to this documentary). Irony two: their corn-infused diet didn't necessarily come from the garden. King Corn is the name, and when I went to my local Hastings Book and Video, they informed me it was no longer being distributed. For now, you can still find it on Amazon (to buy) or Netflix (to rent).

  • Tres. This summer I had a girls night out with the Olsen Aunties. I looved the look on the face of The Mister of the House when I came home and he asked me...Soooo, what dumb chick flick did you go to? The answer: Son of Rambow. It's got a compelling coming-of-age story without being perverse, along with some sweet awesome eighties reminiscing going on. Remember parachute pants? The Cure? Teased wavy bangs that were gloriously highlighted with blonde ambition? on boys? That was just a bonus to this film, which must be...must have been, based on someone's true story.

  • Quatro. This documentary surprised me by its blatant ordinariness. A documentary filmmaker by profession, who makes wedding videos on "the side" to supplement his income (which by the way, had horrible picture quality and sound...go figure), decides to point the camera on his parents around their 50 year mark of togetherness. And then the ordinary of this film flowers into mystery, tragedy, and sweet memory. It's his home address, and it's called 51 Birch Street.

  • Cinco. True Story: Mrs. Olsen has had a looong day with the kids, and by the time six rolls around she has a splitting headache. The Mister of the House comes home and rescues fair maiden by letting her take off, by herself....out on the town. She finds herself alone, at the big screen, watching Ghost Town. Laughs out loud (it happens), by herself (not common), several times (rare). Is amazed at the end of the movie, that her headache is gone. And for that simple reason, this flick is going on the list. Laugher really is the best medicine. :( since this isn't on DVD till Dec. 28.

  • Seis. Having birthed 3 babies all with midwives, one at home, two at the hospital...let's just say I couldn't get enough of the documentary The Business of Being Born. Excellent history on the evolution of childbirth, as well as the empowerment, miseducation, and enlightenment of women. While I didn't agree with 100% of the film, I appreciated the inquisition and open-mindedness regarding this most significant rite of passage for women everywhere. Also, please note there is real-live childbirth going on in the film, so be prepared. Oh yes, and Ricki Lake is giving birth in this film, so be prepared. And to the doctors in my family (Derek and Jared) you know I love ya!

  • Siete. Please get past the stigma of Japanese animation (thanks to Pokemon and square-mouthed flying warriors everywhere) and love this film from Studio Ghibli. Kids will adore the daring dive the main character makes into cat-world, and adults will get an imagination fix that they have been lacking since Middle School. The Cat Returns is a happy, family film that Mrs. Olsen is willing to watch while folding laundry, while kids are at school. It's that good.

  • Ocho. When Steve Wiebe loses his job, he spends his down-time regaining his sense of accomplishment by mastering the classic 80's video game Donkey Kong. Through his wife's patient eyerolling through his career transition, Steve accomplishes the unexpected challenge of being the world-record high scorer for Donkey Kong....if only he can unseat the decades long record holder, spicy chicken connoisseur, and soft-brushed mullet stud Ricky Mitchell. View the ultimate challenge in the documentary King of Kong.

King of Kong trailer
Uploaded by Picturehouse

  • Nueve. Amazing fact I learned from this next documentary: One gallon of gas is equal to 500 hours of human work output. Anyone who has driven to Grandma's cabin in the woods, and then gotten stuck, gets a cold hard testament to the wonders of oil and it's energy output. It's no wonder the absolute industry, affluence, and progress that have been gained in the last century. A Crude Awakening examines these wonders along with theories of peak oil, the intricacies of world economy, and the alarming what-if's that could be just a few years away. If your Republican sensibilities are cringing right now, please know this is not a "treehugger" film. It's comprehension comes from advisors to the Bush Administration, world economists (outside of US politics), along with doomsday forecasters estimating apocalyptic proportions.


The Better Business Blog said...


Where is King of Kong!?

Mrs. Olsen said...

BBB, you are right. I amended my list and added 2 more (one of which is King of Kong).

earwaxtasteslikecrayons said...

I am feeling pretty out of it right now. I've heard of King Corn, The Son of Rambow, and King of Kong--but I haven't seen any of them. I'll definitely be putting some of them in my Netflix queue.

My favorite movie of this year (although it might have been from last year) is "Life According to Dan." Great writing + great acting = a fabulous cinematic experience.


Mrs. Olsen said...

Wendy, Don't worry if your pick is old. This is my "watched in 2008 List", since I just discover The Cat Returns is a 2002 flick. Oops.

And are you talking about "Dan in Real Life" with Steve Carell? If so, I really enjoyed that flicks as well.

Kristen said...

I've only seen half of those picks. I've got to catch up. One of my favorite "watched in 2008" picks is La Vie En Rose (I'm sure I butchered the spelling). Excellent film. Thanks for list. I'll add them to my Netflix list.

Jenny said...

I've only seen a few of those- will have to check them out!

I'm not sure if these are actually from this year but I loved Stranger Than Fiction and Lars and The Real Girl.

Lee Family said...

I'm glad you added King of Kong. We loved it so much we made a trip to FunSpot in New Hampshire. I wish I could meet Billy Mitchell and reach out and touch his fine hair.

Okay, my movie recommendation is Mall Cop. I haven't seen it yet and it's probably not a "seen in 2008" pick BUT it was filmed in the mall by my house AND I saw a preview and laughed my butt off. I like that guy - don't know his name - King of Queens guy. He is FUNnY.

I'm excited to see these movies sis . . . so why don't you come over and we'll watch them together okay?