by Toni McGee Causey

I don’t know about you all, but I am flattened by all of the activity from the last few weeks, and what I really want to do is goof off and go watch a good movie. I’m in the middle of creating a new voice for the WIP, which is fairly different from my previous work (this is darker, grittier, different world, no humor), and because of that, I’m interested in how others set up their worlds, hook us, and create their voice. [hmmm. Well, in part. Mostly, I just wanna be a slug in front of a big screen, but let’s pretend I made some sort of profound statement on voice here. I think the triptowhateverturkeystuff has kicked in and I’m knee deep in relatives, and I cried Uncle about a week ago. Thank you.]

Problem is, I just don’t see all that much at the theater that makes me want to bother. I’ve never been, nor will I ever be, interested in the Twilight films, much to the chagrin of several friends of mine who’ve been trying to convince me to give the books and films a try. (One friend even dragged all four books over here and piled them on my desk. Whereupon I made them into handy paperweights ’til she gave up and came and got them back.) I can’t explain why the disinterest. I’ve read plenty of other vampire books I’ve enjoyed. I’ve read plenty of YA. Dunno why the combination feels meh, but it does. (Clearly, I am not the one to go by regarding what will work, though, because holy box office, Batman, that did well. Thank you, young female audiences. Hi, Hollywood, hope you’re taking notes… females can rock the box office.)

The last thing we saw was last weekend: The Blind Side. (Desperation to get out of the house drove us there. It was… okay. Maybe meh tilting toward not bad.) I actually expected more depth to the story, more confrontation with the aspects of Michael Oher’s tragic upbringing, and while that’s shown, there’s a glossing over that frustrated me, as a viewer.

I honestly can’t say I’ve seen anything extraordinary, lately. I’m curious about Precious and it’s probably up next. I’d tried a couple of romantic comedies this summer (The Proposal, which was funny up until the point where it was a complete rip off of While You Were Sleeping, to the point of staging and everthing and that sucked the life out of that ending for me. We also saw The Ugly Truth, which was, indeed, Ugly. If you set aside all taste and moral compass, it had its funny moments. I so want to like Gerard Butler in a film.)

There have been entire months–multiple months at a stretch–where my husband and I will look at the multiplexes and feel completely left out of any thoughts regarding what we’d like. And we’ll go see a huge variety, so you’d think it wouldn’t be that difficult to find something. [Having been a screenwriter for seven years, I grasp how all of this comes about, but still… it’s disappointing to truly want to go to movies, to have the time and money, and repeatedly have nothing worth bothering over.]

There are a couple of movies I’m looking forward to. One is Cameron’s Avatar:

And another one is Rob Marshall’s Nine:

Jim Sherridan’s Brothers looks noteworthy:


But overall… that’s pretty slim pickings. I may have missed something coming out soon, though, so if you have some suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Meanwhile, what’s a great / decent / worth going to film you’ve seen in the theater lately? And I’m all over Netflix and have a few good ones in my queue, but I’d love to see your favorites in a list.



25 thoughts on “movies

  1. Sara J. Henry

    Toni, if you want to like Gerard Butler in a film, rent Dear Frankie – it’s lovely. Yes, I’ve suffered through some awful films because I so like him – my introduction to him was the entire three-hour TV movie Attila a friend got through Netflix. But even I didn’t tackle The Ugly Truth.

  2. Alafair Burke

    I’ve also seen only duds recently: Men Who Stare at Goats, 2012. Where the Wild Things Are wasn’t quite a dud, but just didn’t connect (at least not with me).

    I’m looking forward to It’s Complicated (despite the awful title), Up in the Air, and Nine. Meanwhile, on the Netflix cue, we’ve been sitting on copies of I’ve Always Loved You and a movie called Yale/Harvard for about three months.

  3. Chris

    My wife and I went and saw Fantastic Mr. Fox and absolutely loved it. My wife even said she’d like to see it again when it comes out on DVD, and she never, I mean NEVER, says that. I’m the multiple-watcher in our house. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. We had a great time when we went.

    Beyond that, we’re waiting for The Road to reach our town, but I can’t recommend it since I haven’t seen it. It’s been a pretty dry couple months for us movie-wise as well.

  4. Alli

    I have a couple of young kids so getting to the movies is a big treat and I feel like you, Toni – I haven’t seen much that has warrented the effort. In regards to DVD’s I can highly recommend:

    NINE QUEENS – Argentine heist movie which has some brilliant twists and wonderful characters
    THE CLOSE – French comedy which is downright hysterical

    That’s about it for now. As you can see, I’m going through a foreign film fix right now – so if anyone can add to the list, I’d love suggestions!

  5. PK the Bookeemonster

    The new Sherlock Holmes movie is something I’ll probably go to — I’ve got several movie passes to use up by the end of year. I’m not a big Holmes fan (sacrilege!) but I do admire Robert Downey, Jr. And I will also go see Avatar.

    Otherwise, so little. Maybe in the bigger cities they get the independent films that may be worth it but we don’t get those here in Montana. Because of my illness this summer, I didn’t get to see the new Harry Potter and Julie and Julia but even on DVD the pickings are slim.

    Isn’t it sad — and I mean pathetic and stupid — how the film industry has killed its own audience?

  6. Becky LeJeune

    I’m a big moviegoer and have my running list of movies I’m looking forward to. We (meaning I) did see New Moon. I also saw Ninja Assassin, which was surprisingly not bad — I was waiting to see The Road and it was the only other option as far as I was concerned. The Road, btw, is a total downer, but I thought it was pretty good.

    I’m waiting on Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Daybreakers, The Book of Eli, Legion, Wolfman, and The Crazies. And that takes me up to March at least.

    On DVD, we’re working our way through Battlestar Galactica. I was opposed at first, but am really enjoying it now. I’m also waiting for the UK Life on Mars series. As for movies, up through October I was renting horror for Halloween. Most of them were total flubs, but The Children was really good, as was Cold Prey (a Scandinavian slasher film).

  7. JD Rhoades

    I’ll second the recommendation for NINE QUEENS. Great film. We haven’t seen much stuff in the theaters lately…I think the last one was DISTRICT 9, which was really good. On DVD we’ve been working our way through BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and the British series LIFE ON MARS, which I definitely recommend. Saw DOUBT the other week, which was surprisingly meh, given the talent involved. NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST was a fun little movie with a great soundtrack. STAR TREK’S out on DVD, and we’ve now watched it twice. It had its great moments among all of the absurdities (don’t get me started on what a Mickey Mouse outfit this version of Starfleet is).

  8. Becky LeJeune

    I loved the new Star Trek. The guy who plays Kirk, Chris Pine, was in a horror movie earlier this year that was pretty good as well, Carriers. And the new Terminator is due out on dvd this week — I didn’t like Bale’s Connor, but both Sam Worthington (also in Avatar) and Anton Yelchin (also in Star Trek) do a great job with their respective characters.

  9. toni mcgee causey

    Sara, I will definitely be getting that one. (I survived PS, I Love You.) The only film I’ve seen that Gerard Butler was in that I actually enjoyed in a popcorn, don’t look too closely at most of the logic kind of way was Timeline. (From the Michael Chriton book.)

    Alafair, I appreciate you telling about Goats and 2012… Goats looked like it could have been a really funny movie, but there was just no buzz around it, no real marketing, as if they kinda hoped to squeak in under the radar. And I don’t know about anyone else, but with the economy melting down and still on very wobbly legs, I don’t want to see a disaster movie where everyone but the plucky hero and his kids are all doomed. I’d forgotten about It’s Complicated… I saw a trailer for that during Julie and Julia (which I did enjoy) and thought I’d give it a try. I like Meryl Streep, though I couldn’t bring myself to sit through Doubt. Or Mama Mia, for that matter. But I will rewatch The Devil Wears Prada just because she looks like she’s having so much fun.

    Chris, I hadn’t even heard of Fantastic Mr. Fox — now you have me very curious. I’ll have to get that one on DVD.

    Alli, I’m adding those to my list. Just the way you’re talking about them makes me want to see them, so thank you!

    PK — Sherlock Holmes! I can’t believe I forgot that one in my list above because I’m actually looking forward to it, if only because of Robert Downey, Jr. (Now there is a comeback story that’s been slow and steady and I may be naive, but I hope it’s real and that he continues the run of good choices he’s made recently.) I like him as an actor–and he’s one of those actors like Johnny Depp who seems to really be the character and I forget the other stuff he’s been in when I see him.

    (Speaking of Depp, Alice in Wonderland will be out in March. The effects and costumes seen thus far look fantastic.)

    Geez, Becky, I had not heard of half of your list there in the middle. (Clearly, I am woefully behind.) Going to go Google them now.

    As for BG, I really liked it alllll the way up until a certain reveal during the very last season, and then I thought, "this? This person? This is who the big secret thing is? Seriously? You’re just messing with me, right? You’re gonna reveal someone smarter… no? No. Really? C’MON." And then I quit watching. I was that annoyed. (Of course, someone will probably pop up and tell me that the person I’m referring to was a red herring and I missed a really great season finale, and I am willing to be corrected… but sadly, I don’t think that’ll happen.)

    As for DVD series, I just went through four seasons of The Wire and have one more left. (I think. There were five, right?)

    Louise, I’m cracking up. Yep, looks pretty grim. They should probably sell some anti-depressants in the concession stand for that one.

    Dusty, I love Buffy. When I first caught up with the show, it had been on a couple of years and I thought it was a really silly thing for there to be so much fuss over, ’til I started watching it. Joss is a genius. (I, however, pretend that the character of Riley and that sixth season just never existed. I wonder how amazing that show could have been if Marti Noxon had not taken over as show runner.)

    I enjoyed Star Trek. (I have completely ignored the Mickey Mouse nature of the fleet for years.) I thought JJ Abrams did a great job re-setting the timeline and changing everything we know about the universe as a given, and by doing so, allowed himself or others to continue to recreate the franchise. That’s smart story-telling. It delivered on what the ST world should be about–and I thought most of the actors acquitted themselves well.

  10. Allison Brennan

    HOLMES all the way! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this movie since I first saw the trailer months ago over at I might even go see it Christmas evening since the little kids will likely crash early. But probably the next day since I’ll likely crash early. But it’s the only movie I’m really looking forward to, though AVATAR is on the list. I saw the preview of NINE and it did not impress me because I couldn’t tell what the story was about. Maybe it’s too artsy and goes over this commercial girl’s head. :/

    I saw THE BLIND SIDE with the girls on Friday and we all enjoyed it. It was a feel-good movie to be sure, but it was uplifting and I really didn’t want a long, angsty movie. I wish I’d bought my son (8) who plays football and has some of the same qualities as S.J. 🙂 I was impressed with Sandra Bullock. With her it’s hit or miss–when she’s on, she’s REALLY on, when she’s not it’s painful. I loved her in this role.

    Dusty, I’m watching BUFFY with my two oldest (when we have time!) and we’re halfway through Season Four. It’s gotten a little light this season–it was darker in seasons two and three while still being humorous, and we liked those better, but we’re giving it a chance.

  11. Mark Terry

    Well, we rented two movies that surprised us. First, STATE OF PLAY with Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren et al. A thinking thriller that held up pretty well.

    Secondly, we rented RUN, FAT BOY, RUN starring Simon Pegg and surprised ourselves by liking it quite a bit. It’s a comedy, maybe even a romantic comedy, and because it’s a romantic comedy I suppose it’s fairly formulaic, but I thought the trip from A to Z had more than a few laughs, and there were a lot of things in the movie that resonated for me.

  12. JT Ellison

    Movies I’ve loved this year include New Moon (whew – all those half-naked boys, it’s nice to finally have a movie for girls to drool in) Star Trek, State of Play. It’s been slim pickings, your’e right. We have Betrayal, Doubt and The Fountain from Netflix right now. I;m really psyched for Avatar, that looks spectacular. Yes, I’m an action flick kind of girl.

    Toni – you, me, phone, this week. It WILL happen.

  13. toni mcgee causey

    I missed the LEGION film reference… Angels with guns? Okay, I am definitely intrigued. I think THE BLIND SIDE suffered from everything being too neat. There’s a POV problem there that I’d have liked to dig into–I’d really like more understanding about how having Michael Oher at her house changed the lead character. She didn’t really seem changed, as she says she is. She held in the emotions (which was well-played by Bullock), but I wanted to know the "and then what" at the end of the film. What did her experience with having Michael do for her perspective on the world? Did it change how she felt about that house? Those friends? Her goals? What charities she worked for and/or how much she donated? I felt like the film ended with the Hallmark version of the story and I wanted at least one step more. (And also, I am a bit cranky, so maybe that influenced how I felt about it.)

    We liked STATE OF PLAY, but it referenced a lot of ENEMY OF THE STATE, which in turn had referenced CONVERSATIONS, and of the three, the middle one had the best pacing.

    Mark, now I’m going to have to put RUN, FAT BOY, RUN on my list. You’ve made me curious.

  14. Catherine Shipton

    I’m hopeless at recommending good movies. There is a reason I read as much as I do…beyond the love of reading.

    I am re-working my way through the Supernatural series on DVD though. Mostly a hoot, and the boy/men are pretty, with occasional visits to darkness, and a whole lotta urban mythology thrown in and swished about.

    I am looking forward to Sherlock Holmes too. Looking at some of the trailers I think Robert Downey Jr will bring something decidely different to the story.

  15. toni mcgee causey

    A, I have to add, the SJ kid stole the movie. Seriously smart little actor, made you love him, the family and Michael all in one fell swoop. The work out sessions were worth the price of admission to the film.

    JT. You’re on! 😉

  16. Nan Brown

    I loved some of the movies you’ve suggested and I can’t wait to see Avatar and a few of the others but I don’t think anyone mentioned The Lovely Bones. I read the book and absolutely loved it so I’m really hoping the movie does it justice.

  17. Allison Brennan

    Catherine, I love SUPERNATURAL and have all the seasons on my Apple TV. Most that I download I watch and delete, but I’ve kept those and can’t bare to part with them!!!! They’ve played on all the urban myths as you’ve said and created some of their own. It’s a smart, fun show with two sexy guys. Too old for my daughters, too young for me. Sigh. But fun to watch for all of us!! 🙂 The only frustrating thing is that I had already sold my seven deadly sins series when they had the "Seven Deadly Sins" episode (fortunately, totally different) and the angels called Sam and Dean "vessels" for Lucifer and Michael after my book was already in production and my coven called their sacrifice a "vessel" for the demons they summoned to be stored. I think I read the reference in one or more of the 40+ mythology/demon/religious books I’ve read over the last couple years.


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