12 Films of Christmas 2020 (Part 11)

Only one more of these left after today. THANK GOD. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing for you guys. But writing for 12 days straight is a bit draining. So when this is over I’m gonna take a few days off. But until then, let’s talk about the penultimate movie for this series.

So for today we’re talking about a brand new movie (oh my god). That movie is “Happiest Season”, a christmas dramedy about Harper (Mackenzie Davis), a young woman who is bringing her girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) along for christmas with the family… except they don’t know that Harper isn’t gay, so the pair have to keep it a bit of a secret until Harper feels ready to come out of the proverbial closest. Cue the sneaking around, misunderstandings, emotional baggage, and personal demons. While I wouldn’t say that “Happiest Season” is the best movie I’ve seen this year, I still think it’s really solid. It handles its subject matter with a fair bit of tact, giving us a pretty nuanced take on this premise. While the movie primarily acts as a comedy, it isn’t afraid to get a bit more serious, really letting us sit with the characters and their emotions for a bit. And while I do think it gets the balance of comedy and drama down quite well, it doesn’t always hold up perfectly in that regard. When you have serious contemplations about the nature of your relationship one minute and awkward slapstick the next, it can get slightly jarring. It’s not enough to ruin the movie, but it did take me out for a sec.
Also, I just have to go off on one thing for a second. Dan Levy. Dan god damn Levy. This guy is gutbustingly funny. Any time (bar one more serious part) he was on screen he made me absolutely lose it. The rest of the cast is great too, there’s not a weak link in that department… but Levy is definitely the MVP here.
So in conclusion, “Happiest Season” may not be perfect, but it’s still a really solid holiday dramedy that both made me laugh, and made me care about these characters. I’d happily watch it again next year.

On the eleventh day of christmas, I watched something gay
And hey guess what, it was truly quite good, yay

Movie Review: Into the Wild (2007)

into_the_wild_by_e_pa3

Have you ever felt like going out on an adventure? And I don’t simply mean going for a walk in the woods, but a real adventure where you travel far, beat obstacles, and just kind of “find yourself”. I know I have. Not often since I’m a very lazy individual, but the thought has definitely crossed my mind.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen, will you please journey with me… “Into the Wild”!

Everything seems to look bright for young Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). He has a loving family, he has a decent amount of money to his name, and he just graduated from Emory University. His future sure looks bright and full of opportunities. But then he decides to give most of his money to charity and then leave his life behind to go and live in the Alaskan wilderness. The plot jumps back and forth between his life in the Alaskan wilderness and his journey to get there. And how is the plot in the movie holding up? Pretty damn well. It’s an interesting tale, told in a very serious and honest way that just makes it all feel so real. As I was watching the movie, I got really sucked into it and almost  forgot that I was watching a movie. Yeah, I was impressed.

The people in this movie are all infiinitely interesting even though most of them get pretty limited screen time. Of course we have the character of Christopher who gets a lot of screen time, because it’s his movie. We really get to see how he evolves as a character, how he learns from his traveling. And Emile Hirsch knocks it out of the fucking park in his role. He is absolutely fantastic in this movie, perfectly capturing every emotion that would be needed for this type of character. The supporting cast is pretty great too, with impressive supporting performances from people like Mustach- I mean William Hurt, Marcia Gay harden, Vince Vaughn, and Hal Holbrook. Even Kristen Stewart is in this movie for a short while, and she was fine in her role. I don’t think any of the actors did a bad job in this movie… I’d say most of them were pretty great.

The music in the movie is an interesting thing. Some parts of the original score was composed by Michael Brook and Kaki King. But then we also have a whole bunch of tracks written and performed by Eddie Vedder, singer of the band Pearl Jam. Then we also have a few other random tracks throughout from various artists/bands. But the ones we should keep attention to are Brook/King/Vedder. And what do I have to say about it? I fuckin’ love it, that’s what I have to say. It’s such an interesting choice of music for a movie, but it somehow still works pretty damn well. Honestly, this is one of the best soundtracks for a movie that I have ever heard. Sure, I had heard parts of it prior to seeing the film, but I didn’t give it a full shot until I saw it. As music overall, it is fantastic. And as film music it is just as great.

This movie was directed by Sean Penn (Yeah, THAT Sean Penn). And he does a fantastic job with the direction of the film. He makes it all seem so real, almost like a documentary in some ways. He never shies away from showing some of the less… clean parts of the journey. It never feels fake or Hollywoodized. Also, the choice to jump back and forth between Alaska and Not-Alaska never felt forced or poorly done, Penn did a great job with the direction too. Also, the writing is really good too, with a lot of thought-provoking quotes and genuinely funny lines every now-and-then. Also, we get some absolutely stunning shots of the wilderness in this movie.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #167 on the “Top 250” list. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actor (Holbrook) and Best Film Editing.

“Into the Wild” is a very inspiring film. Yes, our main character goes through a lot of tough situations throughout his journey, but somehow he always manages to inspire by getting through ’em in one way or another. The story is very well told, the characters are interesting and very well acted, the music is fantastic, and the directing is great. Time for my final score. OWOOOOO! My final score for “Into the Wild” is a 9,90/10 which of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Into the Wild” has now come to an end.

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you’re not lonely without me