Genre Spotlight: Secret Santa Selections Revealed

Earlier this month we mentioned that for the Genre Spotlight we decided to do a Secret Santa amongst us Advocates. Each Advocate secretly picked a movie for another to review.  Each week we released a review that was given to us. Below is a paragraph from each Advocate on what movie they picked and why.

Week 1:

Go  – selected by Mike Cho

Most American Christmas movies, for obvious meteorological reasons, take place in New York, New England, or the Midwest.  Go takes place in L.A., which is a nice change, even if the movie itself really has nothing to do with Christmas.  I grew up and lived in L.A. until 2002 and Go, in its casting, music, locations, and style, for me really bottles the essence of L.A. life in the late 90’s (“my” L.A.), in vibe if not in actual experience (my life was never quite as dramatic as this).  Also, if you pause it just right, you can spot the exact moment when director Doug Liman thinks to himself, hmm, L.A. nightlife comedies (Swingers) are fun and all, but what I’d REALLY like to get into is action (the first Bourne movie, basically everything he’s done since).  Watch it with plenty of baby aspirin and take, like, a lot of pot with it.  That’s from the movie.  I don’t condone drug use.  Drugs are baaaaaaad.

Week 2:

Almighty Thor – selected by Mike Pampinella

I bestowed the gift of Almighty Thor to our “advocate abroad”, Paul, for mainly selfish purposes. While I am not a fan of the comic book Thor, I am a devotee of the Norse religion Odinism, and frankly Almighty Thor gets right what that Hollywood shlockfest, Thor, couldn’t.  It shows the “true” meaning of the holiday,which has been lost over the years.  It’s a time to celebrate the birth of Baldur and to hunt giant animals.  And in January we honor Thor with Thursblot, a feast which strengthens Thor’s reserves so that he might drive back the Frost Giants bringing about an early Spring, which never happens, because frankly, people just don’t believe any more. I for one plan to honor Thor, not just on Thursdays, but each and every day, because he protects Midgard from the evils of the nine realms.  Think about it people.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror – selected by Dave Bartik

Birdemic reaffirms one’s love for movies; a real-life story of a man doing whatever necessary to bring his dream to fruition. It’s not great a great film; not even close to “good” in the conventional sense. But atrocious computer graphics, choppy acting, and a schizophrenic story did not stop James Nguyen from unleashing Birdemic upon the world.  He did it all from the ground-up; a Vietnamese refugee with no formal training, storming Sundance and creating buzz from behind the wheel of a minivan. And thanks to those of us who appreciate bad movies (perhaps more than good movies), Nguyen gets to do it all over again. Expect a sequel in 2012, in 3D, of course.

Week 3:

The Fifth Element – selected by Joe Wilhelm

Truth be told, when first deciding what movie to select for our Secret Santa I was trying to think of the worst movie selection possible.  One thought was of 2003’s The Room.  Fellow Advocate Nick Woods told us of this movie time and time again and how it has been dubbed the worst movie ever made.  Like I said, it was a thought.  I decided to go the other route and select a movie that I’m fond of.  1997’s The Fifth Element instantly popped in my head.  Not a great movie but sure is a fun movie both visually and in comedy sense as well.  I love Bruce Willis in it as he gets to be his macho self but flex his comedic side as well.  Plus I always loved Gary Oldman, even with his funky hairdo.  The Fifth Element has become somewhat of a cult classic as you see people dressed as Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo at Comic-cons and Halloween.  That iconic hair color and outfit has become well-known.  Overall the film is a blast to watch and never gets old in my opinion.

MirrorMask – selected by Paul Allan Colbourne

I chose Mirrormask for my Secret Santa gift because I like to try to get people to broaden their choices in films, and maybe introduce them to something they may have missed that might really be for them. This modern dark fairytale just might find another fan being gifted in this way.  I know only one other person who has seen Mirrormask, which is somewhat of a shame. I rather like the film, though it is massively flawed. The visual style is beautiful, though the story is a little lacking in-depth, but it works for me as an attempt at a modern storytale. It may not be Jim Henson Studio’s finest work, which for me is Labyrinth, but I think they should be applauded for attempting something “outside the box” with the film.

Week 4:

Super High Me – selected by Rene Alvarado

Super High Me is a documentary that follows comedian Doug Benson as he does the oddest social experiment ever.  Benson, a big supporter of the so-called Stoner’s Movement that advocates for the legalization of marijuana, is the perfect guide as he decides to take part in what has to be the coolest social experiment ever. Inspired by Super Size Me, he decides to smoke pot every day for 30 days, nonstop.  That might sound either very stupid or very fun to you, but wait there’s more.  There’s a catch to all of this.  Before he smokes for 30 days, he has to be sober for 30 days in order to do the experiment right.  Along the way, Benson shows a side of pot culture that most people don’t see.  I love Super High Me and not just for the obvious reasons.  It’s a fun movie that shows that not all stoners are the same.  You don’t have to be a pothead to enjoy this movie.  I picked it for our Secret Santa because it’s a movie that’s different and has a heart, like me.  Cucumber, boat, wire.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – selected by Jonathan MacFarlane

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is, simply put, the funniest movie of the last 10 years. Show me a funnier one, and I will call you a liar! Unless you’re showing me Team America: World Police, I guess, because that’s a close second, and I’ll allow it. The beauty of Walk Hard, and perhaps why it wasn’t so successful at the box office, is that it is a parody of both the musical biopic genre and the music industry itself. It was compared to Walk the Line, for obvious reasons, but it also draws from Great Balls of Fire, Hee Haw, The Doors, Don’t Look Back, Yellow Submarine, Dirty Dancing, Great Balls of Fire, Ray, Beyond the Sea, and more; not to mention spoofing several famous musical personalities (Elvis, Bob Dylan, Little Richard, etc., etc.). It is eminently quotable, well-cast and acted. If you disagree you are a savage and a Philistine.  (Wrong kid died.)


Posted on December 30, 2011, in Genre Spotlight, Secret Santa and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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