Thursday 20 May 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - I (Instant Family, Idiocracy)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H

Director: Sean Anders
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Merced

Synopsis via IMDB: A couple find themselves in over their heads when they foster three children.

There's something about heartfelt emotional movies that's really affecting me this year. Maybe the global situation and the accompanying social restrictions have made me more susceptible to human emotions. I mean emotions, of course. Ha ha. Humour deployed.

In short, this movie was wonderful. In slightly more detailed terms, I found Instant Family to be incredibly emotionally powerful, with great performances throughout. It made me laugh a fair bit, and even get choked up in a number of places.

One of the things that I think contributes massively to the enjoyment of this film is the performances from the younger actors. They do this wonderful job of being equal parts little shits and genuinely adorable and endearing, so you feel for them when things are bad and enjoy their triumphs. Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne do a good job as the despairing adoptive parents too, striking a good balance of sympathetic and irritating in places. This is by design, from what I can gather, although I guess that might be my read of it. There's a good supporting cast in the mix as well.

There's not much more to say on this one. I loved it, but it's not like a sci-fi movie where I can compliment the visuals, or assert that the orchestral score is top-notch in the case of a superhero movie or high fantasy epic. I think it had a few well-chosen songs in it, and the music certainly didn't offend my ears as I was listening, so that's something.

Director: Mike Judge
Stars: Luke Wilson, Maya Rudolph, Dax Shepard

Synopsis via IMDB: Private Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he's easily the most intelligent person alive.

I'm going to assume Mike Judge is reading this one. Hi Mike. I want to say upfront that, having watched a number of your TV shows and movies over the years, I feel confident with the following statement:

It's not you, I think it's me. Maybe it's other people. It's certainly not you.

I liked Idiocracy. It made me chuckle a few times. What I don't understand is the hype around it.

I felt this same sensation while watching Office Space. I found it while revisiting anything involving Beavis and Butt-Head as an adult. I've never really done King of the Hill but I'd be willing to bet I'd encounter the same feeling.

If I had to guess, I think it's the level of excitement that surrounds the films/TV series that just becomes impossible to live up to. I had this with a few things over the years. I got told "OH MY DAYS, YOU HAVEN'T SEEN _______? IT'S THE MOST AMAZING MOVIE/TV SHOW EVERRR!" I'd finally watch it and it'd be absolutely fine, but that build up is hard to come back from. Compared to the most amazing work of fiction ever devised, even the most enjoyable movie/TV enterprise isn't going to be able to measure up to expectations.

Idiocracy is a perfectly serviceable movie, but I will possibly *never* understand the magnitude of excitement that places like Reddit attach to it. I think it's become like 1984 (I almost said 'the 1984 of movies' forgetting that they made one of 1984); people use it as a means to say "look at this thing I don't like about the world - the world is becoming exactly like 1984/Idiocracy/Insert thing here. I am very intelligent and above such things." More power to you if you adore this movie, but I really cannot get my head around why it would be so beloved on that 'greatest fiction ever devised' kind of level.

Idiocracy is fine. I'm not going to tell you it's the greatest thing I've ever seen; it's not. I'm also not going to tell you it's the worst movie I've ever seen, because I've seen Birdemic if nothing else.

I (the letter, not the me) was a mixed one but generally an enjoyable time. I thought Instant Family was excellent, to the point of it probably making its way to the top echelons of the movies so far. Idiocracy probably wouldn't hit the bottom unless there's just a huge quality of movies on show. Maybe a ranking is in order once this year is said and done!

Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're a few weeks in and might have to double up to get up to speed, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

No comments:

Post a Comment