Feb. 16th, 2012

innocent_man: (r&g)
So last night we were supposed to play Leverage, but that didn't happen, so we wound up watching Midnight in Paris instead.

I'm not generally a huge Woody Allen fan. I've only seen his more recent movies, so maybe his older stuff is better, dunno. I really enjoyed Match Point, but it was nicely dark and British and stuff. I didn't like Vicky Christie Barcelona, because I think it's absurd that anyone could make a movie with that plot and not make it sexy, even by accident.

But Midnight in Paris is about time travel. Kind of.

Owen Wilson is engaged to Rachel McAdams, and they're aren't terribly happy - he wants to be a novelist and is falling love with Paris and his notion of the golden age (the 20s), while she's vapid, privileged, and thoroughly American (seriously, if I have a complaint about the movie it's that she and her family are utterly boring human beings with nothing to recommend them - a little more depth might have been nice). Wilson goes walking a night, a bit drunk, and just after midnight gets into a vintage car with some folks he doesn't know, and winds up in the 20s.

Wait, what?

Yeah. I had no idea going in that there was any kind of magical realism going on. The description for the movie from Netflix was something like "blah blah bittersweet romantic comedy blah blah Owen Wilson blah Woody Allen." I had no particular desire to see it based on that, but it's a best picture nomination. But then watching it, suddenly Wilson (who's nicely bland as our POV character - Michelle called him the "cracker" by which we we experience the "dip" that is the other characters) is transported into the 1920s and interacting with Gertrude Stein, Earnest Hemmingway, Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody, probably my favorite of the "past" roles) and the Fitzgeralds. And Wilson doesn't bother to conceal that he's from the future, but the only time he really talks about it is with Man Ray and Dali and Bunel, and, being surrealists, they just kind of take it in stride.

The movie is really about the Golden Age fallacy, the thought that things were so much better "back then." What's interesting about that, in the context of the Best Picture noms, is that all but two are set in the past (well, strictly speaking, they all are, but The Descendants and Moneyball are set in this century, at least), and they're set in the same periods - 1910-1920s and 1950s-1960s. It's easy to think that the directors here (who are, I think, mostly Boomers) are engaging in their own kind of escapism, and so I think the lesson of Midnight in Paris - every age has its glory, and it's best to love and live the one you're in, rather than trying to relive something you never really knew - is timely.

Anyway, I recommend it. One of my top three of the Best Picture noms.

Now, what dish should I make to represent it for our menu?

Points. )


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