Ballerina, or Leap!
I saw this movie on a supermarket sales rack, and when I saw it, I went through a sequence of declining steps. First I looked at it and thought That’s Dreamworks trying to be Pixar. Then I looked at it again, and realised it wasn’t Dreamworks – this is a French-and-Canada co-production made by no company I recognise, and its whole premise looks like it’s basically built to bore me to tears.
See, the schtick is about a precious little orphan girl who runs off from the orphanage to go to Paris to try and become a ballerina at the Paris Opera, and the whole thing is framed as a full-blown sports tournament, with our plucky underdog heroine trying to live up to the standards and avoid the cut while she does her best to become good enough to be part of The Opera. It’s not a challenging movie at all: Some arcs that movies normally hold back to last the whole length of a movie, but this one tends to spin them out only an act later. There’s almost only one actually genuinely evil person in it, too, and there’s this wonderful ‘you’re so tremendous’ ending that is probably like validation catnip to the target audience.
Yet as soft as this movie is, I really liked it, and part of why is that aforementioned lack of holding up tension; the story knows it has four or five major obstacles it wants to overcome, and it doesn’t feel the need to keep you anxious about one of them while it pushes the other ones, which is pretty nice. There’s a Liar Reveal twist but it’s done short, sharp, and it’s solved quickly, because this isn’t a movie full of people looking out for competitive angles and cruel jabs, but broadly speaking the cast of this movie are all just people who are really into one thing, and whether or not you can further that thing is what matters to them.
This movie also has a really nice Found Mom story angle, and it’s very sweet. If you want some #good #mom content, this movie has that, and she’s Carly Rae Jepson, who I understand is one of those celebrities other people just love to bits.
This was good! If you don’t know about Get Out, which was a breakout hit last year, nominated for Academy awards, directed by a guy who was on the Epic Rap Battles of History and a show you’ve almost certainly seen clips of on facebook especially the weed joke one or the super sweaty gif one, I have to wonder how. How did you miss that this movie exists?
Really, putting it here is really much more of a point just marking the time, a note to tell you that yeah, I’ve seen it now, if you really wanna talk to me about it?
But the thing is, what am I going to bring to this conversation? I mean there is literally less than nothing useful I can actually add to the conversation about Get Out. I thought it was really good, I liked it a lot, but it’s a horror movie, it’s a suspense thriller, it’s a Social Horror movie, it’s hard to categorise, it’s all sorts of things going on, but one of the things I do is try to connect people from a general audience to specific ideas in media studies and game making, and there is no way I’m going to do that usefully for this movie. This movie is amazing, it’s going to get taught in schools, it’s tight and it’s clever and it’s planned out well and it makes everything look super real.
You don’t need to hear me talk about Get Out, you need to find any given teacher of film-as-craft and listen to them because good god this film is doing a lot.
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call
I do tend to look at a lot of movies that are powerful magnets for controversy, and then after I’m done watching them there’s often a sort of oh is that it feeling. Sometimes that’s interesting, but it’s often just as much boring, like people getting pissy about something duped me into watching a movie that wasn’t particularly good.
But in the case of Ghostbusters: Answer The Call, I liked it, I thought the movie was good, but I just couldn’t really see anything interesting to talk about it. Like the controversy around this movie means there’s a bubble of screaming ninnies who are really mad about it and who want to make out that this movie is just the worst, but there’s the counterpoint of people who are either piece-by-piece arguing with the ninnies, or just saying ‘well it’s pretty fine, whatever.’
Now, without having seen any Ghostbuster movies, or the TV show, all I had to go on was this pretty funny movie where a bunch of comedians goof off. It was kinda interesting because it feels the most, to me, like The Blues Brothers, where the movie has all these vignettes that feel like rooms, where the cast sit around and are funny at each other for some particular reason, showing off some ability, or some gag or shtick. It’s neat!
It’s embarassing how this fun movie that makes people happy is such a lightning rod for assholes. Like, I don’t think there’s anything that interesting to talk about in here from my position, because I don’t know anything about Ghostbusters to make a really interesting contextual connection, and my specific context (cult) is just too weird to connect you to. If you’re curious, yes, living in an environment that believed in real actual ghosts means that the ads for Ghostbusters were still pretty damn scary. The problem is finding someone who does know about Ghostbusters or cares enough to become an expert about it becomes a hunt-and-peck through the world of internet criticism trying to find someone who isn’t going to start talking about White Genocide.
Anyway, this movie is just a pretty funny movie about ghost hunters dealing with skepticism and assholes with a big fun action finish, and I have a hard time imagining how anyone who isn’t predisposed to hate it is going to hate it, because why the hell would you?