Project 101

Dan attempts to watch 101 movies in 12 months

Posts Tagged ‘2007’

#20 Dan In Real Life

Posted by Dan on January 4, 2009

dan_in_real_lifeWell, here we are, 1/5th of the way through the list! Thanks for sticking by (that is, if there are actually people reading this. If you’re reading this, you should comment! Don’t be afraid!). I think I might have to put the brakes on a little bit – I’ve gone through 20 movies and I’ve only been doing this for a month!

This is one of the movies that was on my own personal ‘must see’ list for quite a while, but not because I’m a Steve Carrell fan – I’m actually fairly impartial to him. I kinda got this feeling that he was becoming a bit typecast, and while some of the movies that he’s been in I’ve really enjoyed, I was kinda wondering when he was going to actually start acting.

Dan In Real Life is the story of Dan Burns, who writes an advice column for his local paper, and is a widower with 3 bratty daughters, as he takes them up to the grandparents house for their annual family holiday. His family is like any others – they seem nice and normal, but with Dan around, there’s always that thin layer on tension that you’re never quite sure when it’s going to break. Dan’s life isn’t really full of pleasure and his family begin to take pity on his subservient ways, especially romantically. His family is played by a fantastic ensemble cast, including Dianne Wiest as his mother, and John Mahony (the old guy from Frasier) as the father. There’s even a great job done by Dane Cook, who plays one of Dan’s brothers, Mitch, which I never saw coming!

One day, Dan makes a quick trip into town to get some supplies when he meets Marie, played by Juliette Binoche (who you might recognise from the Three Colours movie trilogy). Instantly the two hit it off, and what starts off as a quick 5 minute trip to the shops for Dan ends up a day-long impromptu ‘date’ and for once you see Dan come out of his shell and he finally looks happy. After Marie leaves to also head off to a family holiday, Dan practically floats back to the house only just maintaining to not burst out of his skin with joy. He tells the family about the girl and everyone’s esctatic for him. However while this is going on, Dan’s brother Mitch has been busy telling everyone about how nervous he is about bringing his new girlfriend to spend holidays with the family and how this girl could almost be “the one”. So when she shows up– that’s right, Mitch’s girlfriend is Marie.

It’s at this point that the movie can go either way – it can become an all-out slapstick humourous movie or can becoming incredibly saddening and depressing. Luckily, it seems to tread a thin line straight down the middle of both of these options, resulting in what is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. There are laughs there, but they’re not the usual set-em-up-and-knock-em-down jokes, and you find yourself either whincing or laughing because there is, at least for me, that sense of an air of familiarity, which is the movie’s, especially Steve Carell’s greatest asset. There’s a beautiful subtlety to every single piece of dialogue, and it’s reaction to those that hear it.

I really liked everything about this movie and is definitely one of those movies where the more you think back on it, the more you remember the bits about it that you liked. It’s a great story about love that never goes according to plan, with a great cast full of some amazing performances. It’s funny, sad and downright frustrating at all the appropriate moments and is definitely original enough to keep you wondering how the rest will pan out.

I give Dan In Real Life 4 out of 5 single parents.

“Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised”

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#15 For The Bible Tells Me So

Posted by Dan on December 26, 2008

ftbposterGiven that it’s the Christmas season, what better topic of movie to watch than a documentary about Christianity’s opposition to homosexuality!

For The Bible Tells Me So centres primarily around 5 American families, who are all very devout to their religion, but who also have a gay child. They each tell their stories about their views on homosexuality before having a child who is gay, and generally discuss the reaction towards gays and lesbians in their own community and across America as a whole. The main theme that the movie touches on is the defence by these bible bashers is that homosexuality is “an abomination towards god” and that it’s a sin, so the movie tackles this mis-interpretation of the bible and discusses with a series of academics regarding the literalism of the bible.

The two main interesting points that most people race towards when defending their hatred towards homosexuals was the point of selective reading of  The Bible. In the book of Leviticus (Chapter 18 for those of you playing along at home), which says “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination”, and then also shows examples of how newer updated version of the bible go even further with it’s condemnation. What Leviticus also points out though in just that same chapter is all sorts of other fucked up shit that you can’t do – collect firewood on a Saturday, Wear two different types of cloth at the same time, you must never shave or cut your hair, and that if you cheat on your partner, both of you must be put to death. Have you ever cursed at your mother? You deserve to die. Having sex while she’s on her period? You’re banished from the city you live in. Enjoy eating prawns? You deserve to die.

Then there’s also an interesting point made on the actual meaning of the word “abomination”. Today, something that is an “abomination” is considered wrong and horrible. But many years ago, the word “abomination” was simply a word used to describe something that wasn’t traditional or “the thing to do”. There was never any real prejudice placed on the usage of the word though.

These days, a quick google search will point out more of these so called “abominations”, so when you’re done here, I recommend having a read of some of these sites, it’s truly fascinating reading. But back to the movie…

The movie does labour on a bit, and there’s a few times I found myself thinking “yes, okay, I get the point you’re trying to make, let’s move on”, but overall, it’s an incredibly moving tale that points out not just the scary levels of hatred in these people who otherwise pride themselves on being ‘good Christians’, but also a story of understanding and almost of ‘reform’ of the opinions of these five families who while still dedicating their lives to their chosen religion, all that teach that homosexuality is wrong or a “disease”, that have discovered that their love for their own family is truly the strongest, most important bond a person can ever have.

I give this one 3 and a half Deity’s out of five.

“I can’t, for the life of me, imagine that God would say ‘I will punish you because you are black – you should have been white’, ‘I will punish you because you are a woman, you should have been a man’, ‘I punish you because you are a homosexual, you ought to have been heterosexual’, I can’t. I can’t for the life of me, believe that that’s how God sees us” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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