DVD Reviews of: 500 Days of Summer, World's Greatest Dad, and UP
500 Days of Summer - ****
Review: I had heard many good things about this movie, but wasn't sure what to expect from it. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. This movie quickly climbed into my top five favorite from 2009. The movie was made in an ingenious fashion switching back and forth between days within the "500" billed in the title.
The movie centers around the main character (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his relationship with the "girl of his dreams" Summer, and how that relationship changes over the course of 500 days. He goes from intrigue to infatuation to love to hate and back again all in the course of this 500 days.
What makes the movie so good is how convincing and real the characters are. I think everyone has had a situation where they dated
or really liked someone and it didn't work out, and this movie really nails that feeling perfectly. The characters were easy to identify with and made the movie more real and enjoyable. Definitely worth your time.
World's Greatest Dad - ***
Again, another movie I heard a lot of good stuff about but wasn't sure what to expect. The movie centers around Robin Williams and his relationship with his son, who is a sex addict of sorts and all he can think about is sex and pleasuring himself. His son tried to enhance his self pleasure by choking himself which leads to his untimely death.
Robin Williams finds his son in this state, and after a very well acted emotional scene, he decides to rearrange his son and the room so it looks like a suicide and not the actual death he had. Williams even goes as far as to write a fake suicide letter for his son. Inevitably, the suicide letter goes public and his son's classmates become inspired by this kid that they never really cared about before. This then leads to Robin Williams becoming famous (which is what he's always wanted as he aspired to be a writer). The only caveat to his fame is if he can keep the secret that the words his son wrote that were so inspirational were actually his.
This is what fuels the movie and leads to the very poignant message which is that you need to find what makes you happy and the people that make you happy and surround yourself with them. People have flaws but the ones who don't appear to have any, usually have the most and the people who seem to have the most glaring flaws usually have the best traits to balance them out and ultimately, all you need are good people around you who appreciate you for you and you can be happy.
UP - ****
I actually saw this movie a while back but realized that I never wrote a review for it. This instantly jumped up to being my second favorite movie of the year (behind Inglorious Basterds). I knew coming from Pixar this movie was going to be good and was not going to be your standard Disney fair. I was absolutely right.
This was not your "cutesy" animated movie, this was a legitimate movie in every sense of the word, and one of the best I have seen this year.
The movie centers around an old man whose wife has recently died. When she was alive their dream as a couple was to follow their favorite explorer and live on the top of a waterfall. After her death and after he has been forced to live in a home for the elderly, this man decides to make him and his wife's dream come true, ties hundreds of balloons to his house and lifts off in an attempt to arrive at their planned destination. What he didn't plan on was a little boy stowing away on his house by accident.
The movie then details the trip to the waterfall with the young child in tow. Across this journey the crotchety old man learns a lot about his life, what his wife would truly want, and what he needs to do with his remaining years. The story is very powerful and the script is well written. There are times where humor is brought in to the story but it never slips down that slippery slope to childish. Through his journey to fulfill his dream that he had with his wife, this old man learns that dreams aren't always what they are cracked up to be. Dreams are good to have, but when they consume you and cloud what is right in front of you, dreams mean nothing. The characters in the movie are constantly searching for adventure in their lives thinking that that will fill the void they have and that will make them complete. What they learn through their experiences is that adventure is not what they are seeking, rather, people to adventure with is what they are after. It is not about what they can find but the journey along the way and who the journey is with. Everybody needs a fellow adventurer and that is what makes life important, not the journey, but who the journey is with. This was an exceptionally well done movie and I am hoping with this and the recent success of movies like "9" and "Avatar" that animation will finally be accepted as a true art form and not just for the kids.