We continue to watch a lot of movies on television. It’s been a long winter and cold spring, and only recently have we gotten outside. We have had a number of hits and a number of misses. We practice “The 10 Minute Rule”: If we are not grabbed in the first 10 minutes, we go on to something else. Usually this involves that lack of characters we can like.
We dump some movies well before 10 minutes. This includes:
· Movies that start with young people crowded together, jumping up and down to loud music. How much of that can we stand to watch, and who cares about people who enjoy doing that?
· Movies that start with a couple having sex. It’s only going to go downhill from there.
· Movies that start in a submarine or crowded elevator. Kim has claustrophobia.
On to the good stuff:
The Chimp Empire (Netflix) This is not your typical National Geographic documentary. The four hour-long episodes tell a compelling story, with characters who have personalities, and the result is close to tragedy. And we could not help but wonder at what it took to film the whole thing.
Woman in Gold (Netflix) A woman works with a young lawyer to reclaim artwork stolen from her family by the Nazis. It stars Helen Mirren – what else do you need to know?
Nobody Knows I’m Here (Netflix) A number of our favorites have to do with a recluse who gets found and finds a kind of justice. This one involves a child singer who got screwed out of his career – until he is discovered.
Keeping the Bees (Netflix) Turkish film about a woman who struggles to fulfill her mother’s dying wish: to care for her beloved bee farm. This film has no car chases or people dancing to loud industrial rock.
Faraway (Netflix) Kim really loved this one. A woman inherits a home on a Croatian island, flees Germany and her unappreciative family, and starts a new life for herself. It has some very funny scenes.
Saving Lisa (Amazon) A substitute teacher, realizing that Lisa is a victim of abuse at home, takes her away to attempt to begin a new life as mother-daughter. The series explores the idea of family in some fascinating contexts.
Once (Amazon) Charming film that explores the relationship between a street musician and a young mother. Interesting take on the rom-com formula. You have to like the music – therre’s a lot of it.
Digging to China (Amazon) A touching look at the warm but difficult relationship between a young girl and a “mentally disabled” (right term?) young man – played by Kevin Bacon.
Change in the Air (Amazon) A secretive young woman named Wren moves into a quiet neighborhood, arousing curiosity. The movie explores a web of relationships with gentle humor
Johnny (Netflix) Almost didn’t make it past our “10 Minute Rule,” but we kept watching because our friend Sandy recommend it. A priest opens a hospice ward, changing the life of a thief doing community service. Better than it sounds.
Actually, most of these movies are better than I’m making them sound. What makes them work for us is the way they explore relationships – friendships, family, neighborhood, romantic, political (that’s the chimps).
Another type of movie we often dump is the kind where characters are talking too fast for us to follow, even with subtitles, and the plot is too complex. (I feel lost and confused enough in my real life, so I don’t need more in my movies.) That being said, Kim and I got hooked on The Diplomat (Netflix), which has smart people talking fast about matters I cannot understand. But we enjoyed it, until we reached the end of Season 1: a major cliffhanger and no assurance there would be a season 2. Come on!!! We are already waiting for more Yellowstone and 1923, and we’ll probably be moving characters from one series to the next as we struggle to remember what had us grabbed months ago!
This Just In: Saw and loved The Mustang (Netflix) A prison inmate works in a rehab program involving horses. Powerfully filmed and acted.