Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pure Entertainment

Eileen's post yesterday about Bridesmaids had me thinking about fun movies.

This fall, after all the dark and difficult movies at TIFF -- and some that weren't dark or difficult but didn't really inspire me all that much -- I went to a few movies just for the pure fun of it.

One was Our Idiot Brother which I found adorable if forgettable... But I've loved Paul Rudd ever since Clueless so I enjoy just about any movie he stars in, even if he's cast as an irresponsible and naive stoner.

But the film that inspired this post is Real Steel. It seems as if they were showing the trailers for this film for close to a year before it came out... Which often is not a good sign... And I have to admit, it did not seem like the kind of movie I'd like. More like one Molly's son would like. But writer-friend and movie-critic for Hard Core Nerdity,  Adrienne Kress saw the film at a press screening a week before it came out and she told me it was worth seeing so I thought I'd give it a shot.

And you know what? I was completely entertained. There are some completely corny cliche lines like, Son to Dad: "You can do this. I believe in you." (or something. I'm paraphrasing.) And while I might have rolled my eyes once or twice I had to do my eye rolling quickly, because mostly I was just too busy being entertained. :)

And if I have to watch boxing... there'd better be either a great story to offset the violence, or the boxers getting beat up had better be machines and not people. This movie delivers on the second for sure ;) and the first mostly. The story is simple, but I admired that simplicity...We know exactly who the protagonist is, how he has to change, what his external goals are... and we see him change and get what he wants and deserves.

I have a bit of a love-to-m'eh sliding continuum thing for Hugh Jackman (as opposed to Sinead who is fully in love). And this was a movie where I swung to the love side of my continuum. (As I did the night Sinead and I went to see him perform live this summer.) It's like Hugh can either be the most masculine and most feminine man on the planet -- and I heart the masculine Hugh. (Without facial hair and with his shirt on, ;) he comes off too pretty for me) But he was definitely masculine Hugh in this movie. Yowza.

The only thing that would have made it perfect for me was a tiny more emphasis on the romance, but then that would have turned off their key demographic -- twelve-year-old boys -- so I had to be satisfied with a few kisses and some clear chemistry. I'll say one thing about Evangeline Lilly -- she can look at a man and convince me she loves him. And she looked at Hugh like she looked at Sawyer.

I've read reviews that criticize Real Steel for morphing together movies from the past like Rocky and The Champ and Transformers... But I think the filmmakers were smart enough to take what worked from each of those movies: underdog triumphing, heart-breaking father-son relationship, big robots -- and combine them into pure entertainment.

I saw the movie in one of those enhanced theatres, with a bigger screen, better sound and comfy seats (with built in speakers...) and I was thoroughly entertained. And really, that's exactly what I wanted.


Molly O'Keefe said...

Really??? A boxing movie with robots? Maureen? Someone else wrote this post - they had to.

Did you see that hilarious sketch on Saturday Night Live with Andy Sandberg playing Hugh Jackman as a host of a talk show about playing both sides (super tough and super feminine) it was funny but then very hilarious when Hugh jckman came out as the kid from Harry Potter - hilarious.

Maureen McGowan said...

Ha! I know. So not my kind of movie, right?

And I couldn't remember who I was stealing that masculine feminine thing from. You reminded me. :) SNL. I thought yes. Perfect. That's exactly my thing with Hugh.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Hugh!! I'll go see it, and if not, I will rent the DVD...

There is a lot to be said for entertainment. Sometimes that's all I want. Especially on a Friday night after a long week, with a glass of wine.

Eileen said...

Robots, violence and a heart-breaking father-son relationship? It's like a trifecta for the Testosterone-Americans of my household. Oh, and Hunky Hugh for me? I might actually watch with them.

Maureen McGowan said...

Eileen, it might be too corny and/or juvenile for your men... but who knows. I just thought it was kind of fun. And I knew I was being manipulated by really silly things like a seam on the mesh covering the robot's face kind of mimicking or giving the faint impression a nose and mouth (could they be more obvious?) but that night it totally worked for me.

Eileen said...

Ha, Maureen, it might be too corny for the young men in my house, but Andy? Ain't no such thing as a sports movie with a difficult father/son relationship that would be too corny for him. He eats those up with a spoon.

out of the wordwork said...

Well, as a mom of a 12 year old boy and an on again off again fan of Hugh (sigh. loved his Van Helsing days)both demographics in our household were completely entertained by Real Steel.

I was totally surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. The kid actor was great the fighting scenes were awesome. I mean, I even sympathized with the robot! It was just a little niggling question: does the robot have emotions or am I imagining those things? Really well done there.

Yes, it was cliche but I didn't go in expecting a great cinematic masterpiece. Always love a movie more when I'm surprised by it.

Go see it. You might be surprised by how much you like it!

Maureen McGowan said...


The kid was really good, wasn't he!

I also liked that they didn't follow EVERY cliche they could have... like making the aunt and her husband horrible or something.

And I agree that they certainly implied that Atom had feelings and could understand the boy -- but then they never offered an explanation as to why.

I just remembered another movie that bad review I read accused them of stealing from -- The Iron Giant.

Just like you, Nelsa, I think I mostly was charmed by this movie because it exceeded my expectations. (even with Adrienne's recommendation)

Maureen McGowan said...

Eileen, I think the only obvious demographic who might not like this movie are older teen boys -- especially ones who are asserting their "grown up" status. They might feel like it's too "babyish" or something. The kid is supposed to be eleven or twelve, I think...

But if Andy loves sports movies, he'll love it. It does have all the sports movie stuff that many men love and robot fighting. POW!

Plus a nice redemption story for an absentee father.

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