I’m a movie guy. For me, cinema is the ultimate archive of humanity’s last gasp…an archive and a mirror, reflecting back to us our best and worst qualities, impulses, desires and proclivities. On a personal level, the films I’ve seen throughout my life are like mileposts, each movie has a connected memory attached to it; the small story of how I came to watch it, what ways it affected me and where I was at that point in time (physically and mentally). For the next 365 days, I am committing myself to see – at least – one film a day, which I will not only review but also diarize my associated thoughts. Why do I choose the movies that I do? How did I feel when I made the selection? Was some sort of anxiety gnawing at my chest? Did I just ingest a poisonous tuna melt from the unreliable diner down my block?
Here are the rules – there are no rules, journalistic or otherwise. The genre/era of film is of no consequence…only the reason why I picked it. It can be something I see in the theatre, but more likely it’ll be a streaming deal. I don’t have cable…so probably a flick off YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes.
It’s a grand experiment, to be sure. At the end, I hope to gain some insight into how our daily lives influence the reasons we watch the movies we do, and in turn, how the movies we watch influence our daily lives. I think I’ll call it…shit what do I call it? Daily Movie? Nah…too mundane. My Movie Year? Nope…too…something. Living With Movies? Sounds like I’ve got a disease. Hmmm…how about, 365: A Cinematic Sojourn? Now, that has a bit of class – and alliteration. I think I’ll go with that…for the time being anyway.
22 June 2017
Well, that was a predictable disappointment – my day. I’m home now, let’s leave it behind. Not much to report, all human interaction kept to the bare minimum. Mood? Weary. What’s on my mind? Trump – another predictable disappointment. But generally, my thoughts are floaty…disassembled. I have no particular inclination to watch anything specific. Blank slate. Physically – a bit bloated from the heaping plate of nachos supreme and double scotch at lunch. Am I ready? Yes I think I am…I’m ready for this experiment. After flipping through the new releases on Netflix for a few minutes, a movie called 1 Night catches my attention. Why? Because the story takes place over the course of a night – I dig that trope…After Hours, The Night Before, My Night at Maude’s, etc. It’s a relationship movie, an indie…probably dialogue heavy. These types of films live or die on the level of the writing. Ok…here we go – I’ll see you on the other side. There will be spoliers.
Review: 1 Night (2016)
Right. A rather inauspicious beginning, guys. It’s what I presume the director considered ‘high concept’. Two couples, one teenaged and the other thirty-ish cross paths over the course of an evening at an L.A hotel. The kids have just endured a bummer prom night and the adults are having some trouble in their marriage. There is a voice over at the top that blathers some banal pontifications about the pivotal moments that affect the course of our lives – would we stop the clock if we had the chance? Blah, blah. It’s a thin ribbon of premise, written with the intent to be compelling enough to make the viewer want to continue on…but sufficiently vague so as to not give away their ‘twist end’ – which is by the way, is pretty ridiculous. As I thought, it’s a talky film, one that commits the cardinal sin of the genre – lousy dialogue. The teens (Isabelle Furhman and Kyle Allen) banter with each other in obligatory Dawson’s Creek fashion and the married couple (Anna Camp and Justin Chatwin) relate to each other with an inauthentic middle-aged weariness – they are only early thirties. The teens knew each other when they were little kids, but have since cliqued off – the outcast guy/popular girl predictability. They didn’t enjoy prom. She was dumped… he’s loved her from afar. You get the picture. The married couple are fighting…she complains he’s never around, he’s a callow rogue, she keeps alluding to an affair in ‘Argentina’. He has brought them to this hotel to try to save their marriage. They seem to recognize the kids somehow and interact with them in brief exchanges of the – “When I was your age…” “All proms you know they’re…” “Life you know it’s…” varietal.
You don’t immediately understand why the married couple knows them. But quickly, you understand that – gasp – they must be younger versions of themselves. Exact circumstance is not initially clear, but it is ultimately revealed at the end that the married couple have travelled through time; we know this because her younger self ‘who likes building things’ says she would love to construct some machine that could shoot matter through worm holes allowing people to shift between dimensions or some such nonsense. So. the husband used her time machine to bring them back to the moment they met. It’s all so galactically idiotic. This unremarkable girl was able to build a time bending machine…something the greatest scientific minds could not achieve…simply because she ‘likes to build things’? Moreover, the nonchalance of the married couple as they witness their younger selves at the inception of their romance is untenable. “Ho-hum, I’m only doing something that is utterly mind-blowing, let’s continue to argue about your transgression in Argentina.” The capper, by the way, is that the couples don’t look anything like each other…the explanation being that when you go through a wormhole you look different on the other end.
Final verdict: A piece of fluff that is neither sci-fi nor profound enough to be an effective exploration of the vagaries of relationships. Sub-par dialogue, poor editing…middling acting.
How I feel: Though it’s been a long day, I am not inclined towards my usual nap. I think I’ll stay up for a while. As far as I can tell, I’m thoroughly unaffected by this movie…it wasn’t even significant enough to raise my hackles.