Sunday, June 12, 2011

John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson Make Sparks - Nicole Kidman Grabs Your Heart

I watch a lot of movies - 250 movies a year. Maybe more. I guess that qualifies me as a true Netflix Junkie. And my prospects for the future look good. I have 257 movies lined up in my DVD queue, and an additional 141 in my instant streaming queue.

I sometimes rave about the movies that blow me away. But if you've read some of these reviews, you know these movies "aren't for everybody." My tastes favor realistic stories. That leaves out most fantasy stories and comedies. So the acting, the directing, the editing and the photography might be wonderful, Academy-award caliber achievements; but because the stories are unflinchingly honest and true, they usually get no awards and are seen by very few people. I guess most people get enough reality in their real lives, and they want to escape in their movies.

In this post I'd like to recommend two wonderful movies. In both, the drama is initiated by a death in the family.

The first is "A Love Song for Bobby Long" (2004), starring John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson. Johansson plays a young woman who returns to her childhood home after her mother's death. She has mixed feelings about her mother, because she never knew her; her mother abandoned her when she was small. When she arrives, she discovers that a couple of self-absorbed alcoholics have squatted there. The story is about these people discovering each other and creating relationships.

My favorite scene: Travolta evokes T. S. Eliot while making a speech. If you're not interested in relationships, this movie isn't for you. It has some wonderfully touching scenes and a powerfully affirming ending. If you saw "Staying Alive" and "Pulp Fiction," then you know John Travolta can act. This is his finest movie.

The other gem is "Rabbit Hole" (2010), Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest. This is the heart-wrenching story of a couple whose marriage is being torn apart by grief caused by the death of their young son. They are intelligent, loving people, but the drama is driven by how they go their separate ways to cope with their loss.

My favorite scene: Kidman has had enough B.S. in group therapy and she lashes out at one of the couples. Once again, a painfully honest story ends in affirmation.

I do like a good action thriller. I'm particularly fond of stories about contract killers, e.g. "The Mechanic" (2011) or "The Professional" (1994) or a good science-based sci-fi flick, e.g. "Aliens" (1986) or "Artificial Intelligence" (2001). But most of all I love movies that dish up the world and life the way it really is.


Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .


ATF said...

loved this two movies and i agree, anyone who thinks john travolta can't act, should watch this.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

A Love Song for Bobby Long is one of my favorite movies. I bought a copy, I liked it so much.

I also read The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter as a result of seeing the film. Somehow, I missed reading it in college. It stays with me.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Also, Denny, I think you'd like the film, Welcome to the Rileys. It has some powerfully good acting and is also about human relationships. I loved it and even bought my mom and dad a copy.