12/30/13

Favorite Film of the Year . . .

I probably saw more movies in 2013 than I have in the previous thee or four years. Movies, for me, have become a bit of a frustration. They are all franchises and sequels/prequels/reboots/re-imaginings/and so on. I don't follow pop culture enough any more to know who the best actors and actresses working today are. I just sort of float around shaking my fist at the cost of popcorn when I go to The Warren.

Why was this year different? I spent half of it unemployed! $5 Wednesdays and matinee ticket discounts and the relative low cost of three hours of your otherwise "empty" day gone seemed like a welcome respite. So I saw some horrible stuff and some great stuff. Low brow, high brow, etc.

I'd be a liar if I said Fast Six was the best movie I saw this year (as AMAZING as it was) and I would like to talk about how much I loved Pacific Rim but I fear I would actually cease to exist the minute I hit publish so - instead - here is my real favorite movie of the year:

ALL IS LOST . . .



This is not a spoiler, Robert Redford (credited as "Our Man" in the movies credits that reminds you he is the only actor in the film) is part of the "all" that is lost in All Is Lost.

The movie is about a man on a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean who has his (presumably) idyllic boat trip destroyed by a shipping container left bobbing in the water. From there, it is all about survival and the way man looks at challenge and how they deal with challenge. It gets BAD for him. He's alone. He's running out of food. His radio stops working. He goes directly in to a storm path. There are sharks that are waiting for him. He is alone in every sense of the word and then you get your first real insight to "Our Man" when this happens . . .

13th of July, 4:50 pm. I'm sorry... I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried, I think you would all agree that I tried. To be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right. But I wasn't. And I know you knew this. In each of your ways. And I am sorry. All is lost here... except for soul and body... that is, what's left of them... and a half-day's ration. It's inexcusable really, I know that now. How it could have taken this long to admit that I'm not sure... but it did. I fought 'til the end, I'm not sure what this worth, but know that I did. I have always hoped for more for you all... I will miss you. I'm sorry.

That is when you realize that if this guy is in the Indian Ocean or at home in the suburbs (let's presume he has some wealth and a suburban life accordingly (?)) that he would be alone and staring mortality and life decisions in the eye on any given Saturday.

Redford is fantastic as an actor in general but this role is amazing (if I could have looked half as good at 17 as he does at 77 my life would be a totally different thing by now)) as he has no cast members to interact with and very little dialogue to share - just his body, face, actions, and tone. You feel claustrophobic, scared, stressed, and alone with/for him.

The filmmakers (one review I read pointed out that there are 17 producers on a film with one actor in it) did their jobs, too. The movie never feels trite or pushed. You just feel a general sense of dread and, in a way, you are waiting for the inevitable . . . or what you presume to be inevitable. Does he live? Does he die? Go see the movie but in the meantime - I hope you would take away what I did . . . nothing is "over" nothing is "lost" and nothing is "forever" - we have skills, smarts, resources, and opportunities that are constantly available to us to simply use to our advantage.

If you ever feel lost it is because you are not looking around enough to get re-oriented.

A fantastic movie that I hope is handsomely rewarded at awards season if only so more people will go see it.

What did you see? What did you like?

DISCLAIMER - As I write this I have not yet seen "Saving Mr. Banks", "August Osage County" or "Monuments Men" - two movies I have very, very high hopes for.