Category Archives: Movies

Attack of the 50-ft Woman…

In this, our sixth movie from the collection of various and sundry movie posters Bob has framed and hanging around our house, I found myself prepared for the worst. The kind of movie that I imagine going with a poster like this is not one that compels me. In retrospect, I didn’t find it that bad, which I guess is why it’s often characterized as one of those movies that’s “so bad it’s good.”

Random thoughts I had during this movie:

  • At about 45 minutes into the 65-minute film: “I’m concerned that we still haven’t seen the film’s eponymous protagonist.”
  • Once the giants appear: “Why are they sometimes opaque and sometimes translucent?”

    Giant_man
    Giant_woman
  • At the first glimpses of the giant woman, which only shows her right hand: “They sure are getting their money’s worth out of that huge paper mâché hand prop.”

    Nancy's hand
  • At the first appearance of the alien space craft: “Why are they calling it a satellite instead of a space ship or UFO?” (There is a short discussion about this in one of the FAQs on the IMDB page, if you’re interested in a possible explanation.)

In the end, the 2 things that bothered me the most were:

  • In the movie, they refer to the woman as a “30-foot giant,” but the very name of the movie is “Attack of the 50-ft. Woman.”
  • The poster for this movie is a scene that never even remotely appears in this movie. I mean the setting is essentially a rural one-stoplight town. The only infrastructure the 30-foot woman hovers over is the town hotel and bar shown in the bottom right quadrant of the collage picture below.

    Poster vs. reality

But as it turns out, there was so much more to be bothered by that I didn’t even notice. Here are some from the goofs page of the IMDB entry for this film:

  • When Nancy is normal-sized, she is a brunette with a short, styled hairdo. But when she’s super-sized, she’s suddenly a blonde with long curly hair.
  • Although the alien is a giant, when the sheriff and Jess go into the “satellite” (the alien spacecraft), the passageways and interiors are for human-sized inhabitants.
  • Clothes are sticking out of Harry’s suitcase as he hurriedly brings it out of the bedroom. In the next shot, the suitcase appears neatly packed. (I actually noticed this one.)
  • When Nancy is lying on the ground dead, one of her eyelids moves. (I sure wish I’d noticed that!)
  • About 40 minutes in, Harry is filling a large (~30 CC) syringe in an attempt to kill his wife, but after he and the nurse are shocked to see she has become a giant, he is only holding a small (~ 1 CC) syringe. (And Bob pointed out that nobody wipes the needle with alcohol before they use it.)
  • How Allison Hayes can be fifty feet tall and yet remain in a standard size room is never explained. (In her defense, she was lying down, so maybe the room was 60-feet long.)
  • The giant picks up Nancy’s 1958 Plymouth station wagon, throws it to the ground and, mysteriously, the Plymouth station wagon turns into a 1949 Chevrolet Station Wagon. Also, when the giant alien picks up the Plymouth wagon, the scene behind it, the still frame cut from the movie ad, is moved about to simulate the car’s movement. The slow motion action reveals the 1949 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Woody Wagon.

In the end, I’m glad I watched this to have an idea what’s behind the poster that I see practically every day in our living room.

En man som heter Ove (A Man Called Ove) (2015)

I started reading the book on May 17, 2017 and after 10 days of on-and-off reading, I abandoned it on May 27, 2017. The story was good enough that I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but alas, the writing was too poor to keep reading.

There were too, too many similes and too much “telling” instead of “showing” in the writing. This is a typical example of a paragraph that drove me nuts:

And when she took hold of his lower arm, thick as her thigh, and tickled him until that sulky boy’s face opened up in a smile, it was like a plaster cast cracking around a piece of jewelry, and when this happened it was as if something started singing inside Sonja. And they belonged only to her, those moments.

To my surprise, the movie had quickly become available on Amazon Prime, which actually helped with my decision to abandon the book, since I could experience the rest of the plot without having to read it.

The synopsis

From its the IMDB entry: Ove, an ill-tempered, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife’s grave, has finally given up on life just as an unlikely friendship develops with his boisterous new neighbors.

The trailer

 

 

My thoughts and observations

  1. This Swedish entry for Best Foreign Language Picture (which didn’t win) was, overall, delightful. It had subtitles, but since they only translated the dialogue, there were no similes at all in them! 🙂

  2. This movie has been described as a “heartwarming, feel-good, funny and moving dramedy,” which I don’t disagree with. It wasn’t too feel-good, though—about which I’m glad, because that’s a detrimental characteristic in my assessment of movies.

  3. I loved the way the character of Parvaneh was portrayed by Bahar Pars.

  4. Themes touched upon in this movie included:
    • Friendship
    • Love
    • Loss
    • Loneliness
    • Morality
    • Empathy

It’s rare that I prefer a movie over a book, but this was one of those cases in which I did. My Swedish friend, Lars, said, “The movie was lovely and moving, as was the book in Swedish.” With that, I’m going to chalk up the writing to a poor translation.

Have you seen this movie and/or read the book? If so, what’d you think?

Hidden Figures (2016) movie thoughts and observations

After waiting for it to become available on Netflix, Bob and I watched Hidden Figures with much anticipation.

The synopsis

Three brilliant African-American women at NASA—Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.

The trailer

My thoughts and observations

  1. As much as I wanted to love this movie, the main thing that kept me from doing so revolves around the reason I really don’t care for mainstream movies most of the time. There are two main factors:

    1. In an effort to make a story “entertaining,” it is usually overly dramatized at the expense of the narrative.

       

    2. The forgone conclusion that it will have a happy ending makes it painfully predictable.

      Example of a: I know Katherine Johnson didn’t run back and forth to that “Colored Ladies Room” in the other building in the way that it was depicted in this movie.

      Example of b: When Katherine Johnson screamed at all of her colleagues mentioning that no one will even drink coffee from the same pot that she does, I said to Bob, “At the end of the movie, Paul Stafford is going to bring her a cup of coffee.” And that’s exactly what happened.

  2. Another thing that kept me from enjoying this movie as much as I would have liked to is that it just highlights how history is written (and taught), and while I’m grateful that stories like this come along to enlighten us, it frustrates me knowing that history is not getting “re-written” to include these newly-brought-to-light stories for future generations.

  3. Throughout this movie, I wondered if Katherine Johnson was really able to calculate as fast as she did or if it was just another dramatization. It’s not that I doubt she could have, my point is that I can’t be sure precisely because of the oft-used dramatization.

  4. Likewise, I have 0-to-10% confidence that Al Harrison actually knocked down that sign with an axe.

  5. Speaking of the Al Harrison character, it took me several scenes before I realized that it was Kevin Costner playing him, which is not an indictment on the film, but an observation of myself.

  6. As actresses, I love Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe.

  7. I really liked how at the end they showed pictures of of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson with updates of their respective lives.

  8. Bob noticed an anachronism at the very beginning of the movie, when a character noted it was 1961 and shortly after that a cop drove up in a 1964 Ford Galaxie.

  9. The Wikipedia entry for this movie notes these “technical deficiencies,” which I also found interesting, although they didn’t bother me at all, since I’m not a scientist:
    • The re-entry burn is described as moving the capsule from an elliptical orbit to a parabolic descent path. To the approximation in which the original orbit is an ellipse, this is wrong: also, the descent path is an elliptical arc. It appears that this mistake is also present in the book.
    • In one of the Redstone suborbital-jump sequences, footage slipped in of the separation of an Atlas booster ring.
    • Glenn’s launch is seen straight from the Atlas booster-ring separation to the weightlessness of space, cutting out the remaining sustainer burn.
    • It is said that Glenn was cleared for seven orbits, but this was cut short to three due to the heat-shield issue. This is a widespread misconception.[42]

In spite of not loving this movie as much as I wanted to, I did find it informative, and I’m very glad that these heroes and role models from the space race era are now alive in the hearts and minds of those who saw the movie or read the book.