1 Bend It Like Beckham
I have to admit, I thought of this movie when I was a kid. I had an idea to make a film about a girl who was a great soccer player. (I also had the idea for the show Hannah Montanna. Not sure if that’s a good thing.) However, I never made it, and I certainly never would have thought to feature an British Indian young woman as the protagonist.
This film centers the story of two young women who are excellent soccer players in London. In America, playing soccer would be perfectly normal for girls. Soccer is seen as a girls’ sport and many young women earn scholarships to play at American universities. In Britain, this is less true, even more so for young Indian women who must bridge the gap between cultures. Her parents expect her to learn how to cook Aloo Gobi and also become a solicitor. (I find that a telling juxtaposition. She must be both the perfect Indian woman but she must also advance within British society and raise her family’s status. That must be a tough balancing act.) Her friend Jules, has to balance as well. Her mother wants her to be more feminine so that she can have her pick of men; she would rather earn a scholarship to play soccer at an American University.
I find it quite striking that the men in this film are supportive of the women’s talents and desires; the women are hostile. The movie is great fun and has great music. I still listen to the music to this day.
2 Halloween (1978)
I just saw this movie for the first time last April. The film tells the story of Michael Myers, “the shape” who emerges from his hospital and goes on a killing spree. He targets babysitters on Halloween at his home town. He is not so much a person as a force, a demonic presence in this town.
It was made for virtually no money and it made a fortune. The money was well earned. This is a patient film. The audience has to wait for the violence and carnage, and the director wisely takes the time to build the tension. Young Jamie Lee Curtis stars in this film as a young, slightly straight laced, young woman who is about to confront unspeakable evil.
I am not a horror film fan, but I really liked this film.
Contact is a science fiction film based on the novel by Carl Sagan. It tells the story of a scientist who has devoted her life to seeking out signs of intelligent life in the universe. One evening, as she is monitoring the radio signals she receives from outer space, she receives a message. The film explores the affect that this message has on her and the world. It also asks the audience to decide if she looks at extraterrestrial life from the perspective of a scientist or a mystic.
I have not read the book upon which this was based, so I cannot speak to the film as an adaptation. However, I do enjoy this film. My physics teacher in high school said that this was the most accurate science fiction film he had ever seen. I do not know if that is true. The film does have a sense of plausibility. Compared to Star Trek or Star Wars, this film is very grounded. It is easy to imagine that the events could transpire.
It has a great performance from Jodie Foster, John Hurt, and James Woods. The film also has great special effects but does not allow the special effects to overwhelm the film. The special effects exist for the film; the film does not exist for the special effects. If only George Lucas had seen this film while he was making The Phantom Menace!