It's winter here in New Jersey and we have been solidly spanked by Mother Nature, who seems to gleefully be dumping tons of snow on us with wild abandon. According to the news people, this is the worst winter we've had in sixty two years. I know some of you may be used to dealing with oodles of white snowy goodness but... we're not. Call me a pussy all you want, there is no way in fucking hell I want to go outside unless it's walking directly from my porch to the car.
There is one good thing to come of all this wintery mess, however -- I've been catching up on my movie-watching and I don't mean that I've just been watching an endless loop of Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, either (though I kind of have been). I've been so immersed in Twi-land these past couple of years that I really haven't had much of a chance to watch anything outside of it, until now. As much as I love Edward in all his sparkly goodness, a girl needs to mix shit up once in awhile, you know?
Regardless of whether or not you're currently squirreled away in your house, I'm sure many of you need a little break from vampires, emo heroines and werewolves. If you do, I have a few suggestions for you.
Winter's Bone -
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family.An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. (From Rotten Tomatoes)
This is a dark and somber flick that details just how devastating the effects of poverty can be. The heroine, Ree, is played by Jennifer Lawrence and I was absolutely blown away at how amazing she was.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest:
I'm just going to group these together. These movies have it all - crime drama, suspense, mystery and action. All three movies follow badass computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist when they are originally paired up to solve a forty-year old cold case of a missing girl.
Be warned - these movies are not all puppies and rainbows. There is a good deal of violence in them, including a particularly brutal rape scene in the first one. But the storyline is superb and sucks you in and the acting is incredible.
Want more? There are a quite a few movies that are still playing in the theater that look absolutely amazing. Sure, you might have to leave your house but who doesn't want to re-finance their mortgage for a bag a chemically produced buttered popcorn and a big gulp of Coke?
True Grit -
Hands down, this has probably been one of the best movies I have seen in awhile. With a stellar cast of odd-ball characters, this is a true Western flick, with just the right amount of quirk that the Coen brothers are famous for. Jeff Bridges as the cantankerous, drunken Marshall Rooster Cogburn and Matt Damon as the obnoxious, puffed-up Texas Ranger LaBouef are positively flawless and Hailee Steinfeld as the stubborn, hardnosed young heroine Mattie Ross steals the screen. I really can't say enough about this movie, except that you must see it. You won't regret it.
Speaking of amazing actors, my last recommendation stars a particular actor that I was convinced would never be good. Thankfully, I've been proven wrong countless times and he's since moved to the top of my "kick-ass actor" list. You go, Mark Wahlberg.
The Fighter -
Based on the true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward, The Fighter is gritty and unapologetic. Christian Bale plays the crack-addicted ex-pro boxer Dicky Eklund, Micky Ward's (played by Mark Wahlberg) older brother.
The portrayal of the family dynamic, including manager-mom Alice Ward (played by Melissa Leo), and a brood of tough talking, heavy-drinking, hard-ass sisters were nearly as interesting as the boxing scenes, some of which left me gripping the armrests of my seat, grimacing with every hit. It's one of those movies that honest and stripped-down and you leave the theater in a stupor. Or trying to recreate the fight scenes in the theater parking (I don't recommend this. It hurts.)
So there you have it. For those of you who are also currently battling the freezing cold elements, I hope some of these suggestions can help alleviate your cabin fever. For the rest of you, who are probably basking in warm weather and glorious sun, who don't have to don forty-two layers just to get the mail... I hope you can enjoy these too.
Also, I hate you. In a loving way.