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Fun Friday: Volume 2, Issue 1

What he has to say:

He

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, but Fun Friday has returned! 

I’d like to kick off this year’s first issue by paying tribute to small movies. By small movies, I don’t necessarily mean an independent film. It could mean that, but doesn’t mean only that. It could also mean something that didn’t cost a lot to make (by movie standards) or has a smaller-scale approach to telling its story. Basically, it’s something that’s the opposite of a Michael Bay movie.

First up is the science fiction thriller Pitch Black. Yes, the Vin Diesel movie for those of you out there rolling your eyes. I know he doesn’t really do anything not titled “fast” or “furious” anymore, but hear me out. 

This movie is about a group of people on a cargo ship. They passengers are composed of a group of very different people. The ship is on autopilot while everyone on board is in suspended animation. There’s some kind of accident and it crash lands onto a nearby planet. The planet is extremely hot/bright during the day, but pitch black (get it?) at night. Running low on supplies, they must band together to survive. If that isn’t bad enough, they soon discover something is hunting them. Oh and did I mention that Vin Diesel is a convicted murder who was being transported to a prison and was freed when the ship crash-landed?

This is a well-paced movie that focuses on all the right elements this kind of movie should. Sure there’s action, but it isn’t too big and it takes a back seat to the tension and characterization.

Sticking with the sci-fi theme, I bring you Monsters. Monsters is the story of two people stranded in Mexico; which has recently been taken over by giant creatures from space. The country has been quarantined. There are safe and unsafe zones. There is even a giant wall separating the country from the U.S.

Anyways, Kaulder is a photographer whose employer recently ordered him to escort his daughter Sam back to the states. Kaulder isn’t happy about this. He’s just a photographer and has no interest in babysitting some gal who ran away from her daddy. Not to mention, trying to stay alive in a country infested by giant creatures is hard enough, but taking responsibility for someone else’s safety is a whole new problem.

This movie is pretty damn cool. It’s a good little character study and isn’t without action, but focuses more on their adventure and characterization rather than blowing up aliens. It was made for under a million dollars too.

For our full review of Monsters go here at your earliest convenience.  

I’m going to mix it up and close this thing out with a dark comedy. Little Miss Sunshine is the story of a dysfunctional family and how they come together when one of the kids (Abigail Breslin) is chosen as a last minute replacement for a regional beauty pageant.

The family consists of a father who can’t catch a break in his career, a son who refuses to speak to his family, a grandfather who’s a drug addict, and an uncle who has recently attempted to commit suicide. Oh and the Violet (Breslin) isn’t exactly beauty pageant material. You see, she’s actually a pretty normal kid who’s very far removed from the world of glitz pageants.  Nobody really thinks she can win, some don’t even want her to do it for fear of her getting hurt, but regardless they pull together and trek across the country when she gets the call.

This is a very simple movie. It is in no way a large production. It was made for around $8 million dollars and pulled in over $100 mil! This simplicity – along with great humor and performances – is what makes it work so well though. Despite the fact that the characters may seem a little over-the-top to some, the point is everyone has problems (and that is something we can all relate to).

You can read The He’s review of Little Miss Sunshine right here.

This issue of Fun Friday was brought to you be The He on February 3, 2012.