Ah, finals season. Projects due, papers to be written, endless study guides to memorize. And to make matters worse, there’s already holiday shopping to do and it’s dark at 4:30 in the afternoon! Yes, it’s a gloomy, depressing time of year when teachers and stores and even NATURE ITSELF have all teamed up to make the next few weeks aggressively unpleasant. But never fear! There is relief! In those rare moments of free time, here are some movies for you to pick up right here at the library to cure those finals blues! Or at least make you feel better about that paper you were supposed to do yesterday.
The Muppet Movie [DVD PN1997 .M877 2005]
Remember The Muppets, which came out last year? With the dynamic duo of Jason Segal and Kermit the Frog? Well here’s the movie that started it all! The Muppet Moviewas released in 1979, and was the first time the Muppets were ever seen on the big screen! The movie shows (approximately) how Kermit left his home in the swamp, with dreams of making it in the film business. As he travels across the country, he picks up other Muppets who have similar dreams, including Fozzie Bear, (The Great) Gonzo, and the ever-ambitious Miss Piggy. Basically, it’s a road trip movie. With songs (like its most famous, “Rainbow Connection”), an evil frog hunter, a crooked fast food entrepreneur, and celebrity cameos. And by celebrity cameos, I mean people like Steve Martin, Bob Hope, Mel Brooks, and Orson freaking Welles! That’s enough reason to pick up the DVD on its own- but really what makes this movie are its endless laughs, and its endless optimism. No matter what, Kermit and friends never give up on their dreams, and it all pays off in the end. Just like we will, hopefully, make it through these finals and get to see the rainbow (and good holidays) on the other side.
8 ½ [DVD PN1997 .O886 2010]
Brain feeling drained? Want to feel smart and sophisticated and artsy? Then try this classic 1963 art house film directed by Federico Fellini, a movie basically about how crazy it is to be Federico Fellini. Part of a film movement going on in the 60s that loved experimenting in tones, visual style, and narrative -oh boy does this movie seem experimental. It’s basically a story about an Italian director named Guido Anselmi, who is clearly a stand in for Fellini, trying to get past his writers block and get his increasingly out-of-control life in order(sound familiar?) Anselmi/Fellini is attempting to finish his latest project, a big budget sci-fi epic, despite the fact that he has no idea what he wants to do with the movie. To make matters worse, his wife and his mistress both end up staying at the same spa/resort where he is shooting his film. To escape all this, the film starts going slightly bonkers, flashing between Anselmi’s imagination and his memories. It’s a strange, surreal movie, sometimes more like a dreamy musical than an actual story. It’s pure, bizarre escapism. While it does seem rather 60s at times, it’s aged well, mainly due to its surreal nature, and its basic plot, something that I think we can all relate to right now: inability to keep your entire schedule (and maybe your life) from spinning out of control.
It’s a Wonderful Life [DVD PN1997 .I8722 2006]
Well, we needed at least one holiday flick here, and what better movie to erase the Finals blues than one about overcoming adversity just in time for Christmas! While most people remember the big happy ending, the first parts of the movie are filled with almost shifting genres, starting with angels in the heavens chatting amongst themselves, and going from there to a coming of age story to romance to comedy to drama to crushing tragedy to overwhelming happiness at the end. Lead actor Jimmy Stewart is great from beginning to end, playing a nice guy who’s pushed to the breaking point, but with divine helpcomes back from the brink. So many Christmas movies just seem to be a combo of wacky misunderstandings, “heartwarming” children, and everyone coming together at the end to learn some phoned-in message about the “True Meaning of Christmas”. This movie actually has all those things, but they’re played with such heart, and such pathos, you totally believe all of it. As George Bailey [Stewart] is put through the ringer, you really feel for him, so when he realizes how wonderful his life really is, and that with the help of the people he loves, he can make it through all the hard times, it does feel like you have learned the True Meaning of Christmas, whatever that is to you. It’s basically about the light at the end of the tunnel, the light many of us are hoping to see very soon.
Happy viewing- and here’s a good thing: the library’s DVDs may be checked out over the winter break!