The Lake House

The Lake House. Vertigo Entertainment 2006.

Before watching the movie:

This seems like a strange pairing for a movie that seems to want to be known as a pensive romance. Reeves and Bullock headlined Speed as well, but that was an action blockbuster, which they’re both better known for.

Similarly to how I was wondering how the original source of You’ve Got Mail got things going without the weird social construct of anonymous chat rooms, it’s my understanding that the central concept here is that they send letters to each other, but they’re in the same place a few years apart. I’m again curious to see how that gets started, but also how it can be sustained.

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Two Weeks Notice

Two Weeks Notice. Fortis Films 2002.
Two Weeks Notice. Fortis Films 2002.

Before watching the movie:

Despite both of them having a good track record in romantic comedies, I would never have thought to pair Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. However, it makes perfect sense to set up a chalk and cheese couple, which are in fact a staple of romantic comedies.

It’s interesting that this movie appears to start from a position of realizing their relationship needs to either improve or end, which is usually the crisis point of the plot. I’m picturing something close to a plot where the bad boyfriend who’s usually there to get dumped in favor of the love interest, tries to reform into the love interest.

After watching the movie:

Lucy Kelson is an activist lawyer, as likely to organize a protest rally as file a suit in her fight against injustices. While crusading to save a historic Coney Island community center, planned to be demolished as an eyesore for a planned luxury condo tower nearby, she charges up to George Wade of the Wade Corporation development group, one of the bidders for the building contract, to make her argument, which among other things, includes a guarantee that she can get Wade the job in exchange for an agreement to spare the community center. Her eloquence and skill impress George, whose brother and senior partner Howard has demanded he get a real legal counsel this time and not another mistress to payroll. George offers Lucy the position, noting that not only will he spare and work around the community center in return, but the job also comes with full control over Wade Corporation’s pro bono legal budget. After some handwringing over this deal with the devil, Lucy accepts. Unfortunately, George quickly comes to rely upon her for every decision except legal matters, at all times of day and night, and after several months of this, Lucy resigns, which George reluctantly accepts, only on the condition she locate and train her own replacement. Only now that the process of separation has begun, they find that perhaps neither one of them can stand to see the other go.

I thought this story was going to avoid the stable, boring current partner that needs to be dumped for the romantic interest, but interestingly, Lucy does have a current partner that exits in the third act. Only he never actually appears because he’s always on a boat somewhere in another part of the world, and we only hear of their breakup after the fact.

I came into the story expecting her resignation to be the inciting action, but it’s actually more of the turn into the second act. I probably could’ve enjoyed an entire movie of the misadventures of falling in love with a clueless and needy boss, but they only really start to notice each other as people when they begin to disentangle as coworkers. Which is also enjoyable, just in a way that leaves an obvious joint.

Despite doing some unusual turns on tropes, this is a fairly standard romantic comedy. Witty things get said, arguments are had, feelings get developed, hidden, and revealed, and ultimately, the formula plays out in the manner the audience is accustomed to, and an hour and a half is passed in fun but not very distinctive storytelling.

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Practical Magic

Practical Magic. Stargate Studios 1998.
Practical Magic. Stargate Studios 1998.

Before watching the movie:

I really like modern-day spellcaster stories. I even found a fondness for Teen Witch. So all that I really need to be interested in this movie is that there are modern-day witch sisters. Their conflict has something to do with a curse upon their love lives, which sets up a romantic comedy apparently, and I’m further intrigued. I also like Sandra Bullock in pretty much anything, so that’s a plus as well. Continue reading

The Net

The Net. Winkler Films 1995.
The Net. Columbia Pictures 1995.

Before watching the movie:

I first heard of this movie at least five years ago, and pretty much every time it comes up, it’s being mocked for confusing the Internet with Magic. However, that’s hardly unique in Hollywood, and the main examples I’m thinking of seem less implausible now that the Internet of Things is a trendy consumer electronics buzzword on the horizon.

Basically, Sandra Bullock gets on the wrong side of some Hackers for Reasons, and they use the power of the Internet to destroy her life. The drama comes from the fact that since the assault is Online, her antagonists are basically everywhere yet nowhere. At the time, this was clearly New Things Are Scary But We Don’t Really Understand Them, but I want to see if it’s any better now that technology has gotten its hooks into more things.

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Demolition Man

Demolition Man. Warner Bros. 1993.

Before watching the movie:

I get the sense that the 90s were a rough time for sci-fi movies, especially the early 90s. However, I can’t back that up with anything, and all the examples I can come up with are good.

I was never very interested in this movie as a killer vs. killer in the future action flick, but I’ve recently learned that it makes culture shock jokes about how society has changed, which is an interest of mine. I like to think about how the future will get us wrong, and otherwise how foreign it would probably be.

As an action sci-fi this never stood out. As a sci fi action comedy, Demolition Man might actually be a fun experience. Continue reading