Films on Planes: parts 4 through 6 - The Boys are Back (2009), The Young Victoria (2009), Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2009)

Ahh planes... for some the aeroplane represents mans ability to achieve one of its most primeval dreams. The desire to fly was first embedded within us when our earliest ancestors first gazed upon the majestic flight of birds. From Icarus to Superman, there lies within our collective unconsciousness the urge to conquer the skies. The plane not only represents our ability to fulfill this urge but also our mastering of machine.

For others, such as myself, the plane is a floating hallway that gets you from point A to point B, with the time in-between being nothing more than a marathon to see how many free drinks you can down, how many warm cup of nuts you can score, and see how long you can keep your eyes open through the in-flight film.

This is parts 4 through 6 of an ongoing series:

Flight: Miami to Toronto
Film: The Boys Are Back
Director: Scott Hicks
Class: Business (the only way to fly)
Drink: Whiskey sodas
Meal: Beef quesadilla

I didn't know much about The Boys are Back when i tuned the radio to the English audio track. Basically it's a straight forward drama about a man (Clive Owen) raising two children alone after his wife dies of cancer. I think if you watch TBAB knowing that it's based on a true story then you may get more out of it than i did. I, however, found this out after my viewing and found myself easily distracted with anything else while watching this by-the-numbers drama. At the very least it has the most substance out of the films I have seen so far in the air but that didn't stop me from falling asleep halfway through my second double whiskey soda. I awoke to a scene in the film where the eldest son who offered to take care of the younger son so Clive Owen can go away on a work trip was having a raging party in Clive Owen's beach house. Soon the party gets out of hand and is crashed by some mean Aussies who rip apart the house and the boys hide out in a closet and cry. Clive Owen gets a phone call while away from a neighbor and heads back home to find the boys in their care. The eldest son gets angry at Clive and decides to move back to England where he was in school. Maybe i missed a few points but this pissed me off to no end. Clive Owen trusted this ginger headed Brit jerk off and the kid throws a party for Aussie punks the first night and then goes off on Clive Owen for being a bad father!? Well i say no, Clive was being a terrific Dad, you were the jerk-off, so screw you British child, and screw this movie.
I switched to the Maltshoppe classics station, stared out over the Eastern seaborne and sang in time with Dusty "Just wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin', plannin' and dreamin' his kiss is the start, that won't get you into his heart ...."
Flight: Toronto to Orlando
Film: The Young Victoria
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Class: Business-Like
Drink: Bloody Marys (What do you expect it was the red eye)
Meal: Pancakes and sausage

What can be said about The Young Victoria that hasn't been said? Plenty. Actually this one is kind of a write off, the audio was playing in my headphones but i was much more concerned with getting my drinks refilled and when breakfast would be ready. From what I could gather this film is about a young Queen Victoria and her relationship with Prince Albert. Albert is played by the guy who hung himself in Milk.
I found out that i look like this guy when i use a certain effect on my webcam. See:
Oh wait.. i just double checked and he isn't actually in this movie. Still isn't it weird i look like this guy?
The guy who made CRAZY made this, and it really doesn't show at all. This is a safe and easy flick, where not too much happens. It plays much like a trashy romantic novel, it's not bad but hell, was it ever boring for me. I don't particularly have an interest in the time period or the history but if it's up your alley i'm sure there's a wealth of great times to be had with this picture. So in summary; someone gets shot, people stand up and say "God save the Queen", Victoria acts like a brat, Paul Bettany looks awesome, and it ends with a few text screens that wrap up the story but i couldn't read them because the screens on the plane were too damn small so i have no idea what happens at the end. Can someone fill me in? Does she invade France?

I sensually switched to the oldies station and rocked out with Edie Money overlooking the state of Atlanta "I've got two tickets to paradise, won't you pack your bags, we'll leave tonight, I've got two tickets to paradise, I've got two tickets to paradise.oh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh oh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh"
Flight: Orlando to Toronto
Film: Did You Hear About The Morgans?
Director: Marc Lawrence
Class: Business suits
Drink: Double vodka sodas
Meal: Philly cheese calzone

Ok, so what does it say about me that i actually watched this one in its entirety? I think it has more to do with the fact that this was a night flight and there was no way i was gonna doze off. So, when the stewardess announced this gem would be playing shortly i ordered two double vodka sodas more and got ready for the experience of a waste of time. To say the jokes in DYHATM? miss their intended marks isn't fair, the issue is there aren't many jokes at all. There were a few times where i chuckled aloud at Hugh Grant looking like a British buffon, with my female co-passenger shooting me deadly glances whenever i would guffaw.
My biggest gripe with this film is that the premise of people forced into the witness protection program and at first they hate it but then become stronger because of it was probably the premise of one episode of every sitcom i watched growing up. They did it in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, they did it in The Simpsons, they did it in Perfect Strangers, they did it in Family Matters, they did it in King of the Hill and they all did it within 30 minutes. So, what can this film do with the same story and 100 minutes? Well a hell whole lot worse than those sitcoms did it. To be fair Sam Elliot is in this and he's always a lot of fun to watch. Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker would make the ugliest babies and make the least believable couple of all time. I really hoped the killer would catch them and be done with it. Gave me the same feeling of frustration i had when i was younger and watching cartoons really wanting that coyote to get that god damn roadrunner.
I fuzzed it all out during the end credits, took a glance at the glittering lights below and guessed we were over New York. Tuned into a classic rock station and sang softly into the dark void of night "Carry on my wayward son, there'll be peace when you are done, lay your weary head to rest, don't you cry no more...."

Disclaimer: The planes i've been taking don't have the option to choose what you want to watch, as i hear many planes have now. If i could choose what i wanted to watch you best believe it wouldn't be the titles i have seen so far. I was thinking about what the similarities may be with all these films and why they are shown to airplane passengers and it's because all of these films fall into the same genre; safe. All the films so far in this series are the equivalent of kindergarten glue; try as hard as you want but you'll never get high off of it. What attracts me to cinema is how unsafe it can be, how it can push boundaries; in turn the power of one film can change the views of society. All of us at The Film Buff, or at least the contributors to this blog, are obsessed with unsafe, unprotected, daring film. Society, however, is not. These films are shown not because they'll relax you or entertain you, they are shown to not offend you. The films, much like airline food and service, is not meant to serve you the person but you the people. It's when you notice that you are offended by what's not suppose to, that's when we become persons. Homogeneity be damned.... but damn do I love those warm cups of nuts mmmmmm....


Britarded said...

Damn you've seen some shite on these planes. And not even business class gives you any options? I was lucky enough when i went to England (I flew working class) to have those new touch screen one's with about 40 films to choose from. Unfortunately I opted to watch True Lies purely because it was Cameron and I'd never seen it. Utter shite of course. Then I watched A single man, which had some strengths but was really just a saddening drama about being dead, gay or dead gay whilst Julianne Moore wants your body. I went back to watching episodes of Thick of it on my PSP. God bless technology. God bless piracy.
Interesting point you make about what is "safe" for everyone to watch. I noticed now with these personal screens there are kids sat next to adults watching r18 rated films etc. I couldn't help but smirk as the guy sat next to me shifted uncomfortably in his chair during every gay love scene in A single man. Priceless. laterrrrz

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