Here's a brief look at two movies I watched over the weekend:
The Soloist - Based on a true story, Robert Downey Jr. plays LA Times columnist Steve Lopez and Jamie Foxx stars as Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man living on the streets of downtown LA. Ayers is a musical prodigy who attended Juliard before being overcome by a mental illness and ultimately dropping out. He plays his cello where ever he can and Lopez stumbles upon him one day and writes a story about him. Along the way, Lopez and Ayers form a very unlikely yet unbreakable bond as Lopez tries to get Ayers off the streets.
This movie was pretty awesome. Emotional and gripping at times, it also gave a pretty hardcore look at how the homeless in the worst parts of downtown LA live which is a real eye opener. I listened to this book on CD and loved it, so I was a little disappointed at how quickly the film version moved. RDJ does a really great job and his chemistry with Foxx makes their onscreen relationship really engaging. Two thumbs up.
Paper Heart - Charlyne Yi (you'll recognize her from a brief cameo in "Knocked Up") doesn't believe in love and doesn't think she'll ever find it. So she sets out to film a documentary about love: what is it, why do people believe in it, how do you know if you're in it or not? Along the way she meets Michael Cera who she begins a relationship with, thus questioning everything she thought about love.
This movie was just so-so for me, mainly because I had no idea that this was literally real life going into it. Did anybody else know this? The parts following her make the documentary are really interesting and the people she interviews are awesome. So then apparently the cameras are on hand as she meets Michael Cera for the first time and so the story shifts to include her entering this relationship with him.
I felt uncomfortable watching Yi and Cera navigate through the awkwardness that is the first stages of dating. I felt like I was eavesdropping on something I shouldn't be watching. It doesn't help that the two of them are pretty awkward as it is, thus making for several uncomfortable laughs and silences. Also, because I really thought that this was a fictional movie, I kept asking myself "Is this real life?" and I struggled with understanding what was happening every time they showed the Yi-Cera portions of the movie. Two thumbs sideways.
P.S. I downgraded my cable to super basic to save some money for the next few months so I will be doing a much better job of actually watching the Netflix movies I get in a timely fashion.