When I went away to college, I brought a ridiculous share of my DVD collection up with me, because I couldn't imagine not being able to watch one of my favorites whenever the mood struck. And whenever anyone wanted to get together and watch a movie, I always had plenty of options for them to choose from. It may not be the kind of college partying most people do, but I always loved the nights spent watching a movie in my dorm room with my friends, eating Chinese delivery food.
I hesitate to call anything I write about movies a 'review' because I feel like that puts the pressure on me to make an objective judgment about this movie, when all movies are so subjective. So instead, I'm just going to share some of my favorites with you, in the hopes that maybe a few of them might become your favorites as well.
For my first post, I'm going to talk about a DVD that's had quite a few spins in my player. It's also currently available on Netflix Instant. It's 'Strictly Ballroom':
Before Baz Luhrmann was remixing pop songs into love ballads for 'Moulin Rouge' and reimagining 'The Great Gatsby' with a hip-hop beat, his first film was just as loud, brash, and colorful, but on a much smaller budget. This film is actually an adaptation of a stage play developed by Baz, and apparently he's bringing it back to the stage next year in Sydney.
It plays with the same sweeping mythology that he always loves, this time coming from stories like David and Goliath, The Ugly Duckling, and Cinderella. Set in an Australian ballroom competition. Because the other thing Baz loves is sparkle and flair. Unlike his other films, however, this one doesn't have as much self-consciousness about that flair, it feels like it's only ever-so-slightly heightened from the level of drama normally found on the competitive dance floor.
That may be a really nice way of saying it's not pretentious. I love Baz and his over-the-top style, but I know it can be a bit dizzying for others. So don't dismiss this film if you're one of those people. For one thing, he didn't have the equipment for as many crazy camera moves and CGI.
There's a long tradition of the transformative power of dancing in film, from pulling Baby out of a corner in 'Dirty Dancing' to bringing Pat back to sanity in 'Silver Linings Playbook' more recently. This sweet romantic comedy holds its own, and I would consider it one of the best of the genre.
So that's it! Enjoy the movie, and remember: Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!