A week in film – 2016, week 48

For the first time in ages, I’ve got a wider mix of films to talk about than I have TV. This is partly because I haven’t watched The Flash or Supergirl for a bit – for no particular reason, other than forgetfulness – and partly because I’ve been lucky to have good company to watch films with.

Then again, as ever it seems natural to start with TV. It is somehow outrageous to me that, in a week where Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life came out, I haven’t yet had the chance to watch it. I’m still working my way through series four, though, and am almost reaching its conclusion – I was actually a lot further from the end than I thought. Rory and Dean remain a terrible, terrible idea. The whole Jason/Richard/Lorelai storyline is a lot more intense than I remembered. And Luke and Lorelai should be forever (in fact, part of me doesn’t want to watch A Year In The Lifin case they aren’t). Gilmore Girls remains the televisual equivalent of a hot chocolate and a biscuit, and when it’s so damn dark and cold outside after work, there’s basically nothing else I’d want to watch.

Other comforting films include Paddington, 2014’s stand-out masterwork. Paddington, in my opinion, is one of the finest films about inclusivity and community ever made. It is optimistic, kind-hearted, and warm. It’s also ludicrously funny; about as madcap and as offbeat as a film about a small, talking Peruvian bear travelling to London should be. I love this film with a great deal of my heart, and it’s become irrevocably associated with the run-up to Christmas since its release. I’d encourage any fan of joy to see it.

It was a bit of a shift, then, to traipse out of the house on Thursday night to go and see Arrival, Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi. It was when I finally figured out what was happening in the film that it clicked for me. Unfortunately for me, however, this moment came about two-thirds through the film. Not an unintelligent person ordinarily, I feel one right now – this fantastic, original, insightful take on time, and humanity, and language is worth anyone’s patience, but it took a while to gel with me. This could be because I saw it during one of the most stressful weeks of my working and personal life, and I wasn’t totally awake. This could also be because I am, on first watch at least, a completely passive viewer. When it did click, though, Arrival slammed up a gear. An alien invasion – although invasion isn’t the right word – that’s so little about the invasion, but about intellect and solving puzzles. A lesson in linguistics. A story about time. Looking back on it and realising where it’s going has enhanced it so much more.

Oh, and Mean Girls. Mean Girls doesn’t feel like it can be mentioned in the same class as the Gilmore Girls and the Paddingtons of the world because it’s not really comforting, nor is it life-affirming. But I’d say that, for twentysomethings, Mean Girls is a defining film. It’s ceaselessly quotable – and ceaselessly quoted (‘There’s a thirty percent chance that it’s already raining!’) – and effortlessly watchable, as Lindsay Lohan’s formerly home-schooled protagonist gets swept up in the drama of an American high school. It’s got its problems, but it’s still a modern classic, and it is exactly the sort of film that should be watched as I watched it this Friday night – eating pizza, with my favourite people.



2 thoughts on “A week in film – 2016, week 48

  1. georgeseabrookwrites says:

    Oh my god, I actually watched Mean Girls this week too, and I watched Arrival last Sunday! If you want to get spoilery about the latter, I’m really curious how it wasn’t gelling for you – was it the flashbacks that weren’t making sense, the really odd inclusion of the aliens in one sequence which seemed to signal it was a dream? It’s a magnificent film, but once the “twist” happens (which doesn’t really make itself completely clear until the final five minutes I think), it completely changes how you see everything that comes before.

    You should really catch up on Supergirl and The Flash though – the newest Flash episode is about Killer Frost, and this week there is a FOUR-WAY CROSSOVER HOLY SHIT BALLS!

    • Em Spurling says:

      I think my problem with Arrival was that, because of the type of film I watch generally (and admittedly the mood I was in when I went to see it), I was expecting it to be a completely different film. I hadn’t read anything about it – I know – and I’m generally unsettled by invasion movies, so I was watching the entire thing expecting to be disconcerted by it and was confused when I wasn’t. When I did put the twist together – a little bit before it was confirmed – it really did change my perception, and I like it the better for it.

      I’ve just watched Supergirl and The Flash, so I’m about to draft something!

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