Those of you who already enjoy HBO and Showtime will not be particularly impressed with my latest discovery- lesser known movies are just as entertaining as the big guns. We got fed up with cable a while back and signed up with Dish, which is not always perfect, but better. The special when we signed up was three months of free HBO and Showtime, which we did not subscribe to on cable, and when the trial period was over, we decided to keep it, which, of course, was what Dish had in mind all along.
But anyway, now I have myriad movies at my disposal. And what I have discovered are movies that never made the big time, but are quite capable of keeping me entertained just the same. I made the mistake of watching during the heat of the day this summer, and now I am hooked. The thing is, HBO and Showtime and their kind give me thing chance to watch movies that I would most likely not choose to pay box office prices for, but which turn out to be a pleasant enough way to pass a couple of hours.
Well, duh, you are thinking, where has this person been all these years? Not watching that much cable TV, it turns out. I love movies, but at this stage of our lives, I find we go less and less to the movies and do other things instead. But now with Dish, when the weather keeps me in or the big networks offer nothing but reruns or stupid reality shows, I have started watching movies. Not the blockbusters that have name recognition and many times don’t live up to their hype, but little movies that someone wanted to make anyway. And I have been pleasantly surprised.
Some of them, like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” were sleepers and did quite well at the box office anyway. That one we did see at the theater, but I enjoyed it again on TV. But then there was “My Life in Ruins,” which I had not heard of, which was set in Greece, with the same star, Nia Vardalos, and I found it to be just as entertaining and fun as the Wedding movie.
I just watched “500 Days of Summer,” which the critics liked, but the movie faded away. It was different, like on a split screen the expectation of the main character would be shown on one side and the reality of the situation on the other side, and much like real life, reality seldom matches the expectation.
Then there was “Saving Silverman,” a totally throw-away Jack Black movie that made me laugh just the same. The main characters were all huge Neil Diamond fans and they used that in their quest to save their friend from marrying the wrong girl. I also watched Jack Black’s “School of Rock” and enjoyed his relationship with the kids at the school where he pretended to be the substitute teacher and actually taught the kids something.
“Larger Than Life” was about Bill Murray inheriting an elephant from his father and what he wound up doing with the elephant. He and the elephant travel cross-country in totally unrealistic fashion, but it was fun and the movie ended nicely.
Then there was “17 Again,” which I have watched more than once. I like Matthew Perry and I’ll admit it, that Zack Efron is a cutie. This movie was of course, totally unrealistic-getting to go back and relive high school again- but haven’t we all wished, on a down day that we could have another crack at it? I laughed out loud when the teenage Mike discovered that he had flat abs again without even trying and that he didn’t know why but he was hungry all the time. Mothers of teenage boys know about that-just try to keep one fed.
The last movie I watched was “Cherie,” which came out in 2009, but I had never heard of it. This one ends sadly but it was beautiful to watch and interesting because it was taken from a novel by Colette and set in pre-World War I France during what was known as the Belle Epoque period and centered around the life of a rich and beautiful courtesan who takes on another courtesan’s son to teach him about love and women. They dressed a really slender Michelle Pfeiffer in these perfectly gorgeous gowns and elaborately beautiful hats and they all lived in the lap of luxury-she has a maid that does every little thing for her-so it was a peek into a world few of us would ever experience.
Not every movie I have watched or will watch will be entertaining and fun, of course. There are plenty of bummers out there, like “Four Christmases” that I watched the other day. For my taste, it was full of unpleasant characters, including stars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, and the story was mean-spirited and not funny. But I didn’t have to pay box office price for it, either.
Now I check the program guide first to see what I might watch while doing things at my desk, where I have the TV and computer side by side, like writing this blog or working on scrapbooks or whatever. The trouble is, though, I used to get lots of things done during the ads on regular TV as well as follow the show while working on something else. Now I find myself sitting in front of the TV, hands resting quitely on the keyboard, completely involved in the movie, and multi-tasking not one iota.
But multi-tasking has lost favor as of late, the experts saying that when multi-tasking, one of the tasks suffers in quailty. So to finish this post, I actually turned off the TV.
And now that I am through, I think I’ll check the program guide…