Tuesday, April 7, 2020

MOONLIGHT (2016)

"At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you gonna be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you."

One fateful day, drug dealer, Juan (Mahershala Ali) is out on the street checking in with one of his sellers.  As he's walking back to his car, he sees a group a young boys chasing a smaller lone boy.  They say some extremely hateful stuff as they run by.  Most people wouldn't think too much of it, but Juan follows the boys and finds the lone boy, Chiron Harris, hiding in an old boarded up crackhouse.  He takes Chiron under his wing.  That doesn't turn out too well, but it does set into motion a safe place for Chiron to go when things get too bad at home or at school.  Which seems to be most of the time.

I don't want to get too much into the story of MOONLIGHT since the story itself and the way the story is presented is one of the many, many great things about this film.  Honestly, the best thing I can recommend, is don't read up on the movie...just watch it.  Put your goddamn phone down and pay attention to the film.  Think about the story, put yourself in Chiron's (and/or any of the other characters) shoes and then, afterward, simply reflect on it.  It's an extremely rewarding experience.  MOONLIGHT is one of those rare films that opens up so many different thoughts in your head.  I cannot identify with Chiron physically, but some of his mental scars really, really hit home with me.  As painful as it was to acknowledge and think about, just knowing that there's a beautifully made movie that reflects some of my own internal issues was very comforting.

MOONLIGHT is one of the best films that I've seen in a very long time. Highly recommended.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959)

"We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives."

An elderly man, still mourning the recent passing of his late wife, is killed in a car accident.  Mourners leaving his funeral find the mutilated corpses of two graveyard workers.  The police are called and soon even more bodies start to pile up.  At the same time, two commercial airplane pilots report seeing an unidentified flying object, but the government covers it up.  These two events might not seem related, but they are!  You see, advanced extraterrestrials have been watching Earth for a very long time.  As we became more and more advanced.  Inventing the atom bomb, then the hydrogen bomb, but now...humans are on the verge of inventing the Solaranite bomb which will explode sunlight itself and, of course, the Universe!  The aliens have tried multiple times (I'm guessing 8?) to contact us, but The Man always covers it up, so they've moved on down to Plan 9: zombies!

The most surprising thing that first time viewers will discover about PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is it's not that bad of a film!  It's honestly just low budget and rough around the edges.  The story itself is entertaining and funny, the pace is good and the acting...well, the acting is pretty stiff, but it's still enjoyable.  The lieutenant's pistol handling skills alone are worth the price of admission!   Yeah, the sets look cheap, but the stuff like the microphone shadows and edges of props is because the film was shot for the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, but all of the home video releases (as of 4/2020) have been in 1.33:1.  So, the viewer ends up seeing things that were not meant to be seen.

As it is though, I still love P9FOS.  It's such a weird movie and it's 100% Ed Wood.  Nobody else in the Universe could have made PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.  That should at least stand for something.  Ed only made a handful of good films, but goddamn, are they unique and charming.  And I think that is the best way to describe PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE: charming.  As any observant Happyotter reader has probably noticed, I have been having a very bad time recently.  Actually "very bad" would be putting it lightly.  I think, "the single most absolute worst moment of my entire life" would...still be putting it lightly.  Unfortunately, this moment is completely out of my hands.  All I can do is wait off to the side with support and love in my heart.  Will time heal this?  I hope so.  That would be nice, but for now I occupy my handsome brain with diet, exercise, reading, cardio, improving myself (emotionally, physically and mentally) and watching charming films that give me comfort.  Like PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.

I'm sure that ol' Ed never thought about his film giving some brokenhearted stud comfort in the far off year of 2020, but it did and I am grateful for that.  Thank you, Ed.  Hopefully, my silly ramblings on Happyotter can give somebody out there comfort and happiness.  Even if for just a few moments.  You deserve it.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to mention that I would absolutely love to see a 100% serious retelling of Ed's original Plan 9 story.  I'm talking serious like ARRIVAL or something like that.  I honestly think, in the correct hands, this story could be straight up awesome!!!