Love & Other Drugs

Love ain’t it grand? You meet someone, they catch your eye, and turn your world upside down. You just can not get them out of your head forcing you to take a chance on an individual that you may not have taken a chance on in the first place because they captivated your imagination.  For many of us this is the most elusive of all things in finding someone who we can love unconditionally without reservations, and by some miracle they actually love you right back with the same zest for you that you have for them. And that quest or search if you will for the one person with whom you can love and love unconditionally has led us all down sorted different paths with great triumph and at times tragedity yet we still pursue love hoping for the best every step of the way. In the film “Love & Other Drugs” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway we find a brilliantly talented yet underachieving Jamie Harper wasting away selling electronics, partying, and picking up chicks. Your archetypical slacker ladiesman, charming, smart, and underachieving with just enough charisma to fool women into giving a relationship with him a shot. Maybe they think they can “fix him” maybe they think he’ll stick around and not just use and abuse them but they’re wrong.  Then you have his quirky love interest in struggling artist Maggie Murdock, the troubled young twenty soomething suffering from Parkinson’s disease who can barely get by on a day to day basis. Her relationship problem is her outright refusal to commit so that no one will be attached to her or know the most intimate details of her disease. So the moment that they meet each other there is a spark, but she refuses to act on it and like the smooth playboy unuse to rejection Jamie doggedly pursues Maggie until she gives into him.

I found this movie very interesting in the contrasts of characters between the very sauve and debboaire Jamie, and the brilliant and unsteady Maggie.  It was almost as if  they were each others mirrors into the others souls. Maggie’s unchalance more of a front and Jamie’s noncomittal a defense mechanism inwhich they both could just coast through life a shell of themselves, not achieving that which is their best in life but getting by. Maggie a talented painter toils away at a coffee shop going through the motions whilst the smart yet uninspired Jamie goes from odd job to odd job skating through life and BAM they shine a light on the areas they are lacking in. The noncomittal Jamie must committ and the nonconfrontational Maggie must confront that which truly holds her back. As they do this throughout the film they continue to grow together as individuals and it does make you want to pull for them as they chug along in their journey. Finding those people in your life no matter if they’re your significant other or a dear friend who always seem to have that effect on you that they deeply move you and make you improve or change your ways are rare to find. When you find them you hold onto it and you fight for the relationship no matter what, and seeing Jamie fight throughout the film for Maggie, for them, and for his own soul in a sense kept me interested.

We all strive to get the approval for others in everything that we do because we want the status that comes with it. We want them to say “job well done” and tell us that we’ve finally “made it” even when we kill ourselves in the process. This rings true with Jamie constantly wanting the approval of his parents and to be pleasing to them. For many of us, this is the same as we strive to achieve greater, and greater things not so much as to do them for ourselves or to help others but only to get the approval of others we can never seem to please. As time goes on we see a change in Jaime and I would say that I enjoy the film and watching his journey evolve.

My Current 2009 Movie Rankings

Fall is officially here and I’m bummed out that I’ve not been able to hit the theaters and catch any new movies. But Luckily enough Winter, Spring, and Summer of 2009 I saw more than my fair share of movies. So I’m going to go ahead and rank the ones that I’ve seen this year from best to worst.

1. District 9
2. 500 Days of Summer
3. Taken
4. Star Trek
5. Up
6. The Hangover
7.Duplicity
8. I Love You Man
9. Julie & Julia
10. Funny People
11. Revolutionary Road(released wide in January 2009)
13.Drag Me to Hell
14. The Watchmen
15. Confessions of a Shopaholic
16. Bride Wars
17. Obsessed
18. Wolverine
19. Transformers II: Rise of the Fallen
20. Next Day Air
21. Madea Goes to Jail

There are a few movies that I haven’t seen that I would like to see like The Proposal, The Hurt Locker, and Moon that are going to be out on DVD soon. So my rankings by the end of the year will expand and shift but off the 20 new releases I’ve seen this years these are the best from top to bottom these are the best to worst.

Why I love my top 5?

1. District 9:
I love this movie because it forces you to think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. It forces you to look at humanity as a whole and how we treat others who are different from us, or act differently from us. The sharp, biting parallyl of the Aparthid in South African with the Aliens and the ongoing butchering warfare with the Nigerians placing the stranded aliens in the shanty town shakes and herding them like cattle. Just like the conditions in South Africa during the aparthid and alot of refugee camps all over Africa today.

The Main character Wickus is non-symphatic. As a matter of fact he’s the bad guy, and he’s forced to selfishly helpout the aliens he so gladly and gleafully oppresses. The growing trust in the aliens and him going out of his way to help them not only because it’s the right thing to do but first because he had something to gain and how as he changed into one of them he was forced to endure the same hardship, persecution, and hatred they had to endure pushed this movie over the edge for me.

This was great movie experience. Alot of culture, great science fiction elements, and high drama. When this comes out on DVD if you did not catch this in the theaters please go check it out. By far the best film I’ve seen all year.

2. 500 Days of Summer:
Summer Fynn does not believe in love, Tom Hanson does. And once they meet sparks fly, they hit it off, and begin a wild up and down love affair that takes place over the course of about a year and a half. Summer is every modern man’s supposed dream girl, the girl who is not into committment, and just wants to have fun and enjoy the moment. While Tom is a nice guy, who believes that once he finds “the one” he’ll be blissfully chillin’ in paradise with his main squeeze. This has everything that your typical Romantic Comedy  has in the difficult woman who the sappy down on his luck nice guy falls for and eventually gets. What I love about this movie is that it doesn’t go down this route and sets up and then defies all your cliche’ Romantic Comedy conventions.

As time goes on Tom agonizes over Summer’s Aloof, flighty attitude about the relationship wanting to enjoy all the benefits of exclusivity without being exclusive. Everythings begins to come together as things unravel and the story unfolds in a unique non-linear beginning to end way. As it jumps from different day to different day in a non-sequentical way. All woven together masterfully telling the story of Tom’s undying love and Devotion of Summer and her constant waffling.

This is a dramatic comedy. As it explores the dynamics of a uneven relationship in a realistic and funny way. It has very subtle comedy that is more hit than miss and the ending of the movie is both heart breaking and uplifting. I recommend renting this one when it becomes available on DVD as well as this is without a doubt one the years best films. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are a perfect match and display great off beat chemistry in this refreshing film that realistically depicts the breakdown of a given love story.

3. Taken:

Bryan is an ex-CIA agent. He’s a divorcee who loves his daughter and hates being marginalized by his ex-wife, and her uber rich new Husband. He buys his daughter a Karaoke Machine because she’s an aspiring singer, the step dad buys her a horse. He can’t compete? He okays a trip to Europe with his daughters best friend. They land, they are targetted by illegal sex trade bad guys, and kidnapped. Marginalized B.A.M.F dad with mess you up operative skills to the rescue.

I Love this movie because it is hard hitting, fast paced, and straight to the point. It doesn’t mess around, it doesn’t skip a beat, and it is all about a fathers undying love for his daughter, proving that he’ll go to the ends of the earth to make sure she’s alright. If you love suspensive action flicks, then see this movie, go see it now, stop what you’re doing, and see this now.

It is set up great showing his love and attention to his daughters desires, her dreams, her goals, her aspirations. She wants to be a singer he knows it and he respects it while her mother thinks it is silly.  His non-stop determination to get his daughter back and his desire to save her and even her best friend sends him on a frenzied warpath. Every event has meaning there is no wasted motion.

I highly recommend this.

4. Star Trek:

We all know this franchise well. James T. Kirk and company most namely Mr. Spock, and Jim “Bones” McCoy. This JJ Abrams gem rewrites the story and gives it a new twist. Basically a newly recruited James T. Kirk has to stop killer Romulans who have traveled from an alternate reality with the old school people into the new reality with the new school people. With a Vendetta against Spock. They destroy planets and even killed Kirk’s father in a epic battle at the beginning of the film.

These bad guys must be stopped! Without giving away anything for those who haven’t seen it, this is the growth, the growing up process of Kirk where he becomes Captain Kirk. And I love this movie so much. It’s a warp speed ride and I had a ton of fun watching it. I’d highly recommend this for rental..

I like this movie because it takes a franchise that had been done to death, and breathed new life into it with similar, and outrageous circumstances to overcome from a different view. With an interesting, compelling villan, from the usual suspects. A great way to rewrite the franchise.

5. Up:

This was another great Disney/Pixar triumph. Starting with the beginning short about the clouds that create things. And going through the entire feature I had so many “God moments” where it seems funny that people come into your life, and they are a heaven sent blessing. From beginning to end, starting with the loss of his wife, and the regret of not having the great adventure. To meeting the kid who wants to spend time with him to going on the adventure he always wanted to with the kid and them tracking down his idol who wasn’t all he was cracked up to be.

It just was a great look at mortality and why we people unite, and why we unite, and come together. This movie made me laugh, cry, and think. In life we have people who make an impact on each other, and build us up who we love greatly. The illustration is beautifully orchestrated by the widower and his wife through flash backs, and how he is determined to go on this adventure. To a great “Ah ha” moment at the end of the movie which I won’t give away.

This is worth a rent for sure.

Well those are my top five..