This is the time of year that the Naked Chicken loves to go to the movies. All the fun stuff comes out between September and December. Here are a few movies that the Chicken looks forward to and hopes are good:
Corpse Bride -- I love Tim Burton. I shouldn't. I don't know why I do. Maybe it's my unrelenting attraction to nerdy guys rearing it's nerdy-sexy head again. But I just think he's funny and kinda dopey and his stuff works for me. I really enjoyed The Nightmare Before Christmas, and recently Charlie and the Chocolate Factory salvaged a fairly dismal moviegoing summer, so I kind of owe him. Voice talent by Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (who knew she had so much fun in her, anyway) is an appealing notion as well. I can only hope that we haven't seen the best of this movie in the ubiquitous television trailers. Release date: Currently in limited release
The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio: This one I'm least sure about. I saw an interview with Terri Ryan, the woman who wrote the book on which this is based, and it seems intriguing. In the 50's television and it's advertising were in their infancy, and America was just starting to fall in love with the medium. The Ryan family of Defiance, Ohio is no exception. Evelyn Ryan (Julianne Moore), mother of ten and wife of underachiever Leo (Woody Harrelson), struggles to keep the family fed and clothed in the face of bill collectors and repo men. She begins to enter the ever-present jingle contests on television, and, lo and behold, she has found her calling. As she continues to win ever more fabulous gifts and prizes, Leo becomes more and more resentful, seeing every victory prize as something he couldn't give her. He sulks and simpers and explodes, alternately, every time she wins. Truth be told, it was one line in the trailer that made me want to see this movie. Leo is hugging Evelyn and he tells her, "I just want to make you happy." And she says, "I don't need you to make me happy. I just need you to leave me alone when I am." Hear, hear, sister. Release date: September 30, 2005
Elizabethtown - Orlando Bloom. Kirsten Dunst. What's not to love? Okay, a lot, potentially. But under the direction of Cameron Crowe from his own script? Now, I ask you... what's not to love? Fast Times at Ridgmont High, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky.... oops... went one too far, didn't I? Oh, come on. It's been a while since we've seen an amusing romantic comedy. I'm not sure why this appeals to me so much. Perhaps because Tom Cruise isn't in it. I was desperate for a little romantic comedy this summer. Neither Bewitched (blech, pew) nor Broken Flowers (terrific, but dark) filled the void. Let's go see this together and hope it all comes out in the end. Release date: October 14, 2005
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- I've told every one of my book hound friends, including my own daughter, that I'll start reading the books when Number 7 is released, so I don't have to wait forever from one book to the next. That's the truth, too. But there's another truth here, one that I keep to myself. I kind of don't want the books to interfere with the movies at this point. I have an investment in this Harry, not the novelized Harry. I have a relationship with these children, with these wizards, with this Dobby. Nobody gets that. I'll read the damn books eventually. And I'll love them. But for now, just let me love these children, this Hagrid, these Weasleys. The trailers for this movie are captivating, because they flash through all three previous movies, allowing you to see how far these children have come, how much they've grown and changed. I am so looking forward to this movie, and I hope it doesn't disappoint me. (Prisoner of Azkaban wasn't so good, I'm afraid.) Release date: November 18, 2005.
Brokeback Mountain - This film is based on the amazing short story by Annie Proulx, and tells the story of Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Heath Ledger), two very masculine young cowhands who find themselves drawn to each other in a relationship that moves through friendly rivalry to friendship to a profound and abiding love in a time and place (Wyoming in the early 60s) when such a relationship can simply never be. The short story from Proulx's collection, Close Range: Wyoming Stories, is written with a gruff tenderness that completely lacks sentimentality and melodrama. Proulx's simple, straightforward storytelling style and her decision to keep the focus on a love so deep that it lasts decades keeps the story from being salacious or, worse, sappy. My hope for the movie is that it avoids those same traps. Release date: December 9, 2005
So, ever optimistic, the Naked Chicken launches into the fall movie season with a heart full of hope and a purse full of sour Jellie Bellies.