Posted by: Sally Ingraham | December 2, 2010

Movie Mayhem: November

Due to moving, for much of November I was only able to watch movies on my computer. Once the TV was unearthed, cable television quickly took over my viewing time in its usual distracting, unsatisfying way. There are some shows that I enjoy, and lots of Travel Channel and Discovery and Nat Geo programing is interesting and informative, but overall in spite of my tendency to get sucked into watching hours and hours of TV, I don’t actually like it much. It’s charm wears off rapidly, and at this point I definitely want to get the DVD player up and running – I’m just dying to watching a good movie!

Movie watching in November was not awesome…only US and mostly recent films, and almost without exception light and fluffy fare – things like What Happens in Vegas (Tom Vaughan-USA-2008), and Killers (Robert Luketic-USA-2010) which concluded my accidental Ashton Kutcher mini marathon…and Death at a Funeral (Neil LaBute-USA-2010) which is nowhere near as good as the totally rad British original from 2007…and my Sigourney Weaver evening which was composed of Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot-USA-1999) and Aliens (James Cameron-USA-1986), both movies I actually like quite a bit…

dragonSo what was good? Of the eight (only eight!!!) movies I watched in November only one was fantastic, and only one was a movie that was something from my TBW list – How to Train Your Dragon (Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders-USA-2010) and Arsenic & Old Lace (Frank Capra-USA-1944).

How to Train Your Dragon was easily one of the cutest, funniest movies I’ve seen all year. The dragons act so much like my cats! I found myself squirming with delight more than once for this reason. The dialog is pretty amusing, and the storyline is fairly original. Not a lot there to challenge the mind, but as you can probably tell from this months crop, I’m not always looking for that. Just an enjoyable movie all round.

peter lorreSlightly more challenging would be Arsenic & Old Lace. I found it a bit over-the-top, and Cary Grant’s acute astonishment at each jolt in the plot got almost annoying. Still, it was an amusing black comedy with a rather awesome performance from Peter Lorre – cripes, that guy is weirdly creepy! I need to go back and watch Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon again, amongst his other stuff (and I’ve been meaning to watch those two again anyway – last seen when I was 14 and fascinated with Bogart!) I think I would get a kick out of reading the play, which I always thought was an Agatha Christie piece – totally wrong there, as I now see it’s by Joseph Kesselring…

So what TV shows have been keeping me from watching movies? Mostly NCIS, Burn Notice, and How I Met Your Mother. Keeping my supply of guns and roses well stocked! Anyway, here’s hoping December will be a really interesting and eclectic month of movie watching. 🙂


  1. Have you seen M? Unbelievable movie. Lorre was one of the all-time great German actors. Hollywood had no idea what to do with him. We’re lucky to have in the movies you mention, but, boy, even those don’t do justice to his talent.

    • M is at the top of my Peter Lorre list at the moment. Any others you particularly recommend? His face is so fascinating – those eyes! I intend to do a little research on his career when I get a chance.

      • Great question! Answer: no. I am just parroting what I have read, which is based much more on Lorre’s theater work in Germany, much of it with Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weil.

  2. How to Train Your Dragon was a lot of fun.

    Like these Movie Mayhem posts. didn’t watch much at all in November either, but I am hoping to change that in December. Actually, for the New Year I want to get back into watching new to me films, instead of the comfort food (watch-agains) I seem to be indulging in lately.


    • I like watching movies almost as much as reading, and I’m usually more adventurous than I was in November. I definitely have my share of comfort movies that I watch on a regular basis, and I’m not particularly picky, but like you there are many new-to-me movies that I’m dying to watch.

  3. The dragon one sounds funny. As I have cats too I might like it.
    M is a great movie. I love Casablanca. This and Picnic at Hanging Rock are probably the movies I watched most in my life. Normally I don’t re-watch a lot. When it comes to TV series I like some of the recent British ones, like Whitechapel. Best crime show I have ever seen. But too short. Only some 3 episods per series. Have heard of the somewhat older Red Dwarf? Sci-Fi nonsense. It is so funny. And there is a guy in it playing a cat…
    If you dont know it yet, have a look. (Cat appears towards the end)

  4. Oh my God, what did I do! I didn’t think it would appear like this. Soooo sorry.

    • No worries – funny clip. I liked it and will probably check it out more. I’ll also have to look up Picnic at Hanging Rock – never heard of it. Thanks for the tips! I always welcome them. 🙂

  5. The whole Red Dwarf series is hilarious. Takes a bit of getting into, the first two-three episodes, but then many are funnier than this. Picnic at Hanging Rock is one of Peter Weir’s first, when he was still in Australia. Long before Master & Commander. It’s an eerie story of girls who get lost on the Hanging Rock. A very dreamlike movie. Period drama as well.

    • Just put your Peter Weir recommendation on my Netflix list – and after reading through the descriptions of Weir’s work I put a 1/2 dozen of his other movies on my list as well. Looks like interesting stuff.

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