Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Turning Point

I usually consider myself to be a cynic when it comes to movies; it's a rare occasion for me to go to the theater or flip on the TV and actually enjoy any of those sloppily-made films we're subjected to these days. I'm just not that easily entertained! Yet since I've started this challenge, I feel like a little kid amazed by everything it sees. The greatness which I thought rested in just a few movies across history apparently resides in nearly every film I've seen so far, and probably many of the ones I'm still to see. I think I reached the turning point in this challenge tonight: it's not so much a chore to watch one of these movies every night, but an exciting adventure into the rich world of cinematic history.

I actually almost turned on the waterworks during tonight's Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)...the emotions are that high. Expecting to tune into a comedy (though in hindsight, I don't really know what gave me that idea), I was surprised to encounter this pointed divorce tale, featuring young Dustin Hoffman in his Oscar-winning turn as Ted Kramer and young Meryl Streep in the performance that secured her second-ever Oscar nomination as JoAnna Kramer. Guided by a light hand, the film starts out as an endearing journey of father-son bonding, but eventually drifts into the heavy territory of a bitter custody battle. From tickling scenes of Billy's (Justin Henry) first bike ride in the park to the tense drama of the court room, Kramer makes sure to steal your whole heart before it lets up. Most of this is due to Hoffman's incredible presence as he flawlessly portrays a man's change from egocentric workaholic to father-of-the-year through his long string of parental mistakes and precious successes. Maybe this movie went over so well with me because, due to my own parents' divorce, I could relate...or maybe it was just a phenomenal film all on its own.

With so many more movies out there to watch, I find myself reaching blindly into the bag, so to speak, and pulling out a random film each night just to cross titles off my list. If anybody actually reads this and has any suggestions for what should come next, I'd be more than happy to take some!

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