Decent Films Mail > Mailbag #14

Re: Up (2009)

Thank you for your “final thoughts” on the real role of the house in Up. There was something about the house’s relationship with Carl I didn’t quite get at the time (possibly because I was holding a 2-year-old on my lap, and the moment of the great house-purging occurred just as he — the 2-year-old — ran out of cherry icee — otherwise, he sat through the entire thing in rapt attention), but your comments on how [spoiler alert] the house became a burden to be dragged around and Carl’s piecemeal attempts to rid himself of it before realizing it was a real life-trap made the whole movie click for me.

And, for what it’s worth, I was one of the guys who cried in the theater (probably the only time during the movie I was glad we’d seen it in 3‑D … those tinted buddy holly glasses are good for something). Not too many animated movies deal with the unsharable grief of a miscarriage (and certainly none with that degree of economy and emotional precision).

But then, I cried in Cars (and every other Pixar movie), too, when Route 66 gets bypassed and Radiator Springs becomes a forgotten ghost town, so maybe I’m just a sucker for a good story.

For what it’s worth, I was distracted at my Up screening by a late arrival at the exact moment between the Fredricksons decorating the nursery and the shot of Ellie sitting alone outside in her grief … so I had to sort of piece that together the first time.

Cars is one Pixar film I don’t cry for. But I actually choked up recently during, I kid you not, Galaxy Quest, during the scene in which Alan Rickman’s alien groupie is dying and Rickman actually says, “By Grabthar’s hammer, you shall be avenged.” He loathes that line. But it meant such a lot to the dying alien. Silly as it is, that motif of generosity toward the dying plucked a heartstring for me. Plus Rickman is just such a great actor, he really sells it.

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Review: Galaxy Quest (1999)

B | *** | +0| Teens & Up

Besides satirizing Star Trek’s fan base, Galaxy Quest also takes aim both at the absurdities of the show itself and also at the behind-the-scenes reality. Most of the obvious Trek conventions are targeted: the principle that any extraneous character on an away mission always dies; the shipwide crisis that requires crew members to crawl through endless ducts; the isolation of the captain on a hostile planet where he must do hand-to-hand combat with an alien monster.

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