The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Identity
Directed by Doug Liman
Written by Tony Gilroy and W. Blake Herron based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
(number 373)

I disliked this movie quite a lot when I first saw it back in 2002 because I found the violence a bit to realistic and it was uncomfortable. Also not a great treatment of the woman character? Maybe?

But the thing I really like about this movie, is that many years ago at Kapcon, I was part of a game called Being Matt Damon which Nick ran, and we all played different Matt Damon characters meeting up to save our buddy Ben Affleck. I was School Ties Matt Damon, Jon was Jason Bourne and he had a lot of the best lines of the game. We’d all be talking and trying to plan or whatever and he’d be like ‘I’m in Marrakesh! I’m taking down some terrorists. I call these guys.” and it was magical.

I watched this with Anna, who had never seen them before but as it’s a blockbuster was keen to give it a go. (I watch most of the weird stuff and war films without her.)

I love Franka Potente, by the way. This movie made me want to watch Run Lola Run a lot.

So, the movie is based around a central mystery: who is Jason Bourne? and once you know the whole mystery it’s pretty hard to be involved in the suspense. Maybe I just don’t like action movies enough. I certainly wasn’t taking it as seriously.

Jason: I just had a meeting as Jake Kane
Marie: I just saw Jake Kane’s body, in a morgue here in Paris. But if you’re Jake Kane..
Me: then who’s flying the plane?

I dunno, I guess this was groundbreaking at the time because it’s largely not a funny action movie. It’s deadly serious and all the men are very tough and the body count is very high. I don’t know. Because it was the first time Ludlum’s book was made into a movie. The violence is realistic.. or at least, it probably was at the time. I guess more movies got brutal after this one? Things like Batman Begins and… I dunno. Other brutal action flicks, they’re probably able to be made because of the success of this one.

Does it make me love the people? I mean, I love Franke Potente going in so she had an advantage. Yeah, I think generally she acts in a way that’s consistent with a modern woman, she doesn’t just accept shit from him, she questions him and outsmarts him at the hotel and generally is a useful character, couldn’t be replaced by a sexy lamp.

Bechdel test: No. We have Marie and Nicolette but they’re never in the same scene.

Best line:

State of Mind: Anna, five minutes before the end: what just happened? Who killed who?
Me: some guy… with a gun? shot someone.. and they died? I guess?
Anna: that could have been anyone in this film.

once the silly happy ending occurs, me: It’s over.
Anna: thank fucking god.

Generally I didn’t enjoy it this time but mostly because I felt unengaged in the suspense and generally bored with the action sequences. Anna was disappointed, she felt it had been hyped a lot because it was a great movie but she just didn’t like it.

Watched movie count

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
(number 433)

I have seen this movie once before and I think it was a very long time ago. I couldn’t remember much beyond what was parodied in Community.

I have a massive soft spot for these soft focus movies about fancy colleges/schools and the clean and tidy people who go to them. However this one is a weird examination of class and how important it is to subscribe to this idea that smart people are better and deserve to be more successful than the plain ordinary blue collar workers. It’s a little uncomfortable… especially when they’re talking about the honour in doing jobs like fixing cars and cleaning the university. It’s uncomfortable for me because to buy that point of view you have to think that some people are just better and more deserving than others, that the ones who are more deserving are smarter (by that I mean, academically smarter, because that’s what this movie is about), and I just don’t think that’s true. I don’t think being able to solve a mathematical equation makes you a better person.

Besides that there’s also the incredible whiteness of the movie. Which, you know, its not surprising but it’s uncomfortable when the whole ‘better and more deserving’ comes into it.

Matt’s Boston accent is come and go, we hear it on ‘a’s and not at any other time. He does well though, at playing this intelligent kid with insecurities. He’s eclipsed by Robin Williams as a broken psychology teacher/therapist. He has this beautiful line where he says “I know who I am, and I’m proud of what I do. It was a conscious choice, I didn’t fuck up! And you and your cronies think I’m some sort of pity case.” I really like that bit because it calls out one of the big issues I have with the movie, that you have to be in the accepted academic life to be a good person or successful or whatever.

Does it make me love the people? Yeah, this whole movie is about making you love everyone, especially Will and Sean. When they start to really connect it’s genuinely heartwarming, you are rooting for these characters and for them to overcome their personal demons which are stopping them making choices that may benefit them.

I have been complaining about the movie, but I do genuinely like it. It’s like easy listening music, you can put it on and watch or half watch and it’s just kind of relaxing and nice. It makes me want to watch School Ties and Dead Poet’s Society and maybe a Beautiful Mind as well.

Bechdel test: No, we have Skylar and another woman student called Cathy but they never speak. There’s an awful lot of men talking about women, Will about Skylar, Sean about his dead wife. But this is a very much male dominated movie.

Best line:
Sean: I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.

State of Mind: Way more Meeeeeehhhhh than I expected. Anna enjoyed it, though, and it is just a really good solid movie.

Watched movie count

True Grit (2010)

True Grit
Directed by Ethan and Joel Cohen
(number 482)

When I first saw this movie I loved it instantly. I told my mum about it and she said the original was one of the movies she went on a date with my dad too… so good. I love this movie because it’s a fantastic Western with a kick ass young female lead who takes no shit from the males. Well, unless she’s forced to.

Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges do excellently in this film but it’s Hailee Steinfeld who carries the movie, and she does it in an extremely competent manner. Her character is driven by revenge and she hires Rooster to come along and help her, LeBeouf comes along because it’s his job to track down the criminal as a Texas Ranger.

The film is an adventure, a journey, and beautifully filmed, beautifully acted. It’s melancholy but it’s also extraordinarily funny, lots of good lines. Especially once LeBeouf gets a tongue injury and Matt Damon has to act around the speech impediment.

Does it make me love the people? Definitely. Despite rocky beginnings the actions of Rooster and LeBeouf to protect Matty are heartwarming and Matty herself is an epic character. I adore her.

Bechdel test: Yeah, Matty speaks to the Boarding House Landlady about needing somewhere to sleep and later, complaining about Grandma Turner’s snoring.

Best line: “Never doubt a Texas Ranger! Ever Stalwart!”

State of Mind: Satisfied indeed. This movie is excellent on every viewing.

Oceans Eleven

Number 500 on the list.

A heist movie. Remake of a brat pack movie and a definitely vehicle for George Clooney, Brad Pitt and to a lesser extent Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts to be terribly cool.

Blair pointed out that Brad Pitt is almost always eating, which was pretty funny. He looked so young! And Matt Damon’s Linus was adorably goofy, especially when he had to wear a suit and be suave.

Overall it was a funny, fun movie.

I dunno if it’s one of the 500 best movies I’ve ever seen. It made me want to watch similar films like The Italian Job, Blues Bothers or Mission Impossible or something.

It’s hard not to be charmed though. I enjoyed it, I laughed, I was rooting for them. I just kinda feel like, it’s a bit forgettable. Maybe there’s been too many movies of this kind, maybe it was too self conscious of how cool it was?

Good start to the project though, it was cute, and I may watch it again some day. Maybe.