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Recommendation: Thank You For Smoking, Lucky # Slevin

November 27, 2008

When I called my dad and told him that I was coming to town for Thanksgiving, he told me bring a few movies along that I might want to share with the rest of the family. Because what better to do on Turkey Thursday–after you’ve eaten yourself comatose–then to sit around with people you love (or at least tolerate) and watch something entertaining.

Two of the (eight) movies I brought were: Thank You For Smoking and Lucky # Slevin

This is merely a small sampling of the movies I have on my shelf, but not a bad place to start.

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Title: Thank You For Smoking

[Rent this movie from Blockbuster.com; Rent this movie from Netflix.com; Buy this movie from Amazon.com]

Summary: Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco’s chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son. [imdb.com]

Genre: Satire, Comedy, Dark Humor

Audience: Best for those with a sense of humor, who don’t take things too seriously; probably not younger children, they wouldn’t have the patience for it.

Occasion: Good for a laugh, good to watch with friends.

Watch every minute? Probably best, but not necessary.

Big screen/small screen: Either.

Why I like it: When I first saw the trailer, I thought, “Who would make a movie thanking people for smoking? That’s stupid.” Very silly of me, I know, but it’s hard to help our snap judgments. (There’s a whole book on that by Malcolm Gladwell, but that’s a post for a different blog.) I almost didn’t see it because of my initial reaction to the trailer. But then it started to get a lot of positive buzz from the critics and my friends all wanted to see it, so I decided maybe it was worth a shot.

So, I did. And it was worth it, definitely. Thank You For Smoking is the best kind of witty and satirical, because it also poignant and thought-provoking. It has almost the perfect blend of laugh-out-loud moments with touching moments. Starring at the head of a fantastic cast of characters (among them Sam Elliot, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy, and Robert Duvall), Aaron Eckhart almost makes you sympathetic for someone who promotes tobacco for a living.

If you liked…: I honestly have no idea.  I trolled the internet for almost an hour looking for sites that would give me recommendations based off of a particular film.  Two of the best I found were Blockbuster.com (but you have to be a member), and the Internet Movie Database (one of my favorite sites, ever).  

Of the movies recommended there, I could kind of see liking this movie if you liked American Beauty, and my step-brother says that he can see liking it if you liked Sideways, which I regret to say I have not yet seen.  But The Big Lebowski? Knocked Up?  Not that I dislike those movies, don’t get me wrong, but… they’re just not what comes to mind when I think of Thank You For Smoking.  The humor in Thank You seems more… sophisticated, somehow.  

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Title: Lucky # Slevin

[Rent this movie from Blockbuster.com; Rent this movie from Netflix.com; Buy this movie from Amazon.com]

Summary: A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city’s rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. [imdb.com]

Genre: Dark Humor, Crime

Audience: No one who dislikes violence; Probably not younger children.

Occasion: In the mood for a good twist.

Watch every minute? Definitely. You’ll miss something if you don’t.

Big screen vs. Small screen: Big screen is better, but you don’t lose much on the small screen.

Why I like it: Lucky # Slevin is a fantastic movie for a bunch of reasons that I’m not sure I can adequately explain.  It’s off-the-wall and irreverent when it’s funny, dramatic and thrilling when it’s serious, and just damn good.  There are moments that evoke the absurd, and it has one of the best twists in any movie I’ve ever seen.  Josh Hartnett does an amazing job as the main character, and Bruce Willis is wickedly clever and fun.  Add to that Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, and Lucy Liu (who plays my favorite character), and you’ve got a movie worth seeing for the cast alone.

If you liked…: Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects, The Professional, or Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang you will thoroughly enjoy this movie. (I might even add L.A. Confidential to this list, just for kicks.)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Gail permalink
    December 11, 2008 2:01 am

    As soon as I saw “Lucky # Slevin” on your list, I thought, “hey, I should get Megan to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!”

    Of course, it’s already in your list. You see all the cool movies 🙂

  2. Megan permalink
    December 11, 2008 7:15 pm

    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my favorite movies, and one of the main reasons why I wasn’t surprised when Robert Downey Jr. showed up in Iron Man. Everyone thought his career was dead, and I said, “No it’s not, go and see this movie over here, it’s great!” And then, of course, Iron Man came out, and everyone realized how awesome (and hot) RDJr. is. ^_^

  3. Gail permalink
    December 18, 2008 3:27 am

    One of my other friends has a thing for RDJr, I was planning to get her one of his movies for Christmas.

    Maybe sometime when you’ve had the blog a while, you can make some top 10 lists for “moods”.

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