Catching up (November and December movies)
The Sandy Bottom Orchestra (2000): Made-for-TV movie about an educated woman who doesn't fit in, but music brings everybody together. Pretty mediocre.
Premonition (2007): I wish someone would make an interesting movie that plays with time and actually tries to explain it. This was only interesting while we watched it, and then not at all after it was over.
Orange County (2002): Had some funny moments and characters.
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962): I thought this was delightful. Also interesting to see that the parents-have-no-control-over-what-their-kids-are-doing theme was in movies even back then!
Opal Dream (2005): Australian film about a girl with two imaginary friends and how her brother helps her when they disappear. Pretty good.
Pieces of April (2003): Really good! Great acting and a good story about family and people coming together. I really liked it.
Unaccompanied Minors (2006): A goofy kids' movie. Lewis Black is not an actor, but it was funny to hear him say, while dressed up as Santa, "Shut up and get me a chair."
I'm Reed Fish (2006): I have mixed feelings about this movie. I enjoyed it, but its quirky story-telling tricks kind of undermined the conclusion. Still worth seeing, maybe.
Songcatcher (2000): The story is unlikely and has an unnecessary, implausible and not very hidden agenda, but the music is amazing. Lots of ancient Appalachian ballads mostly sung by locals. Moving, heart-wrenching, and beautiful. I'd heard the Carter family sing "Single Girl" before, but I didn't get it until I saw it in this movie. "Conversation with Death" is also incredible.
Monte Walsh (2003): This was pretty good.
High School Musical (2006): Part of my research into pop culture, I guess. The music was way too boy-band for me, but I liked the basketball team dance scene, using basketballs in the choreography, and I thought the message of the movie was pleasantly positive and didn't emphasize the romance between the main characters too much.
The Pilot's Wife (2002): I had to make a concerted effort just now to remember this movie. Not a good sign.
The Nativity Story (2006): Surprisingly good. I can imagine watching this every year with the kids. It wasn't sentimental or air-brushed. I liked it a lot.
Elf (2003): Probably only Will Ferrell could make this funny for adults, too. My favorite part is when he lists the four food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.
The Nanny Diaries (2007): I wanted this to be funnier and less depressing, but I'm not sure why, because I've read the book and it's less funny and more depressing. Great acting.
The Witches (1990): Not the best adaptation of a Roald Dahl book and kind of intense for kids. It's okay. Anjelica Houston is delightful.