That is what I am here for.
In this new feature, I will offer brief reviews on whatever films I watched on recent flights and decide whether it is good on a plane, better in real life, or both. Will it distract you from the snoring stranger to your right? Can noise canceling headphones do it justice?
On two long flights in which I had to cross the Atlantic Ocean, I watched Enough Said, Frozen, The Counselor, and Inside Llewyn Davis. Here is what you should or should not watch en route to your next destination:
This charming indie romantic comedy from Nicole Holofcener finds Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a divorcee who falls in love with a new man (James Gandolfini) who happens to be the ex-husband of her new friend (Catherine Keener). Enough Said is not the kind of film you see if you want your life changed; it is just what you watch when you want to see a bunch of people shoot the shit for 90 minutes with the help of some well-written dialogue. It definitely doesn’t hurt that Julia Louis-Dreyfus in general can do no wrong. Also worth seeing for a great performance by the late, great James Gandolfini, who proves that he can play gentle just as well as he can play intimidating.
Is it an airplane movie: Yes. It’s light, funny, and it doesn’t make you hate humanity at all.
After months of hype and thousands of Adele Dazeem jokes, I finally sat down to watch Frozen. Even with high expectations, it did not disappoint at all. Frozen definitely belongs in the Disney Hall of Fame, and it is the best animated feature that the studio has done outside of Pixar since Mulan. During the instant classic “Let It Go,” I felt an instinctual need to start applauding. Then, I turned around and realized I was on an airplane where people don’t clap until the plane has landed.
Is it an airplane movie: No. Watch it on the biggest screen you can find, with you volume turned up as high as possible. Noise canceling headphones are a myth, just like the dinosaurs.
Cameron Diaz has sex with a car. Javier Bardem acts like a more eloquent Tommy Wiseau crossed with Hunter S. Thompson. There are cheetahs. There are beheadings. There is no way The Counselor isn’t a future cult classic. When it came out in October, The Counselor had high expectations. After all, this was a film written by Cormac McCarthy and directed by Ridley Scott. Honestly, I am not quite sure what to make of the finished product. The Counselor is like the Schrodinger’s Cat of movies: it is both awful and awesome simultaneously. Some of the dialogue is marvelous, and some of the scenes toy with your emotions in ways that I could never imagine. Yet, the story makes absolutely no sense. What separates The Counselor from No Country for Old Men is sense of motivation. Also, No Country only had to say “you can’t stop what’s coming” once in order for us to get it. The Counselor jams it down our throats. Sometimes, the messiness works in its favor. Other times, you just want to know why everybody wants to kill Michael Fassbender. Also, I just want to know who Fassbender’s dialect coach was. Anyway, The Counselor may be a disaster, but it is one that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.
Is it an airplane movie: Yes. If you love it (which I think I did?), then it will take up two good hours. If you hate it, then you can just turn it off and jump out through the emergency exit.
Inside Llewyn Davis
I have already seen Inside Llewyn Davis, which you all know because I haven’t been able to shut up about it for the past few months. I decided to put it on while flying because I was tired and wanted something to lull me to sleep. I am not saying that Inside Llewyn Davis is boring. What I am saying is that it has become so comforting and familiar to me at this point that I can watch it at anytime and in any place.
Is it an airplane movie: It would be more effective to hold a screening of it on the front lawn of every Oscar voter to let them know what they missed.