Oh, watching movies in airplanes. It makes me feel like a Dr. Seuss character. Not only am I cavalier about a technology I admittedly don’t understand, but I’m actually so bored by this magical, flying tin can that I’m actually watching practically new releases at the same time. Plus trying not to accidentally elbow my tiny plastic cup of water, or that of my neighbour, while also holding on to my precarious ear buds (those of you with similarly tiny ears will understand: ear buds are NOT one size fits all). If Sean and I decide to watch a movie together, we have to try to synchronize the pressing of the Play button, or else one of us is watching with a delay. AND we have to ignore what everyone else is watching around us for fear of spoiling an untold number of movies in a matter of minutes.
On our way back, we watched Bridge of Spies. Apologies to Mr. Spielberg because we absolutely intended to see this in theatres, it’s just that life and other movies kept getting in the way. And this movie did not deserve this treatment from us. I LOVED it. I was sorry to be seeing it on a screen the size of a box of tictacs but happy to be seeing it at all. That Tom Hanks. Tom Fucking Hanks. This guy is the bomb. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about an ordinary lawyer who is asked by his government, during the cold war, to defend a Soviet spy. He accepts, for his country, even though this means he quickly becomes the second most hated man in America. He’s an honourable guy who goes above and beyond – even putting himself at risk by going over to Germany to negotiate for a prisoner swap. Joel and Ethan Coen, who co-wrote the script with Matt Charman, deliver the goods, and Spielberg knows just what to do with them. It’s interesting that with enough distance, this isn’t just about espionage anymore, it’s about seeing the humanity on both sides. What a relief. And here’s a nod to Mark Rylance who gives a nuanced and impressive turn as the spy. It’s a very grown-up character, drawn evenly, bravely, and with dignity, and Rylance lives up to every detail. The movie also manages a fair bit of humour – a spoonful of sugar to help the history lesson goes down. It was gripping, it was smart, and I loved the shit out of it.
Vacation is the newest installment in the National Lampoon tradition, with Ed Helms taking over the role of Rusty Griswald, who just wants to take his family on a vacation to Walley World (god knows why). It tries really hard to live up to its predecessor, going as far as stealing whole plot lines without really doing them justice or finding their charm. Ed Helms is watchable as always, and the truth is, we did chuckle. Although because we failed to press Play at the EXACT same time, I was watching one or two seconds ahead of Sean, which meant every time I squeezed his thigh he knew a joke was coming, and every time I pinched it, that something gross was about to happen. And a lot of gross things happen. Because if you can’t be witty, go for the grossout. This movie relies on every road trip movie cliché you’ve already seen so believe me when I say you can live without it. But if you’re stuck on a plane for 6 hours, you could do worse. Probably.
You know what’s a better way to pass your time on a plane? Reading! And boy have we got just the thing for you! Our dear friend and fellow blogger Carrie Rubin has a terrific new novel out. It’s a medical thriller called Eating Bull, and you’ll be so absorbed you won’t even notice the seat belt sign clicking on and off like it’s disco night at a truck stop. I totally recommend it, and it’s available for purchase by Canadians Eating Bull at that link, and by Americans over at Eating Bull that one, and to most others up in this place. But for a couple of our lucky readers, we’d like to send you a copy – FREE. Leave a comment on this post to be eligible, and give us a follow\retweet on Twitter for an extra chance to win.