American in Spain

Transatlantic Movie Marathon - February 2013

February 14, 2013

American In Spain On A PlaneSince moving to a different continent from my family more than a decade ago, I have become quite an expert on how my body reacts to jet lag and being confined to an airline seat for 7-9 hours. The method that works best for me is to not even attempt sleep, but instead, especially now that most transatlantic jets have personal video monitors and video on demand, to sit and watch movies for the duration of the flight. This time I was traveling alone and had my full attention to give to the video monitor, and I managed to get through seven movies.

I have arranged them in order from worst to best according to my personal opinion.


IMDB 7.8 - The make-up job on Daniel Day-Lewis was stunning. He really looked just like Abe. His voice was slightly higher pitch than I imagined from Abraham Lincoln, but by the end of the movie I got used to it. The main problem with this movie was that it was just incredibly boring. I understand that it's hard to make a film about an event where everyone already knows the outcome, but it can be done. Apollo 13, for example, was a real nail-biter. Perhaps my expectations were unfairly high.

The Bourne Legacy

IMDB 6.7 - I didn't know that there was another Bourne movie. They are getting as formulaic as Dan Brown novels, but it was an enjoyable ride. Plus, I have a bit of a screen crush on Rachel Weisz.

The Campaign

IMDB 6.2 - This is a typical of a high quality Will Ferrell movie. Silly and lighthearted, but with some interesting parodies of real politics. Zach Galifianakis was so good that I didn't even recognize him in the movie. Zach is from a town very close to my hometown and went to my university. I'm not a huge fan of his uncomfortable interview comedy – he reminds me too much of Tom Green…thank god that guy's no longer popular! – but he can clearly act.


IMDB 6.7 - I remember seeing trailers for this a while back and making a mental note that I wanted to see it, but the mental note got misplaced. Richard Gere does the powerful billionaire businessman role perfectly, and he and Susan Sarandon have got to be some of the sexiest sexagenarians in Hollywood. Moment to moment, the movie was very unpredictable, especially since I'd forgotten the trailer.

Life of Pi

IMDB 8.2 - This movie requires the disbelief suspension of a fantasy story, which is normally not my forte, but I enjoyed it more than I probably would have if I'd seen the trailer and knew what to expect. The religious overtones seemed a bit superfluous. Managing the constant single-actor screen time of a castaway movie was hard enough for the Hollywood veteran Tom Hanks, so it's extremely impressive that this Suraj Sharma fellow managed it so well in his debut movie. The CGI for the tiger was very impressive.

Safety Not Guaranteed

IMDB 7.1 - An enjoyable lighthearted adventure with interesting, flawed characters. I love the whole "weird people are awesome" subtext.


IMDB 8.0 - I was on the edge of my seat for the entire movie. I don't really recall 1980 that much, but it sure seems like they nailed the fashion and general styles of the period. I was vaguely aware of the Iranian hostage crisis, but the subset of the crisis that this movie is about was completely new to me.

As always, you are free – nay, encouraged – to oppose my opinions in the comments.