Sunday, April 20, 2008

Two more movie reviews...

A nice Sunday for me today...
I had a good time at my MakePhilly meeting (photos here).
Then came home and popped in two netflix movies, that I'll recommend both to you.

The Bicycle Thief (imdb)>
This is part of my new idea on renting movies... I'm trying to see movies from around the world.
So just off the top of my head real quick... USA (of course), Mexico, Brazil, Japan, France, Mongolia, Australia, Africa and now, Italy.
This movie was originally made in 1949 (Yep, black and white). It was nominated for an Oscar in 1950 (didn't win) but has won several other award Including a Golden Globe.
It's strange... overall, this was not a great movie for me. The storyline was just way too simple here. I don't even want to explain it cause it will give the movie away.
What I DID like about this movie... it was based on a story, good acting, and most of all, it transported me to another time and another country for a little over an hour or so. To see the backgrounds, and the way the people talked, and to see the extras, etc... THAT was fascinating to me. To see how the father treated his Son who (I'm guessing) was about 8-10 years old... by just handing him some money, and telling him to get on the bus, or to drop him off at 7am on a busy street corner for his JOB and say "I'll pick you up at 7pm". That kinda blew my mind.
Obviously (from the title), when someone yells "thief" on a crowded busy street, many of the Italian men would rush to try and apprehend the thief... For some reason I can't see that happening today. So, just overall I loved to see the different time period and different culture here. I recommend the movie to anyone who has an interest in either of these.
(oh, I gotta say too, the expressions of the kid (Bruno) were priceless. The way he constantly was looking up to his father (both literally and figuratively) was great.
(note: I'm not sure why the above movie poster is called "bicycle thieves" and not "The Bicycle Thief")

Next up...
Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Prdatory Lenders (imdb)
(not to be confused with a Made for TV movie called "Maxed out" in 2007).
Ok, I've had this one sitting on my DVD player for a little over a week now, as I was having a hard time actually wanting to watch this movie. I knew it was going to be depressing and probably get me angry. Guess what... I was right.
Please... if you are currently in debt right now... start thinking now about a plan to get out of debt. Here's what I did... add up all your debt. Pick a "reasonable" time frame that you'd like to be out of debt by (I chose 5 years - aka 60 months), divide your debt by 60, and that is your monthly payment. THEN promise yourself, that you will tighten your belt, and not make any firther purchases that will put you further in debt - ie: whatever your weekness is, whether it be toys, entertainment, collections, etc... Don't buy anything else during that time.
Then, when you finally get out of debt, and pay off that last credit card bill, swear to yourself, that you'll never do it again, and that whatever you charge on the credit card, that you'll pay off that bill every single month in full. (ok, sorry, I'm off my soapbox now).
This movie is both shocking, depressing, and really something that EVERY PERSON should watch at some point in their life. My advice, would be to show it to every teen before they go to college and are exposed to the temptation of signing up for their first credit card.
In addition to this movie being about personal debt and credit cards, it touches on the government spending issues too... Here's just one quote I pulled from the movie that made my jaw hit the ground...
The US Government spends more on interest than on Homeland Security, Education and Health care COMBINED!!!
There are a lot more nuggets of info that just really get a person fired up. Like how several of the past presidents have taken money out of the Social Security pool to pay off interest on loans. And how Bush has made it harder now for people (not corporations) but people to claim bankruptcy.
All I can say is... This country is in deep deep deep trouble. I think we're currently seeing some of the warning signs of just how deep of trouble we're in (housing market, banks collapsing, debt, falling value of the dollar, rising prices of gas, food, etc...) I think it's gonna get worse too.

But on a lighter note...
Who wants cake? ;)

Rent The Bicycle Thief, and if you are currently out of debt, rent "maxed out". If you're in debt, I'd say skip the second movie. It's too depressing.

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