Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted – John Lennon
Everyone knows I am an amateur cunning linguist so let's start with the word "plethora."
I credit the film The Three Amigos for popularizing the word plethora. Before 1986 I suspect "plethora" was not in the everyday vocabulary for most people — that was the joke in the movie — but by 2015 it has become a welcome part of the everyday vernacular.
The Three Amigos is a classic — Chevy Chase, Martin Short and Steve Martin star as Hollywood stars who are mistaken for heroes by a small Mexican village and must find within themselves the bravery and wit they display in their films. The film changed the way we speak to each other, but you won't find it on Netflix.
Nor will the search icon give you Gremlins, Predator, Monster Squad or Cobra (the first three Rambos are there at least). iTunes has all of those (except Monster Squad) but they cost $3.99 apiece. In the old days I could rent five movies for five days for $5. Now it costs $3.99 to rent Teen Wolf Too. This is progress? It's no wonder kids steal movies, it's cheaper than a time machine.
Speaking of, opening this week at the Village 8, Project Almanac is a teenage time-travel flick wherein some science-loving kids find a time machine and make the classic mistake of effing with the (super-fragile apparently) space-time continuum. It's good times for a bit but mayhem inevitably follows.
Because it is January there were no pre-screenings of this one, but it looks not bad (Michael Bay produced) and seems like a flick that is very aware of the "found footage" and "time travel" subgenres and willing to play with our expectations. I've never heard of the director, Dean Israelite, but he seems to have a handle on things. This one looks worth the risk.
Speaking of self-aware time travel, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure is not on Netflix either, but it definitely cracks the list of Top Five Best Time Travel Flicks ever due to its educational component (the whole thing is to ace a school paper), copious amounts of air guitar, and the role that hamstringed Keanu Reeves' career.
Also on the list: 12 Monkeys, because it's Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Fear and Loathing) directing Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt in a film that essentially predicts a future of pandemics, hactivism and social revolt that seems just around the corner. Same with The Terminator (1 & 2) — yes, the machines are getting smarter and it's only a matter of time until they turn on us, only problem is we aren't burying weapons in the desert.
Also on the list, Hot Tub Time Machine because it's a ski flick and living proof that no idea is too stupid if you have good writing and solid actors. And the greatest time travel movie of all time: Groundhog Day because Bill Murray is genius and writer/director Harold Ramis is equally incredible. This one begins where most time travel flicks end up — skipping through time is not fun, in fact it sucks immensely — but then slowly Bill chips away at the nightmare and finds that life is always awesome, even when it's stuck on repeat. This one is not on Netflix either.
There is one more flick opening this week at the Whistler Village 8 and it's a doozy. Inherent Vice is my kind of movie — based on a book by literary icon Thomas Pynchon, adapted by homegrown L.A. wunderkid Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Magnolia) and boasting an A-list cast of actors, not movie stars.
Joaquin Phoenix shovels himself into the lead role of Doc Sportello, a 1970s era private dick who really has better things to do than help his ex-old-lady with the disappearance of her new man, a real estate tycoon or something. Toss in some bullneck coppers, crooked feds and a nasty bit of drug smuggling and you can see why Doc wishes he'd stayed on Manhattan Beach. Then shit gets really weird.
Inherent Vice is some kind of bellbottom-surf-noir that's the love child of The Big Lebowski and The Big Sleep. Need I say more?
(At least Lebowski is available on Netflix).