April 21, 2009

Justify My Netflix: Out of Africa

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Out Of Africa

Today's movie: Out of Africa, 1985 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix)

Why I added it to my queue: Because it's a classic historical drama, based on the popular memoir of Danish aristocrat Karen von Blixen-Finecke, concerning the years she spent in the African country of Kenya during the end of the British Empire (1914 to 1931, to be specific). Because it brought together three titans of '80s cinema -- Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Sydney Pollack -- resulting in a sweeping epic that cleaned up at that year's Academy Awards, including the "Oscar Trifecta" of Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. Because when it first came out during my senior year in high school, it was one of the first projects ever to start weaning me off the "all science-fiction all the time" artistic diet I had back then, and it's high time that I finally saw the movie for a second time because of that.

The reality: Exactly what you expect from an Oscar-winning historical drama -- grand, beautiful, slowly-paced, and with outfits to freaking die for. (In fact, this is what first attracted me to the Victorian and Edwardian ages as a teen to begin with; not the history but all those sweet clothes.) Um, and that's it; I think that in a nutshell is enough to get across whether you'll like this movie or not.

If I had watched it when it first came out: I would've thought, "You know, maybe there's actually more to life than spaceships and laser rifles." Then I would've slapped myself for being a blasphemer.

Strangest piece of trivia: The Kenyans hired to play the small local roles were the actual descendants of the characters they were portraying.

Worth your time? If you can actually reference Hollywood costume designers by name, then by all means. If you're a fan of fast-paced films, probably not.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 2:55 PM, April 21, 2009. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |