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Monday, October 5, 2015

Thoughts on The Intern and The Martian

I saw The Intern and The Martian this weekend. I liked both movies a lot.

The Intern, written and directed by Nancy Meyers, was a nice movie about a 70-year old widower named Ben (Robert DeNiro) doing a tech internship for fun and productivity, and a 30-something year old woman named Jules (Anne Hathaway) trying to handle running a very successful online shopping business and trying to a good family life at home. I liked that it was about a platonic friendship between two very different people who taught each other a lot (morals in life, tech world vs. old-school business, importance of family). And Ben was open to new technology and new experiences and not romanticizing the past, while Jules was not a cold, icy workaholic, but a successful businesswoman who loved her family, but had trouble handling both sides of her life. I didn't like her husband because he looked like a douchey hipster and had a wishy-washy wuss excuse for some of his behavior in the story, but the girl playing their daughter was adorable. I would recommend this movie as an enjoyable movie about friendship.

The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard, was really suspenseful and interesting to watch. It reminded me of Apollo 13, in that it was an epic space movie, that the story was about a mission to save an astronaut, and the story often volleyed around a triangle of settings: the astronaut (Matt Damon) on Mars, the spaceship crew that had left him when they thought he was dead due to getting hit by debris during a storm on Mars, and the crew at NASA, who were a fun mix of straight-laced old-school types and younger and enthusiastic. nerds. There is a lot of comedy in it, as Damon's character keeps his sense of humor while making video logs and communicating with NASA about his survival tactics, but it still gets suspenseful anyway as people discuss the best options to save him and weigh the pros and cons, as well as in the spaceflight scenes. I liked that there weren't any villains in the movie. The spaceship crew weren't at fault for leaving him there, as he was presumed dead and they had to save themselves; there isn't anyone against saving him (now a Saving Private Ryan in Space joke occurs to me), and people are often problem-solving using science and figuring things out intelligently (even if there are a couple of methods that would likely kill someone in space in real life). I really enjoyed the movie, and would watch it again, it was a good mix of science, humor, suspense, and a talented cast (Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Benedict Wong, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara).

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