Check This Out: "Blue Valentine" and "Deliverance"

Filmmaker Christopher Wood reviews movies from the Tacoma Public Library

By Christopher Wood on November 19, 2013

Some days you just don't feel like paying for another Redbox rental, and the next movie on your Netflix queue takes FOREVER to arrive in your mailbox. And recession or no, who can pass up free, convenient entertainment? Every Tuesday, "Check This Out" recommends movies available at any of the eight branches of your friendly Tacoma Public Library. So you can satisfy your next film fix at the place with the books.

Well I just dropped a new cylinder of plutonium in the ol' DeLorean. Where would you like to go?

How about letting Ryan Gosling whisk you off to tomorrowland? "Pack your bags, baby - we're going to the future," a balding Gos (as the character Dean) tells his wife Cindy (played by Michelle Williams) in the 2010 film Blue Valentine. He's just booked them into "The Future Room" at a somewhat sleazy hotel to inject a little romance into their strained marriage. So settle in for a tense overnight stay with this frustrated couple as they enjoy such room amenities as a rotating bed à la Austin Powers, and harsh blue lighting (cuz they SAD!).

Let your eyes wander over the walls and you'll wonder the same thing as Cindy: did someone forget to build windows in this place? The claustrophobic setting forces husband and wife to reflect on happier moments in their past, which contrast harshly with a troubled present. Both Gosling and Williams deliver deeply moving performances and create an honest look at two people straining at the final shreds of what love may still remain in their relationship. You'll check out of The Future Room hurting to know what comes next for these two.

OK, so maybe that getaway makes you nostalgic and pining for the good old days. Lewis (Burt Reynolds) wants one last look at the Cahulawassee River before "the system" with its machines hack and chop it up into one big lake. Time to grab your kayak and get borne back ceaselessly into the past in Deliverance.

Marvel at the all-beautiful scenery (courtesy of famed cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond) as you float lazily down the Cahu' with adventurous Lewis and his pals, rational Ed (Jon Voight), sensitive Drew, (Ronny Cox, aka Cohaagen), and the "Piggy" of the group, Bobby (Ned Beatty). Just watch out for the boat-crushing rapids up ahead, and don't forget to say hello to the toothless hicks leering at you onshore. (And yes, Piggy will squeal.) A trip to the past looks fun for a while in the gripping Deliverance, until you realize you may never make it back home.