Swine Flu Movie Reviews

Being sick is one of the most difficult things for me. It’s a psychological mind game. Not only am I unable to be productive1, which is something that normally keeps me sane, it’s the only situation in which I feel like I can’t take care of myself. All I’m left with is this misery, this suffering that mentally wears me down. On a long enough time line (though I’m talking months to years), I lose the will to live.

I started getting some symptoms since Tuesday afternoon, when I was feeling faint at work. When I woke up the next day, the symptoms had gotten worse. I spat into the sink, and cheered the fact that my phlegm wasn’t dark green, which is the case when I have strep throat (something that seems to happen annually to me). I should say that I only suspect swine flu, since I didn’t have a blood test confirming it, but the person who gave it to me told me she had it, so I’m going on her word, and my symptoms match up with how swine flu is different from seasonal flu.

For me, it’s been:

  • runny nose with extremely watery mucous
  • stuffed nose
  • loss of appetite
  • mildly sore throat
  • dry cough
  • headaches
  • very slight fever
  • hot flashes and sweating

This flu, though drawn out, has actually been easier than strep, which is so painful for me that I get fairly severe headaches. I went through two entire boxes of tissues, and I’m sure I would have gone through more, I had not spent almost the entire time like this:

Nose tissues

On the upside, it was an excuse to drink Neo Citran every night, which I also call Yummy Sleep.

In the five days since I realized that I have the flu, I didn’t leave my house, aside from going across the street to buy groceries. Not a single one of my friends called me (although some of them probably didn’t know I was sick), which was a little disheartening, but I didn’t let it get to me. Jen offered to pick up groceries for me, but I didn’t take her up on it because the offer was enough of a morale boost.

This time, I survived, I did it by myself, and I’m stronger for it.

To keep myself sane, I watched a record number of movies. Usually, it’s hard for me to watch movies, because I feel guilty for not being productive, but this time I embraced my sickness. I may watch one every two weeks when I’m healthy, but this time it was nine in five days (ten if I hadn’t passed out in the middle of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice). Here are some quick reviews. Warning: SPOILERS.

Rebel Without A Cause: Before The Breakfast Club, I’d say that this was the quintessential teen angst movie. It’s quite entertaining to see how different high-school was before my parents were born. Movies were also very different back then, with near Micky Mousing orchestral music and overly-exaggerated characters.

The Matrix Revolutions: I had seen this in the theatre before, but didn’t remember much of it, which usually means it’s a bad movie. I put this on as something to keep my eyes entertained while I waited to be tired enough to fall asleep (no one can accuse the Wachowski brothers of making a Matrix film that wasn’t visually stimulating, if not good), and because I had since read up on the story and had a clearer understanding of the convoluted plot.

P.S. I Love You: I had no idea what to expect, and even then, I was let down. I felt like a romantic movie, and this one was not only stiff and generic, it was boring. The only good part was the hilarious character played by Harry Connick, Jr. who has a disability that causes him to speak whatever is on his mind, unfiltered.

Ip Man: I expected a great movie, but Ip Man comes off as being a Steven Segal-type action hero with no flaws or character development. He just kicks everyone’s ass in every fight, including one against 10 Japanese black belts. It’s supposed to be semi-autobiographical, but the timeframe is so short that we don’t learn much about Ip that we couldn’t have been summarized on the inside of a book cover.

Yes Man: Liar Liar, without the funny.

The Indian Runner: I don’t remember how I heard about this movie, but it’s was excellent, with David Morse (who seems to have supporting roles in everything — see The Green Mile below) and Viggo Mortensen playing two brothers with opposite worldviews, based on Bruce Springstein’s song, Highway Patrolman. It’s a sad story, that comes from the inability of these two. An accomplished first-run for Sean Penn’s directorial and screenwriting debut. Also features full frontal nudity of Viggo Mortensen.

Akira: The Japanese put the medium of animation to good use. I’m not talking about an animated film where a man wants to travel by putting balloons on his house, which can probably just as easily be accomplished with live action. This movie explores concepts, ideas, settings, and emotions that can only be pulled off with the creative freedom of being able having anything imagined drawn on the screen.

The Green Mile: People are surprised I had never seen The Green Mile, since I have a reputation as a “good” movie watcher, and this has a reputation as a good movie. I felt like something heavy, so it was perfect when I put this on. Had me in tears at the end. Very good all round.

Planet Terror: This was the extended version of the Grindhouse double bill. I was slightly disappointed, but that’s probably my fault as I’ve come to expect so much from directors such as Robert Rodriguez. Even saying this, it was an accomplished film, with some great action, intensity (the scene where Josh Brolin bites down on the thermometer comes to mind), and comedy to break up all the violence. Rodriguez successfully does an homage to B-movies. Some mis-castings though: I still can’t take Tarantino seriously as an actor, and Freddy Rodriguez doesn’t work as a tough-guy, which he gruffly tries to portray to comedic effect.

  1. I have the motivation, but it isn’t enough when my head feels like it’s exploding from the inside. []


  1. Try a Neti Pot saline sinus wash. I had the flu a week ago, and it only lasted 5 days thanks to killing all the virii and other bacteria in my sinuses with the salt wash.

    Sunday I couldn’t breathe except a bit out of one nostril, so I blew out all I could until I could breathe a small minimal amount out of both (but barely). Then I did a sinus wash and it was like a plug came out of a dam. A bunch of viral (green) mucous came out of my right nostril and I was able to breathe normally for most of the day. I did a Neti pot sinus wash at least twice a day and I’ve been on the mend since then.

    Salt water is a great (green) at home remedy to kill bacteria and keep them from proliferating, which is what causes viral infections…

    • I’ve always wanted to try a Neti Pot after reading a few really gross stories. Makes me wonder what’s stuck in my head!

  2. From the symptoms you listed, you may have had both a headcold as well as the flu as a true flu doesn’t usually have nasal discharge and a wet cough.

    Though, it stings like a bugger, I found that swabbing out the insides of the nostrils as far as you can reach with a Q-tip covered in Purell™ [the kind with Aloe Vera] also seemed to shorten the duration and severity of the nasal systems of the headcold I had recently.

    P.S. I could make a horrible and tasteless joke about how you now know how your cousin, Ah Choo, the one with chronic allergies feels all the time; but, I better not!

    • I read in several places (including the Public Health Agency of Canada) that one of the common symptoms of this particular flu is a runny nose, although that seems to be a symptom for many ailments in my case.

      I don’t know how you can stand Purell in your nose though; I can barely stand the strong smell when it’s on my hands!

      Your joke reminds me of the character, Asneeze, in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, who asks Robin Hood to find his son, Ahchoo.

  3. Sounds like you’re not seeing a doctor. If it doesn’t get any better, you should.

    The minute I heard that the audience gave standing ovations in theatres across China, I knew Ip Man was about kicking Japanese ass, and decided I wouldn’t pay to see it. I did see the pirated version though. This HK producer has a history of producing junk movies just to appeal to the market, and he knew what the Chinese market wanted. He already has a sequel in the pipeline. The lead actor actually won a best actor award in China, OMG!

    • I’m feeling better now, enough to be at work since yesterday. Most symptoms have cleared, aside from some very minor stuffiness in the nose.

      Wow, I can’t believe this movie won acting awards; Donnie Yen’s acting was as stiff as a board. At the same time, it doesn’t surprise me as Hong Kong seems to churn out a lot of crap, so this “best” doesn’t mean much. It’s so rare that a good movie like Infernal Affairs comes along. I had no idea that anti-Japanese sentiment was still so strong in Hong Kong.

      • Oh, when I said “China” I meant mainland China. In HK, the sentiment is almost pro-Japanese(in Taiwan as well). So there’s this cultural contrast.

        It’s said that HK movies are dead and gone. All the HK producers and directors nowadays only cater for the huge mainland market.

      • Wow, that’s so sad, and yet, it makes financial sense. We can only hope for an artistic director like Ang Lee to have enough money not to worry about going after a bigger market, and not to emigrate to Hollywood at the same time. Then again, it’s not the director who greenlights a movie, but the board of producers who put up the money to get the movie made.

  4. Awwwwwww that picture of you is sooo cute. ::hug:: Ok I’ll stop laughing. No seriously, I wish I could make you soup.

    And I must say, dragon nostrils or not, you might try working on that grizzled mustache/goatee thing there, it looks pretty cool with your new piercing.

    I don’t recommend putting Purell or anything else but sea-saltwater (very effective) up your nose – recently they have had lawsuits against Zicam, which was a remedy made to do expressly what der altmodische is suggesting. Apparently certain substances when swabbed high in the nose can alter certain people’s sense of smell, and render permanent damage. THAT would be bad.

    I’m going to work up a list of movies for you and send it. You’ve probably seen maybe half.

    • Hahahahha…I think the picture is embarrassing, especially because of how pathetic the grizzled look is on me. The sides are particularly bad, because it’s just a few stray hairs here and there without any density. That was about six days without the razor; I tend not to worry about shaving when I’m sick.

  5. Atleast you watched a couple of good movies!

  6. Glad you are feeling better Jeff!

  7. omfg! u got wine? that sux dude… and even tho i dont know u, i still feel bad.. feel better dude!!!…..my hearty goes to u

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