Joe's Movie Reviews

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Catching Up

Through the use of a Landmark Theatres gift pass, I finally caught up with the performance that should have won the Supporting Actor Oscar this year, Jackie Earle Haley in "Little Children". Haley reminded me a bit of Sean Penn in "Dead Man Walking"... another performance that should have won the Oscar but didn't. The similarities being that both actors took a thoroughly despicable character doing horrible things and never at any point made you LIKE him, or even try to do that... but nevertheless made you see life through his eyes and empathize with his plight. And any actor who can do that has accomplished something pretty amazing. The film as a whole is pretty good, but not as impressive as Haley. His performance, though... well, in a better, more just world, he would have been giving an acceptance speach last Sunday.

Also, I finally caught up with "Babel" on $1.00 Tuesday at a local second-run discount house last night. An absolutely amazing film. It reminded me of "Crash" (controversial as that film is among many, it was my favorite of 2005) in that it is also about the stupid, pointless things that needlessly divide us when we have so much more in common than we realize, and the way we too often feel no need to communicate and see common ground with anyone who's in any way different from us. Just imagine "Crash" taking place over several continents instead of only in L.A.
It also has much to say about how the pointless violence that adults start all too casually far too often catches innocent children in the crossfire. I realize that many people, including some of my best friends, look askance at stories that place children in danger. I totally respect their feelings about this, and in fact share them when this is done for exploitation's sake. But the world we live in often isn't kind to the young, and the young often get their minds poisoned by the thoughtless behaviour of their adult role models, with tragic results. It seems to me that this is the point of the children's roles in a film that, as far as I am concerned, should have won the Original Screenplay Oscar instead of "Little Miss Sunshine", and possibly even "Best Picture" as well instead of "The Departed" (much as I liked "The Departed" and as pleased as I was to see Scorsese get Best Director for that film). It was interesting to walk out of the film and overhear other moviegoers talk about how unimpressed they were, and mention other films they didn't really care for but thought were "at least better than BABEL". Most of them appeared to really have loved LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Guess that's one consequence of seeing movies like this in a regular commercial theater instead of the art houses they open up in. Well, what can you say? There are also people who voted for George W. Bush and thought they were doing the right thing...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Okay, we all know there isn't actually anyone reading this, but if there were, they might be thinking about the "special occasion" that today is for many, namely, Valentine's Day. Well, far be it from me to ignore observing the day in the style it deserves, so in the movie tradition of this "column" let me recommend that if it's possible, you could perhaps watch "Divorce: Italian Style" or "The War Of The Roses" to get in the proper spirit. Then you listen to "Weird Al" Yankovic singing his original (non-parody) song "You Don't Love Me Any More". For those unfamiliar with it, here it is:

We've been together for so very long
but now things are changing, oh, I wonder what's wrong
seems you don't want me around
the passion has gone and the flame's died down
I guess I lot a little bit of self esteem
that time that you made it with the whole hockey team
you used to think I was nice
now you tell all your friends that I'm the Anti-Christ
oh, why did you disconnect the breaks on my car
that kind of thing is hard to ignore
got a funny feeling you don't love me anymore

I knew that we were having problems when
you put those pirhannas in my bathtub again
but you're still the light of my life
oh darling, I'm begging, won't you put down that knife
you know, I even think it's kind of cute the way
you poison my coffee just a little each day
I still remember the way that you laughed
when you pushed me down the elevator shaft
and if you don't mind my asking,
what's this poisonous cobra
doing in my underware drawer?
Sometimes I get to thinking you don't love me anymore

You slammed my face down on the barbecue grill
now my scars are all healing, but my heart never will
you set my house on fire
you pulled out my chesthairs with an old pair of pliars
you think I'm ugly and you say I'm cheap
you shaved off my eyebrows while I was asleep
you drilled a hole in my head
then you dumpted me in a drainage ditch
and left me for dead
oh, you know this isn't really like you at all
you never acted this way before
Honey, something tells me you don't love me any more,
oh, no, no,
got a funny feeling you don't love me any more.

There. I think that sets the proper mood.