I shake my fist at you.
By Friday night, I was starting to feel better. I’d had a light lunch at school, and by the time we left for BFF Kay and Bob’s house for dinner, I was feeling OK. So, I ate a big meal.
Spent all day and evening chained to the couch so I could be near the…well, ick. And although this morning is a mixture of weakness, sleepiness (how in the world??) and dehydration, I’m on the mend. Blast you, flu, you foul thing.
Not having the concentration to read or the strength to get up and do anything other than make more tea, I watched movies. Five of them; two I’d seen already, and three I hadn’t. I’m interested to know what you thought of the following, if you’ve seen them:
- Howards End. Loved it, although I love just about any James Ivory period piece (Remains of the Day, A Room With a View, Surviving Picasso), or any period piece at all, actually — especially Edwardian England. If you’ve ever pined to repair to a secluded, peaceful, gorgeous cottage in the English countryside where not much exists except you and nature, you’ll see lots of photography you like in this film. The story is the perfect marriage of tragedy and delight — with some comeuppance thrown in at the end for good measure. It was worth a third viewing. I think I’ll get Remains to watch the same two lead actors (Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins) in very different roles.
- Brooklyn’s Finest. My film sensibilities don’t require this much misery and bloodshed. I can’t lie. There was not a single moment of anything but drudgery, pain, murder, disillusionment, anger, bitterness, loneliness and guilt in this film. My constitution — at least the state it was in yesterday — couldn’t handle it. But I finished it. The one positive note is that the ending held a bit of a surprise, in that the people I thought were going to survive didn’t, and vice-versa. Unless you go for gritty dramas featuring all kinds of cops (the cynical near-retiree, the drug money skimmer, the hardcore undercover), take a pass.
- The Hudsucker Proxy. Had to watch this one again, after not seeing it since around 1995. While a bit trippy and silly, it’s a good representation of the Coen brothers before they decided they had to be so unbelievably bizarre that people would say, “Wow, that makes no sense at all; it must be great art!” The best part of the movie is Jennifer Jason Leigh, whose characterization channels a strange combination of Katharine Hepburn and the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s awesome. Watch this film and you will hear and see both.
- Modigliani. A pretty film with a whole lot of flaws. Music that doesn’t fit the era, hugely popular artists who seemingly have nothing to do and just happen to be everywhere Modigliani decides to go, and jumpy-jumpy plot and venue changes are among the niggling details that bugged me. But — and this is a BIG fat but — Andy Garcia was dreamy. Case closed: worth watching. And speaking of anachronism…
- Moulin Rouge! I knew I was supposed to like this film. After all, it’s A) a musical, B) it contains some really nice tunes from the last 30 years, C) Ewan McGregor’s in it and D) everyone who’s anyone loved it. Um…A) so what? B) see A, C) eww, and D) I guess I’m a nobody. McGregor’s irksome sing-yelling (honey, take the time to study and learn how to control your upper register) was the biggest obstacle for me. That, and the fact that every time he smiles, he reminds me of the guy from Creature Features, a Chicago-based horror show I used to watch in my childhood. I know, that’s really shallow. Guilty as charged. But still, the plot jumped so higgeldy-jiggeldy from campy Rocky Horror nods to serious issues dealing with consumption and grief, it was hard to care about any of the characters. And for me, I have to establish that empathetic link — at least on some level — or the movie is a deal breaker for me. I have to admit, though, the “Like a Virgin” production number was awesome. And don’t get me wrong; non-singing actors who do their own singing get my respect. Both leads sang in tune, and when McGregor was in a comfortable range, it was pleasant enough to listen to. It just didn’t happen often enough to diminish the cringe factor.
So, to summarize:
YES – Howards End, Hudsucker Proxy, Modigliani
NO – Brooklyn’s Finest, Moulin Rouge
And all the above + $3 will get you a…