Drooling on the Pillow

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The Good, The Bad and the Boring 

My wife, The Great Lane Binkley, was on the SAG nominating committee for the Oscars this year so starting in November we began receiving piles of promotional materials every day. Most of it was just brochures and leaflets, as if they were selling condos, but we also received quite a few of the actual movies. The ones I enjoyed were Seabiscuit, Monsieur Ibrahim and, well, that's about it. I actually liked The Cooler (the wife hated it) mostly for the idea and for Alec Baldwin's performance. He may be a nitwit, but nobody gets ironic malice like he does. That movie will never do very well, though, since its target audience (those with a high tolerance for seeing William H. Macy naked) is rather small. I liked Girl With a Pearl Earring more than Lane but its the kind of movie I would recommend only with the explicit warning, 'You may be bored out of your skull.' I'm not the most critical of movie watchers. If there's something to enjoy about a movie I can always just ignore the rest of the crud. Scarlett Johansson is something to enjoy. Oh, yeah, I enjoyed The Statement, too. Great cast; I believe it was Alan Bates' last movie. Oh, and Whale Rider. Loved it.

Japanese Story I did not enjoy. Let me say that Toni Collette is good, blah, blah, blah. But when a movie stacks BS this high, when it chooses to elide anything that could be interpreted as a narrative element, when it commissions a numbingly tedious three bar theme and repeats it without dynamics or modulation for the last twenty minutes of the film, when it confuses vapidness with mystery, then it deserves much, much, much worse reviews than it got.

The Japanese guy dies in a swimming accident. I inserted that unannounced spoiler advisedly. It is one of two things that happen in the movie. The other is that he sleeps with Toni Collette, but that wouldn't be a spoiler because you see it coming a mile away. I don't feel bad about spoiling the movie for you. If, after this, you go ahead and watch it you will come back to me and say 'Why, oh, why didn't I listen to you?' I will be unmoved. This movie spoiled a perfectly good evening for me and it's the least I can do.
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