Drooling on the Pillow

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Separating the Dross From the Chaff 

A perfect example of what I was talking about here in terms of my lack of critical rigor when I watch movies. We rented Second Hand Lions tonight. I enjoyed it. I won't say I liked it because it was pretty awful, but I enjoyed it.

You need a voracious appetite for whimsy to sit through this movie. I do, so that was all right. But the more whimsical the idea the tighter the script has to be. That's my rule. There were problems of internal logic to almost every scene and the writers thought they'd get by those by making somebody cry. Doesn't work. There were some bizarre decisions made here. First of all, its a terrible, terrible title; trite, dopey, crepe hanging. The score is all wrong. You can't do whimsy with a score that was conventional in 1958. Here they are in the middle of Nowhere, Texas and I kept expecting Loretta Young to come down the stairs. The end credits were weird. Well done, clever, I suppose, perfectly fine for some movie, but not this one.

What did I like? They made three good decisions. Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and Haley Joel Osment. Jeez, I would pay to watch Robert Duvall order a biali. By the time Macauly Culkin was Osment's age you knew he didn't have it. But this kid can act. And Michael Caine is one of the best at letting the script come to him.

They were enough.
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