Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.


MEAN GIRLS 2 (2011)
It's even more noticeable in this lame cash-in than in the terrible Camp Rock movies that Meaghan Martin is a painfully, painfully limited actress. Jennifer Stone acts circles around the main cast, and Tim Meadows is kind of fun reprising his role from the real first movie, but seriously, why does this thing even exist? * star.

I guess I'm never going to like these movies very much. I've tried four or so times in the last 20 years to even make it all the way through The Pink Panther, and I've failed every time. I failed with this one, too. Would it be unfair to rate a movie I didn't finish watching? I guess these just aren't for me.

Ridiculous. * star.

There were things about this movie--about parents grieving the loss of a young child--that were very recognizable. I thought a lot about my Dad and he what he want through (and is still going through) after Ellen died. There's a kind of numbness that pervades here; not in an emotionally distant way, but in the way that, after the death of a child, life can just become a constant acknowledgment that a person who should be there isn't, and how do you live after something like that happens? Grief never goes away, but it can become assimilated. Nicole Kidman is pretty good in this, but I think Aaron Eckhart is really good in it. Maybe I just related to him more directly. I can only judge this based on my own experiences with grief, but I found it to be very true and very observant, without simple explanations. **** stars.

1 comment:

Tallulah Morehead said...

I love the original PINK PANTHER movie, and like, though not love, A SHOT IN THE DARK. Can't stand the others. The slapstick was still effortless rather than labored, and Capucine looks stunning, and simulates intelligence convincingly. (She was not, it seems, very bright in real life, and was of course, famously unhappy, as I guess most suicides were.)

While in no way disagreeing with the "ridiculous" assessment of THE BAD SEED, I must admit I love it. The best little girl psychopath ever. ("He wouldn't give me the medal, SO I HIT HIM WITH MY SHOE!!")Oh, the glorious overacting! Nancy Kelly hammering on her womb with her fists as she screams: "You mean I'm the daughter of that horrible woman?" The private school that deals with student homocide by not re-inviting the little murderess back for next term. Eileen Heckert's hilariously over-the-top performance as the drunken, bereaved mother. Henry Jones's seriously degenerate handyman LeRoy (whose death is genuinely horrifying.). What seems like Evelyn Varden's only other screen performance aside from NIGHT OF THE HUNTER the same year. And of course, the cop-out ending when lightening strikes Rhoda. (In the novel, which the film and play follows fairly closely, the mother dies, and Rhoda lives to kill again.)

If you have or rented the DVD, listen to the commentary track. Charles Busch and Patty McCormick make for fun viewing companions. Patty mentions more than once how kind Nancy was to her, how she seemed to have an insight into the challenges of the professional child actress, yet, in the over 50 years since making the film, it never occured to Patty to look up Nancy's resume and see that Nancy herself had been a very successful child actress back in silent movies, THE BAD SEED being her last movie in a long film career with more movies than Patty has made.

There's also a moment when Patty speculates about what Nancy's age must have been when she made the movie. It took me all of five seconds to look up her age on the IMDb, but the idea of doing even a smidgen of research before recording the commentary track apparently never crossed Patty's mind.

"What will you give me for a basket of kisses?" I love THE BAD SEED, the very essence of a guilty pleasure.