Doodad Kind of Town

Three With a Bullet – Lazy Reviews ala Power Point
April 2, 2009, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I don’t actually give up blogging for Lent. It only seems that way.

You see, I spend my non-blogging spare time singing in a couple of choirs. And Lent is for church choristers what tax season is for accountants – the busy season.

So around this time every year, Doodad Kind of Town becomes more like Ghost Town. (That’d be Ghost Town in the general, metaphoric sense, not as in the Ricky Gervais movie.) Between rehearsals for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter – plus rehearsals for our May 1 community choir concert of opera choruses – I have little time or energy to keep up with the movie revewin’ thang.

Which is not to say that I’m not seeing any movies, just that I’m too scattered to write intelligent analyses of them.

Then again, the films I’ve seen lately really don’t merit in-depth analysis. Modest both in their ambitions and in the pleasures they deliver, these films can be adequately summed up in a tossed-off, bullet-pointy way that doesn’t overtax my tired brain cells. And, God knows, I know my way around a bullet-point list, given the frequency with which I’m asked to crank out Power Point slides for presentations at work.

(At least these are supposed to look like Power Point slides, but the execution was a little dicey. Forgive me.)

I Love You, Man

  • Vanity Fair says Paul Rudd may be “this generation’s Jack Lemmon”
  • In this film, Jason Segel may be his Walter Matthau
  • The two actors have the kind of great, “buddy” chemistry of classic screen teams.
  • Why go to the trouble of casting Jane Curtin, and then give her nothing funny – or even interesting – to do?

  • Curtin plays Rudd’s mother.
  • She’s barely in the movie.
  • At least JK Simmons (playing Rudd’s dad) gets off one or two good lines. Curtin gets nothing.
  • The Great Buck Howard
    See it for John Malkovich

    His Buck Howard, a “mentalist” modeled on the Amazing Kreskin, is a wonderfully calibrated combination of cheeseball, show-biz smarm and honest, old-fashioned showmanship.

    Ignore the tiresome “isn’t he or isn’t he gay?” subplot surrounding his on/off friendship with former “Star Trek”actor George Takei

    Colin Hanks plays the law school dropout who becomes Howard’s road manager.

    His ineffectual performance actually seems right for a character who is primarily a passive observer in his own life.

    Another tiresome subplot: Dad shows up at innoportune times to browbeat him in to going back to law school. An excuse for Hanks’ real-life dad, (guess who – also the film’s producer) to make a cameo.

    Sunshine Cleaning

    Ways this film evokes earlier quirky indie flick “Little Miss Sunshine”:

  • The title
  • The presence of a dilapidated van
  • Dysfunctional family in which every member is nursing some private heartache
  • Alan Arkin plays a crusty, eccentric grandpa
  • Emily Blunt plays the deadpan/hipster sister who hides her own heartache behind her tattoos, piercings and lacerating wit.

  • Hey, isn’t this part usually played by Zooey Deschanel?
  • Actually, doesn’t Blunt kind of look like Deschanel here?
  • Lots of plot elements that don’t get explained or tied up properly:

  • Amy Adams’ fatherless son
  • A hinted-at attraction between Adams and a cleaning supply merchant that goes nowhere
  • Still, some lovely moments that surprise you:

    A scene between Adams and a old woman struggling to make sense of her husband’s suicide was so honestly sad and awful, it made me weep


    3 Comments so far
    Leave a comment

    You have got to be kidding me … Arkin plays another crusty grandfather in another movie with “Sunshine” in the title?Unbelievable.

    Comment by Rick Olson

    Rick-Yes,I’m afraid it’s true.Coming soon:Alan Arkin in “You are my Sunshine,” “Good Day, Sunshine,”and “Let the Sunshine In”

    Comment by Pat

    I enjoyed I Love You, Man a lot more than I thought I would.And, hey! You’re so right about Sunshine Cleaning. I really, really wanted Amy Adams to end up with that supply store guy. Disappointing.

    Comment by Nayana Anthony

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