Doodad Kind of Town

Diary of a Holiday Weekend at the Movies
May 25, 2009, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Friday, May 22: I head to the multiplex to meet friends for “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” My friend, Susan, asks “Are you going to admit on your blog that you actually came to see this?”

Well, I guess this post is your answer, Susan.

It’s every bit as bad as we expected, and in no way enhanced by the constant chatter of the two tanning parlor habitues seated behind us who laugh uproariously as the lamest gags – that is, when they aren’t digging their stiletto heels into the back of our seats, chattering together loud enough to disturb every one within three rows, or taking turns leaving the theatre to make cell phone calls.

Matthew McConaughey’s shtick is getting a little old. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be a one-trick pony if you’ve got a good trick, but McCounaughey’s laid-back, good-time, party dude is rapidly reaching the end of its shelf life. With the exception of the fine 2001 indie, “Thirteen Conversations about One Thing,” this guy hasn’t stretched himself as an actor since Bill Clinton was in the White House. Seriously, dude, it’s time to step up your game a little.

For her part, Jennifer Garner comes off as too nice and too sensible to be so hung up on a dufus like McConaughey’s character. Also, Garner should never wear her hair tucked behind her ears; it’s not a good look for her.

Saturday, May 23: I was sore yesterday from a Kundalini yoga workshop I attended on Thursday night, and today, it’s even worse. (Warning kids: do not try Kundalini at home. Just ’cause it’s got Yoga in the title does not mean it’s relaxing.) After a day of shopping, sunshine and a little socializing, I’m home in the evening with Advil, the heating pad, and Isabel Croixet’s 2008 film “Elegy” from On Demand. Lots of people I know are dismissive of Penelope Cruz, but I say: don’t hate her because she’s beautiful. Cruz is a richly talented actress, and her performance here as the university student who teaches professor Ben Kingsley the meaning of true love almost too late in his life, is stunning. It goes without saying that Kingsley is pretty great, too.

Sunday, May 24: On a hazy, lazy Sunday afternoon, I finally have the opportunity to watch “Synecdoche, NY.” I’m a Charlie Kaufman fan; I’ve been looking forward to this forever. But something about this film doesn’t catch fire for me. I admire its audacity, its imagination and the way it plays with our notions of time, space and identity. I even suspect there is something beautiful and profound hidden within its layers and layers of plot and meaning. But I grow too weary to puzzle it out. My eyes get heavy, I take a little mid-movie nap, and when I wake up, Emily Watson is playing Samantha Morton. Which seems perfectly logical, since I have a tendency to think of them as one and the same person anyway.

Perhaps I will revisit “Synecdoche, NY” one day when my synapses are firing on all burners, but now it is time to prepare for another trip to the multiplex. Tonight’s selection: “Angels and Demons.”

The highlight of the evening, by far, is seeing the “Nine” trailer on the big screen, an experience which has so me so beside myself that I start flailing my arms around to alert my friend, Mary Anne that “This is it!!! This is the trailer I was telling you about!!!”…. and very nearly knocking her popcorn out of her hands in the process. That was the start of the evening, and it’s downhill from there. It used to be that movie trailers were limited to upcoming features of the same genre as the film you came to see, but tonight – for no discernible reason- we get trailers not only for the musical, “Nine,” but for the upcoming Tyler Perry/Medea comedy and the new Nia Vardalos feature “My Life in Ruins.”

As for “Angels and Demons,” it’s a comic book played out against a sumptuous Vatican backdrop. There’s lots and lots and lots of dialogue – only it isn’t’ really dialogue, just clunky, faux-scholarly exposition about the evil Illuminati, the meanings of pyramids, obelisks and obscure verse, and what happens when matter meets anti-matter. Even if you can’t quite keep up with all this (I couldn’t), it still hums efficiently along with just enough suspense and visceral thrills to keep us interested, if not quite on the edge of our seats. As Mary Anne warned me, Tom Hanks seems to be phoning it in at this point. I realize that Hanks and his pal, Ron Howard, are making ginormous buckets of money from this franchise, but surely Hanks is ready to do something a bit more challenging next time around.

Monday, May 25 – No movie today. I’m busy packing for a business trip, which will keep me mostly out of the blogosphere until next weekend. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, and I’ll catch up with all of you later.


4 Comments so far
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Daniel Day-Lewis is brilliant.Angels & Demons is worse than I could have imagined. The Illuminati sure do a lot of illogical things for an organization founded on science and logic.

Comment by Eric

I really enjoyed this diary, Pat. Always nice to see how people fit movies into their weekends.I agree with about Elegy and SNY. Though I didn’t fall asleep during SNY, I was pretty confounded at the 3/4 mark and left in a bit of a daze. I’m a little intimidated to try it again unless I’m really prepped for it. Or maybe I’ll just watch it bit by bit as it comes on TV or something and draws me in.And you’re also right on about McConaughey. Literally his last dozen movies seem to be the same thing with a different co-star, or even the same co-star, I don’t even know.

Comment by Daniel Getahun

Daniel -Thanks. I think Matthew McConaughey had a lot of promise early on, but he’s never really delivered on it. He’s cute enough, I guess, but I’d find him much more attractive if I thought there was some depth behind the good looks.Erio -I agree. Daniel Day-Lewis rocks my world, and I’m really looking forward to him in “Nine.”

Comment by Pat

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

Comment by 22

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