I play guitar and sing. So, far be it from me to really be an arts critic of anything else other than what I already do. Even in this genre I often don’t have much in the way of perspective. But I am a consumer with even half a brain, and I love going to the movies. I don’t go often but when I do, I do get a big Slushie, and sometimes I get the nachos with the plasticky cheese product in the little tub. It’s just a right of passage. I’m lactose intolerant, by the way. However, I honestly don’t believe there to be any cheese in that stuff, so I’m generally ok for the length of the movie.
So I think the movie should be followable. I really do. I don’t mind thinking through ideas presented, I don’t need a defined perfect hero (I loved Lawrence of Arabia), I just need to be prodded and entertained for 127 minutes. So I’ll cut to it…
Was I the only one pretty lost through most of Tinker Tailor Solider Spy? I am even lost in the audio book, to the point that I flipped more than once back to Steven Hawking’s A Brief History of Time audiobook as a break.
Here’s a short list, in no particular order, of movies that left me in the dark, or that I disliked no matter how they were embraced by Hollywood:
2001 A Space Odyssey.
The movie that might have coined the term “WTF?” if there were more than just HAL as computers at our disposal at that time.
A Fish Called Wanda
I couldn’t get past the torment of a guy with a speech impediment. Nothing was funny after that. Period.
Terms Of Endearment
People driving a Corvette on the beach. Woman waves to her mom as she dies of cancer while her husband nods off… I was so irritated at this movie’s end that I said a little too loud “Awww, this was such crap…”. At this, a heavy-set Black lady seated a row ahead of me stood, and turned around, hands on her hips There we were, both of us standing face to face, her in row 27, facing back to me in row 28, me watching ahead as folks left the theatre, the two of us maybe the only two black folks in the theatre - certainly two less as many as there were in the movie…and she scolded “This movie was a beautiful look at these peoples' lives, good and bad!! Life is like that sometimes!”
I replied, “Lady, when your worldly troubles are resolved by you doing doughnuts in a Corvette on the beach, please be in touch.”
What a smartass I am. Who knows? - that lady might have had a Corvette….
The Kids Are All Right
I really disliked this movie for a few reasons. Firstly, the gardener, then secondly Mark Ruffalo character’s part-time girlfriend, both "people of some ethnicity", were treated pretty badly for no other reason than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why did his girlfriend have to be a Black woman? Ooooh, how rounded a man he is! Filled with such worldly equanimity. And guess the gardener’s ethnicity…..are we ethnic folks represented in the cast enough yet? Lemme know when..
Yet that was not the most egregious happening in this film. Julianne Moore’s character strayed out of the relationship. Now, that happens in a lot of relationships, and Hollywood wants to sell you a ticket to this movie *and* a ticket to their hipness to the fact that they are in touch - that they know that strife happens in gay relationships, moms in a gay relationship have kids that go to college, and oh dear, even the seamy side, women in gay relationships might actually watch porn! Thank you, Hollywood, for making us feel finally OK about gay relationships and just how normal and Huxtable they can be!!
She strayed into the arms of a man. Really? Way to represent, Hollywood. A gay woman’s ultimate passion fling, penultimate indiscretion, deep seated steamy desire, comes from sexing it up with a man? Sperm donor or no, I was outraged. It was as if Hollywood was telling me that I couldn’t handle her cheating with another woman. It was as if the writers and producers were saying “Our job is done - that’s gay enough - let's give them a fling that John and Suzy Q. Public can wrap themselves around."
Well, hell yeah, I want to see Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore get it on. But please, somebody, please, tell me that there was a little squeamishness in various lesbian communities when this movie was nominated for its various awards.
Would we be more comfortable if Denzel and Company in Glory had halted their charge into battle because someone on the sidelines had a bucket of fried chicken? Or if Akira Kurosawa made sure that somebody was doing math on an abacus in every movie he made?
If you want to see The Kids Are Alright, get the one that features The Who. You can believe the content of that one. Oh, and someone please bring back Mystery Science Theatre 3000. I know some movies that need to be brought down to earth.