Weekend Movie Wrap-Up

by tully
December 19, 2005 3:48 AM
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"Well that was definitely gayer than BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN." --Todd Rohal (director of the Slamdance competition entry THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE--www.guatemalanhandshake.com), on KING KONG. (He was referring, most specifically, to the Central Park icecapade sequence, which makes the slow-motion bed romp at the end of RETURN OF THE KING look like FIGHT CLUB.)

Todd and I actually did it on Friday. A 2:50 screening of BROKEBACK, then KONG at 7:00. My lower back and ass have been bitching at me all weekend. Sorry, guys. Anyway, I give both films four stars, with reservations.

KING KONG is too fucking long. By the time they got back to New York I felt like it should have been over. I simply crashed before the climax. I'm sure it didn't help that I'd spent the afternoon watching another two-hour plus film, but the fact remains that he could have trimmed some fat and crafted a leaner, meaner outright masterpiece. Still, it's a goddamn spectacle of a motion picture and it swept me away for 80% of it.

As for BROKEBACK, I don't know, man. I mean, don't get me wrong. I think it's an impressive achievement with a legendary, unforgettable final shot, but I wasn't as affected as I was hoping I would be. I guess it all comes down to one thing, which prevented me from giving in to the romance completely. Instead of Jack's jaunt to Mexico, I wish there had been a scene of him pining alone in his bedroom holding on to Ennis's shirt like it was all he had in the world. I know the point is that this was Jack's troubled way of dealing with his emotions, but to me he just looked like a sex-starved swinger. Even that seemingly inconsequential scene of him hitting on the guy in the bar. The way he was presented, I never totally grasped his "love" for Ennis. He just felt like a confused teenager who didn't think things through.

This is all a personal issue of mine, I realize that, but my allegiances lie with Ennis. A life of frustrated, sad loneliness is better than a neverending series of random fluke encounters. Why are people so fucking weak and unable to stand on their own two feet? In a sick way, I almost think Jack's behavior will provide fodder for homophobes. There wasn't much nobility in his actions, no matter how fucked up the circumstances were. If he had faced Ennis--and the world--the way he faced his prick father-in-law at Thanksgiving, perhaps that would have shown some heroism. As it was, Ennis was the film's only hero. Heath Ledger is a tough one to top this year, what with this and his hilariously insane performance in LORDS OF DOGTOWN.

Taking the hetero/homo aspect out of it, I have to say that I was more affected by the romance in WALK THE LINE than I was in BROKEBACK. This could be another example of the low-bar/high-bar theory. I wasn't expecting to like WALK THE LINE at all and I ended up liking it very much, whereas with BROKEBACK I was expecting for my life to be changed and it didn't meet my (admittedly extreme) expectations. I think it's a very good movie, it just isn't the masterpiece I was hoping for.

I just watched THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED. Since when did Paul Thomas Anderson start acting? And in a French film, no less? My good buddy Jane Rizzo was right (and she should know, considering she's a wonderful editor in her own right). This film has some astoundingly great editing. I wonder if this aesthetic was discovered in the editing room, or if that was the plan all along. Either way, I now know what the hype was about. In this case, my expectations were more than met.

In other news, today has reminded me why I curbed the alcoholism. I got rather shitsmashed at my sister's holiday party last night and today has been an almost total wash. Aside from work on the closing credits and a tiny bit of sound work, nothing else was accomplished.

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  • Mark Rabinowitz | December 23, 2005 4:32 AMReply

    Your wished upon replacement scene for Brokeback wouldn't work, methinks. The shirt needed to stay hidden until Ennis got to Jack's parents' place. Despite the whole that's how it was in the story thing, it works better this way in the film, too.

  • j boy charras | December 19, 2005 6:14 AMReply

    Keep hitting the jar, or you'll never get your movie done...