Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oscar Bait: Fuck, Marry, Kill

Fuck: Slumdog Millionaire. I'm glad I saw it once, but I have no interest in watching it again. I definitely understand why everyone loves it so much, but at the same time, there were a couple of things that really bothered me. First of all, the pace never really varies. It's just full speed ahead all the time, as we cut from one intense, stressful, upsetting situation to another. I need a break to catch my breath once in a while! In my opinion, the frantic pace doesn't give the characters enough time to build meaningful relationships with one another. And while I appreciate the cleverness of the narrative structure, I'm getting tired of reading about how freaking genius it is. It is a clever device, but I just don't think any narrative gimmick is really worthy of so much praise. Anyway, despite my complaints, I did enjoy this movie. It's very good, just not one of my favorites.

Marry: Milk. I loved this movie so much, I totally want to gay marry it. I was expecting it to be a little dry, like a history lesson, but I was completely riveted and entertained from start to finish. Everyone delivers an incredibly compelling performance, but the stand out, for me, was Emile Hirsch, because I wasn't expecting it. Sean Penn was amazing of course, James Franco and Josh Brolin were great, but they were pretty much great in the way that I expected. Emile Hirsch and, to a lesser extent, Diego Luna, really surprised me. I was also surprised by the relationship between Sean Penn and James Franco. I guess I just thought James Franco would be sort of a sidekick, or background figure, but there is a real love story in this movie, and it's a good one. I would watch it again and again, and I'll definitely be rooting for Milk to win some awards.

Kill: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This isn't really fair, because I went into this movie expecting it to be terrible. But whatever, I still thought it was terrible. When I heard that they were making this movie I was psyched, because I really like the Fitzgerald story. Then I read an article saying that they had just used the premise of the short story, and none of the plot. At that point, I knew I was going to be disappointed, but Ed wanted to see it so I tried to have an open mind. Just kidding, of course I didn't really try that hard to have an open mind. I expected to be irritated but I didn't expect to hate it as much as I did. There's no structure, it's overwrought and heavy handed and clunky, and it's shallow and superficial but pretends to be deep. The short story is surreal and whimsical and funny and structurally coherent. The movie is none of those things. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton were great, though.


Nathan Bransford said...

Only saw two out of three so I don't know who I'd FKM, but both Slumdog Millionaire and Milk almost lost me at the end because of over the top cheesiness. I give these two the "Munich" Award for movies that got stupid at the end because the director was trying to be deep:

Slumdog: brother getting killed in a bathtub full of money for no apparent reason whatsoever except for painfully obvious irony. Dude. We get it. The brothers went in different directions.

Milk: James Franco at the sparsely attended funeral for Harvey Milk: "Where is everybody? Doesn't anybody care?" Um. Yes? Also: look behind you!! Candle-wielding mob!!!!

Really liked them both otherwise though.

Nathan Bransford said...

Oh. And um, spoiler alert.

S.A.M. said...

Interesting. Not having read Fitzgerald's short story... and going into the movie expecting to love it... I did! It was everything I hoped it would be, with some cool surprises thrown in as well (lightning... laughed every time).
Sometimes I think our enjoyment of a film has more to do with where we're at mentally when we watch it than with how good it actually is. That's why people disagree on movies so much.