- What About Bob? : -2
- Red Beard : 2
- The Usual Suspects: 3
- Dead Man: -1
Ratings from -4 to 4
What About Bob?
Bill Murray is a shrink-dependent nutcase who drops in on vacationing psycotherapist Richard Dreyfuss. Wow, was this bad. It wasn't funny, and for that matter, it wasn't plausible--everything played out in the most obvious way possible. (The latter would be irrelevant if not for the former). If I want to see Bill Murray doing goofy mugging I'll go watch Caddyshack again. Rating (-4 to 4): -2
Huh, Frank Oz also directed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Toshiro Mifune is a head doctor at a clinic. The theatricality of Mifune stroking his beard yet again aside, this is a convincing little drama. Although the arc of the main doctor is obvious and predictable, the movie provides such a thorough look at the world around him that the arc really works--rather than some single moment being the lynchpin in his transformation, his change comes gradually, only marked in small ways as it does. But although it's good and certainly worth seeing, it falls short of great by its lack of ambition--it all feels far too cliche and far too pat. And the fight scene is totally out of place. Rating (-4 to 4): 2
The Usual Suspects
Kevin Spacey's cerebral palsied character describes the events leading up to a shootout of criminals on a boat. Gabriel Byrne is charming, Kevin Spacey is effective, Benicio del Toro is out of this world. Although I had had the surprise spoiled, I had forgotten the details, but found it easy to figure it out since I knew roughly what was coming. Some bits of the invasion of the boat are ludicrous--that so few men could so easily take out the others, that the Baldwin character will round the corner guns blazing before he sees who's there, but when he rounds the corner where Gabriel Byrne is, he hesitates long enough to see and not shoot. For the most part this can be forgiven due to the structure of the story, but it seemed to me like extreme cheese and kind of lazy filmmaking; as Byrne says in advance, there's no way they could survive the assault, and yet they do, despite their "clever plan" (the initial attack on the boat) only being good for taking out maybe 25% of the enemies. But it's a fun little crime thriller, nicely acted, with a cute little plot, albeit a tad episodic. Rating (-4 to 4): 3
Johnny Depp is William Blake, an accountant whose job in the wild west doesn't pan out, leaving him pursued by bounty hunters. I figured, well, lots of people seem to like Jim Jarmusch, and I'm a Johnny Depp fan, so let's go for it, but it really didn't excite me. The going-in-and-out-of-consciousness and the mysterious Indian philosophy/metaphors just bored me, un-engaged me. The arc of Blake turning into a desperado was ok; the quirky bounter hunters were mildly entertaining. But why did Farmer's character decide, after nursing Depp back to health the first time he's shot, that it was time to send him off unhealed the second time he gets shot, this time seemingly less health-ruiningly? I don't know. It felt like the ending with the bounty hunter finally catching up was just sort of a tossed-in "ok, here's your hollywood story structure that you keep complaining I don't have" and hardly mattered to the story. I wasn't a big fan of Ghost Dog; I get the feeling that Jarmusch's sensibilities are just not for me. Rating (-4 to 4): -1