- Erin Brokovich: 0
- My Dinner With Andre : 0
- Strangers on a Train: 0
- Husbands and Wives: 1
- Deconstructing Harry: 2
- Hannah and Her Sisters: 2
Erin BrokovichA legal assistant investigates a possible chemical seepage problem. There's an amazing, amazing stunt near the beginning of the movie, which really impressed me--it was so visceral. Thank you CGI for making things like that possible.
Sadly, it had basically nothing to do with the movie, and in some sense made the rest of it anticlimactic. Still, credit Soderbergh for refining the script to try to keep it closer to the truth, Julia Roberts for doing a great job of acting out the foul-mouthed not-as-bright-as-she-thinks-she-is protagonist. The problem is that there's really just not much of a story there. You see where things are going from the beginning, and there are never really any obstacles for her to overcome. We get some sense of how Brokovich, by being friendly and compassionate, was able to win over people to her cause, But for the most part, it's just a lot of Brokovich rubbing people the wrong way and an irrelevant fairy-tale romantic subplot.. Two examples of specific complaints: in the sequence with her convincing people to sign the thingy, we don't see her convincing anyone at all; they just sign, or they get a long monologue (I think, I forget how the pivot woman scene went exactly, as I saw this movie ages ago at this point, but I remember being annoyed). We just see her going, and people signing. Wow, that was hard. And the crucial critical last bit of evidence: some guy walks up to her and tells her he's got it. Way for that protagonist to take action to accomplish her goal.
Real life doesn't always have a satisfying dramatic arc. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
My Dinner With AndreWally has dinner with his estranged, strange friend Andre. Well, umm. It was an interesting conversation, but the climax seemed a little too simplistic. E.g.. "I can't believe that, because that's unscientific, because science says all these things," said Wally. "Yes, but science isn't really all that," said Andre. "Well, I guess you're right," said Wally. Also, Andre Gregory sucks at listening, or rather at acting it. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
Strangers on a TrainA rich layabout suggests to a tennis star that they swap murders. This Hitchcok "action" flick didn't work very well for me because it was a little too simplistic, by the numbers: the person who gets killed is shown to be not-a-very-nice person very clearly first; the villain is psychotic, rather than just bad (so e.g. he can't understand the idea 'the police are watching, I can't do anything'); the protagonist rejects the simple "why don't I just go deal with it" plan by the reasoning (as far as I could see) that would involve somebody other than the protagonist resolving the situation, and we can't have that; the fact that the boat operator could identify the culprit made things a little too tidy; and the final "thrilling" climax seemed incredibly cheesy to me. (Why could it possibly go that fast? Why is only one person--the "right" person by the needs of the story--harmed in the end by it?) But it's Hitchcock, so there's enough little stuf to keep it from going negative, at least. Rating (-4 to 4): 0
Husbands and Wives
Hannah and Her SistersPick several: A married couple splits up. A man has an affair with his wife's sister. A coworker recommends a hooker to the protagonist. A writer bases a story on real-life relationships. A year later, they were married.
After determining I really liked some Woody Allen movies, I added a bunch to my queue. I obviously forgot to split them up so I wouldn't see them all at once.
Husbands and Wives was a bit too dramatic rather than funny for me. The long opening scene, with the camera jerking back and forth as Woody and Mia react to hearing their friends are splitting up, lacked comedy and the (intentionally) jerky camera didn't really entertain me; it was too repetitive, too... dull. It felt like so many things went too long; did we need to see the aerobics instructor get out of the car and have to be convinced to get back in it twice? The faux documentary question stuff seemed dopey, too--shades of Take the Money and Run, too. Still, some funny bits. Juliette Lewis sure was cute. Nice to see for once Woody doesn't succeed with the young chick and actually runs away from it. Rating (-4 to 4): 1
Deconstructing Harry was much more humor than drama, and much more vulgar. (It was amusing to see how Woody'd basically turned on the "say 'fuck'" switch for this in comparison to the previous.) Not just in language, but in content, like blowjobs and on-screen (inexplicit) sex acts. But it also felt a lot more honest, directly personal. I wondered whether this was really the true Woody--at one point he admits that all these other protagonists are of course him, thinly disguised, and perhaps that should jump out to be true of the movie itself, but I don't know. The bit with Robin Williams was hilarious, and curiously so since it required essentially no comedy on his part. (What an incredibly dishonest tagline: '...now his best friends [about whom he wrote a book] are about to become his biggest enemies': after the first main sequence, there's nothing more about those people who that book was about.) But anyway, vulgar + funny = funny. Rating (-4 to 4): 2
Hannah and Her Sisters mines the same drama+comedy as Husbands and Wives, but with a lot more variety of relationships and a more interesting take on infidelity. Also seemed to have more funny bits and fewer excessively melodramatic bits. Plus, Carrie Fisher. Oddly, this is the one I just watched and it's the one which I can think of the least to say about. Rating (-4 to 4): 2 shading lower.