Week in Review
There are two kinds of roles that actors take to rejuvenate sagging careers: they either go transgressive or introspective. Either a guy plays a junky or he plays a dissatisfied yuppie. A woman becomes a hooker or a millionaire who has everything but happiness. After Hollywood has taken their mediocre acting talents as far as they can go, these actors make a last stab at credibility in smaller films that give them a chance to show their "range."
Unfortunately, "range" to these people means they gain 30 pounds by eating lunch every day, stop dying their hair and let the gray show, or they play a character with a blue collar job and perfectly capped teeth. I've seen two films recently that just tickled my angry spot: Friends With Money and Edmond.
Friends With Money "stars" Jennifer Anniston and Frances McDormand. Jennifer you might remember from her eponymous haircut, the "hot" girl on Friends, and the girl who got to bang Brad Pitt; now she's playing a maid with a $300 haircut, a manicure, and perfect skin. Frances McDormand, long past Blood Simple, Crimewave, Missippi Burning, and Fargo, plays a fashion designer who has success and money, but is still a little unhappy. Awww. It's a Coming-of-forty-five film in which I couldn't find it in my heart to care about anyone.
Edmond, starring William H. Macy, is like the movie Falling Down, but meaner, and with a script that makes little sense. Denise Richards, who once was all over TV and is now 35 years old, plays a stripper in an upscale club; she acts like she's never been in a strip club before. Maybe she should've asked her ex-husband Charlie Sheen for advice. Mena Suvari, who once did the American Pie and American Beauty films, but is now relegated to videogame voiceovers, plays, as listed in the credits, "Whore." Both of them are still totally beautiful, but they are committing the fatal sin in Hollywood -- aging. Julia Stiles plays a slutty homophobic cocktail waitress. Hopefully her career's still intact, but this is a bad sign.
The real headscratching moment of Edmond was after it was over, and I realized it was written by David Mamet, who is one of my favorite screen and drama writers. Every time I'm in a discussion of best written screenplays, I usually list Glengarry Glen Ross. Then I realized the director was Stuart Gordon, one of the Masters of Horror directors who also directed The ReAnimator. He also directed Robot Jox and Space Truckers. Nuff said.
Pick of the Week
Yet another good week for DVDs. I was tempted to pick the second season of the TV series Rescue Me, but it just wasn't quite as tight as season one. I liked the Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock "magical mailbox" film, The Lake House. Goal! The Dream Begins was more interesting than any actual soccer match I've seen. I Don't Know Jack surprised me with its tragic ending. From Here to Eternity is an undisputed American classic worth every bit of the hype. The pick this week goes to a totally random selection, Who Am I This Time?, due to the strength of Christopher Walken's performance.
Who Am I This Time? is an hour-long film made for American Playhouse, directed by Johnathan Demme and starring Christopher Walken and Susan Serandon. It's not a great film, but the performances are so strong, I couldn't help making it the pick, combined with the fact that you probably haven't heard of it. Walken plays Harry Nash, a small town hardware store clerk who has trouble communicating with the outside world. However, he's a genius onstage. Not only does Walken (the epitome of the "strange" actor) play a "strange" actor, he also plays the role that actor plays on stage: Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. The scene where Nash auditions for the role with Susan Sarandon's Helene Shaw is worth the whole film.
Helene falls for Harry, but can't seem to communicate with him off stage. She's determined to connect with the man that she knows lurks inside his heart. But how? Well, that's the film for you to watch. Overall, it's a great date film, but because of its length, I'd recommend getting another film as well... perhaps From Here to Eternity.
Even with all my running around this week, I jammed 10 DVDs in. 380 DVDs in 281 days. 120 DVDs left in the next 84 days for a pace of 9.99 per week.
Weirdness: Triumph of the Spirit showed up, after I reported it as missing. However, a Sam Kinison documentary was sent and recorded as returned by Netflix but I never saw it.
Total Viewing Time: 27 days, 5 hours, 53 minutes