3/8/09

My Week In Film (3/2 - 3/8)



The Nutty Professor (1963)
(Directed by Jerry Lewis)

Oh, yeah! Pretty brilliant. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it has all that stuff about masculinity and all that nonsense and something about Lewis' own doubts about some parts of his personality and all that crap. But even without all that, this film is tremendously funny. Both Kelp and Buddy are great characters to watch. Each gets some really great scenes. Kelp with his transformation scene that's all dark as hell with colors splashed all around the floor and the obviously fake sets with no roofs. And Buddy gets the scene with the bartender in the drink. It's all unleashed id. It actually reminded of Bigger than Life, for some reason. Anyway, this is still brilliant directing just like in The Ladies Man but better to me cuz it has a plot to attach myself to (although with a rewatch, I might not need that from Ladies). Also, that one girl is really, really hot and wears a bunch of sexy outfits. What's not to love?

★★★★



Election (1999)
(Directed by Alexander Payne)

A fine satire and all that. Also very funny. But something bugs me about it and I'm not entirely sure why. It might be this sense that these character/people are being made fun of that I can't shake. This isn't an entirely overwhelming feeling, actually, but it's something that I do agree is there. And, yeah, I get it, satire. But at some points the portrayals go over into caricature far too easily (there's this one part that's totally contemptuous where I think Tracy is licking an envelope--although I allow for it to be the subjective portrayal of her through McAllister's POV) and another part near the end of the film (*spoiler, probably* where Tracy wonders what's happened to the teacher she had an affair with is turned into a cruel joke instead of continuing the almost sincere thought behind it). But that was only here and there. Most of the time, I was laughing too much to be really paying attention to other stuff. It must be said that Chris Klein is amazing in this film. The range of his facial expressions is almost zilch but he really makes them work for him, you know? And his character is just so sweet and goofy that who cares, really? Witherspoon turns in what's easily her best performance as Tracy Flick. Her character is annoying (as were those people back in high school although I'm sure they were nice and all that crap) and Payne makes sure we knows (and understand why McAllister doesn't like her). What I found fascinating about her was actually this hatred of people who're handed everything on a silver platter (highlighted in one of the best scenes as she stares off into the parking lot, presumably at the rich kids with the nice cars, while she's on the bus narrating how much she hates them). I can relate. Oh, speaking of narration. Wow, so much! At the beginning, it's just McAllister (aided by the freeze frames--so many!!!) but then we get Tracy and then Chris Klein and then his sister! Oh, yeah, his sister. She's actually my favorite part of the movie and it's for one scene only. She's just gotten suspended from school and she's riding her bike and she says something along the lines of "why do people think getting suspended is bad? it's great!" and I'm like exactly! The less school, the better. Doesn't matter what the reason is. Also, am I the only one who thought her obsessive crushes were really sweet and funny (especially when they look like this)?. Oh, yeah, Broderick. He's pretty great, too. He's pretty subtle, too, although I think Payne sabotages that thanks to The Great Trilogy of Broderick. Anyway, the story is told in a sort of hodgepodge of styles. It's sort of consistent but it's willing to break its style just to prove a point. I generally think these flourishes don't really work (that last one just annoys me for some reason).

uh, so it was good!??? Yeah.

★★★



Paris is Burning (1990)
(Directed by Jennie Livingston)


this moved me so much!!!!!! okay, not really. Well, actually, yes. I was very moved by it. It wasn't so much during the film itself because there's nothing really to be moved by until the very end. I was moved by reading the wikipedia article on the film later and finding out what happened to the people here. Sigh.

The documentary itself is fine. It's kinda sloppy and amateurish in places (so the sean's of the world need not apply :P) but I can forgive that. The themes and subjects of the story aren't introduced well at all. We're just shown an intertitle once in a while saying "SHADING" or whatever and then the film talks about that subject. Groundbreaking, it is not. However, I think this thing is so full of vibrancy. The ball scenes are fantastic with the voguing and the invocation of "realness" (as a tool and concept). Fascinating stuff. We get to know very memorable people and in its own raggedy way learn about their hopes and dreams (be a rich, spoiled white girl!, be a model!, be somebody!). Of course, the film is also about how their very identities (both true and constructed) will not allow them to be members of "acceptable society," no matter how much they may want to join it. Also, it made me want to listen to "Got To Be Real" and that is never a bad thing.

This film touched me in my special places.

★★★

Jhon's Movie of the Week is... The Nutty Professor

1 comment:

cineaddict said...

Am pretty sure it's intentional that the last line of the Paris Is Burning review just sounds dirty.