Friday, March 5, 2010

Come on get happy!

I had a busy week, thus no posting. I shall compensate now.

I watched Happiness which almost every person I mentioned it to said "I can't believe you haven't seen it." Then they would proceed to tell me how much it disturbed them. Flattery will get you everywhere.
It was the first NetFlix movie that Dan insisted I not watch without him, because he really liked it when he saw it the first time.
So, I knew going in that this movie would make an impression. And, boy, did it ever.
This movie is un-fucking-believably good. I don't throw around a compliment like that. It treads the thin line between humorous and horrific better than any other movie I've ever seen. Ever. Genius casting and every cast member delivers an amazing performance. A script that is funny, sweet, sad, hilarious, disturbing, real and yet so surreal. Set and costume design that is flawless. This is a world you could get lost in, but you don't want to be there. In this world, happiness is fleeting and elusive. It's hard to find, in unlikely places, and impossible to hold on to. A mirror for the real world.
Catherine Manheim's the hidden jewel of this movie. It was her scene that made me laugh the hardest, and the chemistry between her and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is delicious. Jon Lovitz is also incredible.
I wish every movie could be like this one. Unforgettably brilliant. Familiar, yet like nothing you've seen before.
It deifnes dark comedy. 50 years from now, this movie will be a classic.

I also re-watched Moulin Rouge. It's one of those movies, like American Pie and The Matrix, where every time I see it, I like it a little less. The first time I saw it, I was blown away. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. The visual experience alone was overwhelming. Subsequent viewings make me focus less on the lush visuals and more on the plot, acting, and music. All of which, while better than most movies, I feel could have been better. I've seen better from Nicole Kidman. I also noticed a gaping plot hole that I never noticed before: prior to the moment when he declares that he doesn't "like people touching my things!", the Duke isn't evil. To the contrary, he sees Satine and falls in love, exactly as Christian does. He then attempts wooing her, and she acts enamored with him. Of course he's upset when he finds out she's lying to him and having an affair. Of course he doesn't want the woman he love to be a prostitute anymore. Why does that make him evil? Granted, it doesn't exactly excuse his violence towards Satine in the end, but it was a different time and she was a prostitute.
They could have worked in some source of evil-ness. Like that his fortune came from using child-labor, or that he abused other prostitutes.
That bothers me. I like my villains to have some evil meat on their nasty bones. For an operatic movie, you need an operatic villain. The Duke was lacking. Especially when in La Traviata, the opera upon which the movie is loosely based, the thing keeping the lovers apart is the fact that a former prostitute, no matter how highly paid, cannot be accepted in polite society. Violetta tells Alfredo she doesn't love him so that she won't bring shame upon his family, especially when she will die soon and they will not. A social death is worse than a real death in that society. That's some heart-breaking material right there. Much better than some effeminate, control-freak duke.

I've got lots more movies lined up and I promise I'll be adding to the "See" list. Bear with me.

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