#291- Lone Star

Quick recap: Everyone has daddy issues- a deputy, the owner of an historic bar, an officer in the Army. Practically the whole town could use some counseling.

daddy issues, both of them.

daddy issues, both of them.

Fun (?) fact: The movie playing when young Sam and Pilar are making out is Black Mama White Mama, a nod to Pilar’s secret heritage.

It's Bailey from Grey's Anatomy! She probably has daddy issues also, although it's never stated outright

It’s Bailey from Grey’s Anatomy! She probably has daddy issues also, although it’s never stated outright

My thoughts: SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. 

I watched this movie almost a week ago and, except for the DVD skipping at the end, had a pretty uneventful time. I started writing my review the next night, as I am wont to do and as I looked up trivia, I noticed people discussing the ending and debating what happened. It was very obvious to me that the two main characters ended up together and everything was nicely tied up so what’s the controversy? That’s when I realized that the DVD skipped the exact moment Sam revealed that he and his lover Pilar were Luke and Leia-ing it up as half brother and sister. And in the end decided ‘screw it!’ and stayed together. The lesson of this tale is that maybe it’s time for the DVD to die out. It makes me wonder how many critical scenes I have missed in the past due to a scratched disc.

So, weird French Film twist ending aside the movie was just ‘meh’ for me. The bulk of Lone Star is about Sam coming to terms with who his father, a police officer, really was. The town saw him as a saint but Sam only knew him as a person he clashed with in his teenage years and didn’t feel close to. There is one scene when young Sam and Pilar are at a drive-in and the police break into the car and separate the two of them. Grownup Sam uses this scene as a way to show how strict his father was, but knowing the ending that they are actually siblings, totally makes sense why he wouldn’t want them together. And then there’s this mystery about an evil, racist deputy that goes missing and Sam thinks his father may have killed him, which would prove he wasn’t such a good guy after all. But really, that proves nothing because the deputy in question murdered a lot of innocent people and needed to be stopped.

There were all these other characters in the town that had their own issues with family and everyone is of course connected somehow in the end. Most of the time I felt like I was watching a television season than a movie. Maybe that would’ve been a better format for this story because it just dragged on and on at times. There were a few revelations that I would label shocking, but I could see them rolled out as a season finale or something, not all thrown into one heap.

Final review: 2/5

Up next: The Graduate

 

 

#287- Diner

Quick recap: A group of friends from high school learn to navigate the trials and tribulations of their early 20s at-you guessed it- a diner.

Kevin Bacon is peak Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon is peak Kevin Bacon

Fun (?) fact: As I learned from this article, Judd Apatow was directly influenced by Diner. He said that every scene in his movies where people are sitting around talking about sex, come from the dialogue from this movie.

Hear me out- young Mickey Rourke reminds me of Bruce Willis, but with hair. They even sound alike.

Hear me out- young Mickey Rourke reminds me of Bruce Willis, but with hair. They even sound alike.

My thoughts: I know it will come as a shock to many, but I was never actually a college age male in 1950s Baltimore. I’m really glad to get that out of the way. Despite this handicap, I still expected to enjoy Diner, even if I couldn’t personally relate to it. I mean, what else could you possibly need in your life besides a young Kevin Bacon?

Plenty more, apparently, because I just didn’t care for this movie all that much. It’s one thing to have a movie about ‘nothing’, but it’s another thing to have a whole bunch of ‘nothings’ make you think you are about to get ‘something’, when in fact everything will happen exactly like you predicted in the beginning: the wedding will go on, a young man with a gambling problem will not be taken out by the mob, and the young couple will fall back in love, exactly where they started.  ‘But!’, you say. ‘What about the journey? The self-actualization? The maturity?’. Yes, the friends grew up and learned to live in their situation but they never actually came to terms with anything, except the value of resignation. I imagine a sequel where everyone meets up in 10 years, probably in the same diner, and everyone sits around complaining about the same issues they’ve always had. I wasn’t expecting some twist or even closure, but don’t hand me a sappy ending when you know full well that when the camera stops, everything continues as it always has been.

Final review: 2/5. The point is for Kevin Bacon.

Up next: The Night of the Shooting Stars

 

#281- Deliverance

Quick recap: 4 men go on a canoe trip and end up being hunted by hillbillies.

235718

Fun (?) fact: According to IMDb, more than 30 people drowned in the Chattooga River after the movie came out because they were trying to recreate different scenes.

giphy

My thoughts: Bonus fun fact- I still have the ‘Dueling Banjos’ melody in my head. It’s better than my usual mashup of the Ducktales theme song/Mentos commercial, but I’d still like to move on from it, all the same. So. Deliverance. This movie is in the category of Movies People Unnecessarily Warn Me About, like The Exorcist. Yes, there were disturbing scenes, but it was no more or less disturbing than other movie I have watched on this list

Before I spew my actual thoughts about the film, I have a confession to make. Saturday Night Live’s Celebrity Jeopardy is one of my favorite things ( like most people, I assume), but I never really understood the Burt Reynolds impersonation until this movie. I haven’t seen many films that he is in but after watching Deliverance, I realize that I don’t need to in order to understand who he is. And, tangentially, what was up with that vest Reynolds wore? What was it made of? It seems like the kind of clothing that would chafe you until you were driven insane, but this is Burt Reynolds we are talking about, so maybe he was in his element.

poster-befreiung-burt-reynolds-1972-356448

You could stand to show a little more chest hair, Mr. Reynolds

So. Deliverance. It didn’t do much for me, although I can appreciate turning so common, like a river, into something so sinister. I guess I’m meh about the whole thing because I was expecting more disturbing scenes than I got. Literally the only thing I knew about this movie was the rape scene, and although it was rough, it didn’t bother me like the one in Man Bites Dog did. Maybe because it’s a man, more people are shocked? On the other hand, this movie did not make me want to go jump into a canoe anytime soon. I’m not really a fan of being in the water anyway, but watching Deliverance made me all the more weary to go camping or some other similar adventure.

Final review: 2/5. I think my ambivalence comes from my dislike of most of the characters. Burt Reynolds was never supposed to be likeable, but I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.

Up next: Horrorfest marches on

 

 

 

 

 

#272- Happiness

Quick recap: Netflix says this is a movie about a dysfunctional family but I beg to differ. . These people are the most awful and miserable I have encountered in this list and that’s saying something, considering I have watched Downfall.

pshhappinessh2014jpg-887138_610w

Kind of odd, but I used to have a thing for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Glad that’s been cured!

Fun (?) fact: Many well known actors refused to play the part of Bill, who is a pedophile. It didn’t bother Dylan Baker, however, who claims his career never suffered and he moved on easily from the role. Who, you might ask? Exactly.

happiness001

How about a lovely scene with Jon Lovitz, who is apparently posing on the same couch my mom had for over 30 years. 

My thoughts: When a movie goes with something as bold as Happiness, I knew it would be anything but. And considering how rough the last few weeks have been, I wanted to wait until I was in a better state of mind before watching something so mind numbingly awful. I’ve seen some bad stuff on here, mind you (El Topo, Murmur of the Heart, The Tin Drum), but Happiness is on a whole other level of messed up.

One weird game I like to play when watching movies I’ve never heard of before is to think about what kind of person would list this film as one of their favorites. Because you know that somewhere, someone LOVES the hell out of Happiness and can probably quote it word for word. That concerns me, naturally, but I guess I can see the possibility in the kind of person who loves black comedies. And buddy, this is the blackest comedy there is. Unlike American Beauty where I could never figure out what the ultimate message was, this one was simple: The suburbs suck and the nuclear family is a myth. Heartwarming, no? Maybe not, but it makes the film much more tolerable to think of it as a farce, rather than a legitimate story.

So, what exactly is so bad about Happiness? I’m not really going to go into detail about it because I don’t want this blog to turn into ‘for mature audiences only’, but here’s a quick rundown on a few characters:

Allen- a sad sack of a man who has a crush on his next door neighbor but who also gets off calling random girls and saying super inappropriate things to them

Kristina- has a crush on Allen and when they finally go out (a rare moment of happiness for me because I felt sorry for her) reveals that she killed the doorman who raped her and cut his body into little pieces.

Helen- whom Allen has a crush on. She wrote a book about being raped as a child but that never happened and now she wants nothing more than for that to happen.

and finally Bill- a therapist who is a pedophile. He enjoys drugging his young son’s friends and raping them.

And to top it off, none of these people ever really learn a lesson, except maybe Kristina who was arrested. The movie ends with the family sitting around the dinner table and continuing their misery exactly as before. The only thing that surprised me as the credits rolled was how the movie didn’t just end with everyone killing themselves.

Final review: 2/5

Up next: Vinyl