Thursday, October 13, 2011
Bored To Death
I'm not too familiar with mumblecore; if I do a run-down of the "list of mumblecore films" on Wikipedia, I've only seen two (Greenberg and Cyrus). I've wanted to see Tiny Furniture for the past year or so, but the disc currently sits in my "saved" queue, and who knows when Netflix will ever get it.
Anyway...I really don't prefer this genre, but I don't hate it either and will mostly be willing to check it out.
I read an old(ish) post of John's saying that he was really excited to see Cold Weather because of the mumblecore/noir connection. I do think it was a nice blend, and the mystery aspect of the script really helps this movie out and will probably help the genre in the long run. There are some really nice tension scenes in this film. At times, you almost don't know what to expect. When Doug leaves the restaurant to grab the get-away car while Gail plans to steal to briefcase, I almost expected Doug to be too late bringing the car around. I kinda expected him to show up and find her in danger or hurt.
But I wonder now if mumblecore is also supposed to be very grounded and realistic. Was it ever possible for anyone in the movie to be hurt? Maybe not. Maybe Gail was always supposed to get out safely.
This movie reminded me of both the HBO series Bored to Death (hence my title) and of David Lynch. Doug, like Johnathan Ames (the character) fantasizes about being a detective; the difference, of course, is that Doug actually has more of a background in the field. And I thought Gail/Trieste Dunn looked familiar - she was actually in an episode of BTD. Doug wants to play out the fantasy of being a Sherlock Holmes-esque detective because it's a dream of his and also because he is kinda bored.
And with Lynch, this is a little bit up his alley because it involves dangerous happenings in a small town. While Portland's not exactly a small town, there are definite small-town vibes in this movie and then you mix-in potential kidnapping/missing persons, fake identities, erotica, etc.
But I definitely agree with Ben when he writes, "In the end COLD WEATHER is a movie about Doug and Gail's relationship. The mystery /thriller aspect is actually the subplot disguised as the main plot." That's why you have the film ending the way it does. The mystery provides the opportunity for brother and sister to bond again. I enjoyed the scenes with Doug and Gail - especially when they are staking out Jim Warden's place and she tells him about the last guy she dated. And the post-getaway when they're listening to the mix tapes. That relationship works well in the film, but I also feel as if there isn't enough there.
I know it wasn't, but this movie feels like it was based on a novel. And in the novel, there are so many more details and scenes that fully give the Doug/Gail relationship its due. I'm not suggesting that Katz should've beaten that drum to death, but I feel like the story/message overall lacks focus, or, more accurately, doesn't reach its full potential. And I know we're going to be different and rate some films higher than others, but John, I don't yet understand why you liked Cold Weather more than Drive. I feel like then years from now we'll still be talking about Drive, but very little will be said of Cold Weather. Who wants to go out their way to prove me wrong?
I did not have a problem with the pacing; the slow build-up worked quite well, actually. All of a sudden we're hit with a potential kidnapping - nice. And with the scenes where Doug forgets to grab the tobacco, I enjoyed that as well; the movie has quite a few comical moments thanks to Doug. Cris Lankenau does a nice job with the subtle humor.
But so overall I definitely enjoyed Cold Weather, but like with Greenberg and Cyrus, when it was over I mostly reacted with a "meh." But feel free to tell me why I'm wrong, guys.
John, early guess for your top episode of The Simpsons season 7: The Day the Violence Died. Not sure why, just going with it. Can't wait to see the list.
You're right on the performances in Jane Eyre - they don't vastly improve the film or anything. Again, I'm probably still too nice to a lot of movies (not that Jane Eyre was bad, in my mind). I hope to write more on Meek's Cutoff, so maybe I will in the next week or so. Glad to hear your thoughts on both Rope and Wings of Desire - definitely agree.
I watched Born Yesterday today - found it to be very charming and humorous...and like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, patriotic. "Let the eagle soar..."