Chicago

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Lara (@knobbygirl) on

My son is currently ending a run in his high school’s production of Chicago, hence our household being soaked in “All That Jazz” for the last several months. (On a side note, these kids did an AMAZING job in this production – I mean, live music in a high school musical? Unheard of!) I’d never seen the play before, or even the movie version. Better late than never, right?

I can see how Chicago managed to nab Best Picture – it really is a spectacle of a film. The idea to stage most of the musical numbers in Roxie’s head was genius and well executed, although it caused the pacing to be stilted in parts.

Catherine Zeta-Jones also deserved 100% of her Oscar win – she was electrifying as Velma Kelley, stealing the show from Renee Zellweger. You know, I traditionally don’t care much for Renee Zellweger one way or another, but I hated her in Chicago. I wanted to punch her in the fucking face…no, I wanted to punch Roxie Hart in the fucking face. I guess that means that Zellweger did a good job, because she made me absolutely hate her character.

Poor Richard Gere, the only main actor who didn’t get nominated. Hell, John C. Reilly and Queen Latifah got nominated.

Cell Block Tango is the best musical number, followed closely by I Can’t Do it By Myself. Basically, every scene with Zeta-Jones was magic. I was missing My Baby and Me, one of my favorites from the stage version.

I gagged a little bit when the credits started and I saw “Harvey Weinstein” – so I guess that’s going to be a thing that happens now when I watch old Miramax films.

I was on the fence about the rating – is it two BOBs or three? Ultimately, I decided on three, because my husband – who hates musicals – sat through the whole thing. I know, I was shocked, too!

Texas Killing Fields

Based on a True Story…I LOVE “Based on a True Story.” I love bullshit and nothing is more bullshit than “Based on a True Story.” (Technically, the film opened with “this story is inspired by true events” – but that’s pretty much the same thing.)

Being a local, I’m more than a little familiar with the REAL Texas Killing Fields off I-45. For decades, someone – or more likely, several someones have been killing young girls and dumping the bodies in the marshes between Houston and Galveston. The film fictionalizes two Texas City detectives who become obsessed with the murders and follows their hunt for “the killer.” The film is built like an episode of CSI – every male in town is creepy enough to be a suspect, with most being red herrings. Worst of all, there’s a clear resolution to the “killings,” whereas the families of the real victims haven’t gotten a resolution at all. Pure Hollywood. Fuck Hollywood.

Look on Down from the Bridge by Mazzy Star Plays over a montage near the beginning. I LOVE Mazzy Star – it’s sitting in a bubble bath and crying music. In fact, the whole soundtrack and score is lachrymose. I like lachrymose in small doses.

Chloe Grace Moretz is Ann, the “star” victim. If she can keep a good head on her shoulders, she may end up being the next Scarlett Johansson. They even look quite similar. Laura Palmer Plays Chloe Grace Moretz’s skanky mom. She’s aged well, much better than Sherilyn Fenn or Lara Flynn Boyle.

This film was as confusing as fuck, but not in a Lynchian way. It was confusing because the film focused on interactions that later proved to be insignificant. Even with several marquee stars – Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain – this movie isn’t worth paying for, but not bad enough to deride too much. It would have been better suited as an episode of CSI or NCIS, where everything is supposed to be wrapped up neatly in one or two episodes. It’s a disservice to the real victims to show such a clear resolution to 40+ years of unsolved crimes in the real Texas Killing Fields.

 

Gacy

I know you are, but what am I?

It was an interesting experience to see Francis (Pee Wee’s Big Adventure) burying teenage boys in his crawlspace instead of stealing bikes. Mark Holton has evolved from playing Pee Wee Herman’s nemesis to playing a real life serial killer – John Wayne Gacy. Although I began watching cynically expecting the worst, I’ve got to admit that my expectations were too low. Holton put in an admirable performance as the man who buried 29 men and boys underneath his Chicago home.

Similar to Monster, Gacy is a fictionalized version of Gacy’s killing spree. Fictionalized means that the killer’s name can be used, but the names of his victims are changed for privacy and some of the details are exaggerated and twisted around to make a better movie. Even so, the articles I’ve read on Gacy make him out to be a sicker fuck than portrayed in the movie.

The film portrays the middle and end of Gacy’s killing career, beginning with a brief flashback of young Gacy and his abusive father. Apparently, Gacy’s father beat the shit out of him because he didn’t enjoy fishing? In any case, not much time is spent trying to explain the rationale behind Gacy’s urge to kill. Rather, the film revolves around the cluelessness of those surrounding Gacy. I was incredulous at how unsuspecting his friends and neighbors were to his extracurricular activities, not to mention his wife and mother. His wife eventually leaves him after discovering gay magazines and handcuffs in the garage – how retarded was she?

I’m interested in checking out Dahmer, co-written by one of the screenwriters of Gacy and released a year earlier. I’m much more interested in Dahmer than Gacy. Dahmer didn’t have near the output of Gacy, but what he was lacking in quantity, he made up for in style.

 

The Black Dahlia

Wretched.

I was tempted to let that one word serve as the entire review – but I could hardly do that to my adoring public, now could I? I’ve got to fill you in with every boring moment and clichéd nuance that Brian De Palma has served to us on a film noir platter.

The first problem was the cast. Blandy McBlanderson, AKA Josh Hartnett, should not be in any movies, ever. His complete lack of film presence creates a vacuum that sucks the life out of a film. I don’t have as harsh an indictment of Scarlett Johansson, but she should have gotten some pointers from Hilary Swank. Now there’s a dame that can act. She was putting on her best Bacall and really trying to make the best of bad situation. Likewise for Mia Kirshner, an excellent casting choice for the Black Dahlia. I was pleasantly surprised when Rose McGowan popped in for a short cameo.

Although it clocked in at just over two hours, it felt far longer. By the time we got out of the theater, I was convinced that it was longer than Return of the King. The whole thing dragged from beginning to end. The only entertaining scenes were the ones with Madeline’s crazy ass mother. She’s really the only interesting character in the whole film.

Was it really necessary to toss that turkey on the floor so that Josh and Scarlett could hump on the kitchen table? That seems like a waste of perfectly good poultry to me.

Speaking of turkeys, the biggest problem is the plot. I guess it’s not so much De Palma’s fault as it is James Ellroy’s fault – he wrote the damn book in the first place. Why give the two antagonists such similar names – Blanchard and Bleichert? It took me half an hour to figure out which one was which – and by then, I really didn’t care. The plot wasn’t so much full of twists and turns, as it was full of contrived scene after contrived scene. The “lesbian bar” was just ridiculous – was k.d. lang really necessary? By the end of the movie, I did not care who killed the Black Dahlia, I was just hoping he would strike again. I’m curious as to whether the book is actually as wretched as the movie – I might actually pick it up if I see it for cheap.

Regardless of the aforementioned flaws, I probably would have hated the film no matter what. I’ve had an interest in the Black Dahlia case for decades. I first read about the case in my dad’s set of Crime and Punishment encyclopedias. Then there was that one episode of Hunter that cemented my interest. By the time the internet came around, I was able to read far more about the case than was probably healthy. After coming across the crime scene photos online, I definitely lost a bit of interest (Rotten.com has a tendency to do that to a person). My interest was renewed in the last couple of years with a new spate of theories – two different people coming out of the woodwork with books stating that their fathers were the murderer and the subsequent TV specials…and now this film. Well. Wretched as it was, my expectations were likely too high in the first place. I’ll just wait for new theories to roll in and avoid the related fiction like the plague.

Inside the Osmonds

One minute, I’m watching 80s Metal Videos on VH-1 Classic and all of a sudden, I find myself an hour into a made for TV biopic on the Osmonds.

I figured that since I was already halfway through, I might as well keep on watching to see which one of them turns to drugs or starts hiring hookers. I was disappointed to find that none of them did. Go ahead laugh – you obviously know more about the Osmonds than I do.

This has got to be the most boring ‘made for TV’ celebrity biography ever made. Probably because it was produced by an Osmond. No one’s gonna dish nasty dirt about their own family…unless they’re a Jackson, of course. At least the movie Osmonds were more attractive than the real Osmonds. They were a pretty fugly bunch. Maybe it was because the Osmond kids were played almost entirely Canadians?

Coincidentally, I found this yesterday. I wasn’t really familiar with The Osmond Brothers’ music before and now I know why. I’ll be staying away from Jimmy as well.

I wish they would have touched on the disturbing incestual overtones of the Donny and Marie Show. I mean really, what the fuck? As far as Variety Shows go, they DID have more chemistry than Sonny and Cher or Tony Orlando and the Hooker Twins – but that doesn’t mean it’s right to exploit it. Didn’t anyone else think it was weird that a brother and sister act continuously sang love songs to each other?

I hate you, VH-1…oh, I can’t stay mad, VH-1, there’s a new episode of Flavor of Love on tomorrow night.