Clue

Clue…the original movie based on a board game.

We’re back on track with family movie night and after scrolling through Netflix for half an hour, we switched to Amazon Prime, looking for Beastmaster, after suspecting that Conan the Destroyer might be a bit too violent. But before we found Beastmaster, we found Clue.

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I remember my mom taking my sister and I to see Clue in the theater, so I was a little older than my son is now. I had also played Clue before seeing the film, while I’m pretty sure he has never laid eyes on the game…so the significance is totally lost on him. He kept saying, “This is a weird movie.” But he WAS laughing…although the laughing didn’t really start until about 30 minutes in. I will totally BLOW HIS MIND when I find Clue (the board game) and make him play. He will totally think that the game is based on the movie and I will have to explain that the game has been around since my mom was a kid and that the game came before the movie. I am looking forward to the confused look on his face and I am 100% sure he will argue with me…actually, as I typed that last sentence out, my husband is in the kitchen, explaining to my son how to play Clue. Now, it’s close to midnight and my son is trying to talk my husband into going to Target to buy the board game. Then he asked if we could go tomorrow (Thanksgiving) and my husband tried to say that they’ll be closed and my son argued (correctly) that they’ll be open. I’m staying in the living room and keeping my mouth shut. NO FUCKING WAY I am dealing with that Black Friday bullshit, not even for a board game…

Although the entire cast is hilarious, Tim Curry makes the movie. This isn’t his #1 role (Rocky Horror)…or even #2 (Pennywise), but I’d say it’s his #3 role. (#4 is Rooster and #5 is Legend. Yes, I am a total movie dork that has ranked Tim Curry’s performances.)

For the life of me, I can’t remember which ending I saw at the theater. For some reason, I seem to remember seeing all of the endings, but it’s likely that my memory is blurred by the hundreds of times I have seen the movie since…my son was really amused by the multiple endings. when it was over. we asked what he thought and all he said was, “It was pretty cool.” I guess that’s a glowing recommendation from a 7 year old.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

I’m well aware that it’s not Jim Carrey’s life’s ambition to put in a performance that makes knobbygirl happy, but really – shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t he WANT to make me happy?

Jim Carrey strikes out again as Count Olaf, the diabolical nemesis and cause of the unfortunate events that continually befall the Baudelaire orphans. He prances around, recycling the same old sneers and stances from his usual stable of characters – all he knows are Fire Marshal Bill, The Mask and Ace Ventura, over and over and over again. Isn’t he at the point in his career where he should take a role as a retard in order to garner an Oscar nomination?

The wealthy Baudelaire children become orphans when their parents perish in a freak mansion fire. They are shuttled around from guardian to guardian, as the parents hadn’t the foresight to leave proper documentation. These glamorous and gothic orphans become the charges of Count Olaf, a possible pedophile that deeply desires their fortune. What’s the deal with orphans these days? It’s like orphans are the new princesses. All this orphan worship has got to stop. How long until youngsters start murdering their parents to become more like the magical orphans they see in so many books and films? Worse yet, what if kids start murdering their parents in order to become eligible for celebrity adoptions? EEK!

Emily Browning is one of the most stunningly beautiful children I have ever seen. She has a soft Molly Ringwald-like quality. I wonder how long it will be until she is posing half naked in Maxim?

Who is Lemony Snicket? Why is he narrating the story? What connection does he have with the Baudelaires? Is he a pedophile, too? And what’s the deal with Jude Law? Who are these people that think he’s attractive and talented? How does he keep getting film work? Is it his exasperatingly nasty personal life?

Obviously, this film raised more questions than it answered. Watch at your own risk?

  

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.

Donnie Darko

Very, very strange. Very, very good.

Russ has been on my case several months to see this movie. He watched it one night after work while I was asleep and he really liked it. So, I borrowed it from Sean and it sat on my shelf a few months…so we finally gt around to watching it last night. Luckily, it managed to make me forget all about Rollerball, don’t ask me why my husband was watching that, I DON’T KNOW.

Richard Kelly might be the new David Lynch. The circular pattern and tangent universe themes are similar to the themes of several of Lynch’s films, although Kelly did something Lynch would never do. Lynch would never make his characters aware that they were manipulating the pattern. For example, Donnie was fully aware of the ‘deus ex machina,’ whereas Lost Highway’s Fred Madison certainly was not. Another similarity to the Lynchian universe was the seedy underside revealed of some of the Middlesex townsfolk. No one was quite what they seemed.

Speaking of seedy undersides, Patrick Swayze did a pretty good job, all things considered. Didn’t he just play a serial killer in a film too? I guess he’s trying to change his image. Good luck, Johnny Castle.

Jake Gyllenhaal was okay, I guess. He’s being groomed by Hollywood to be the next Tobey Macguire…but does Hollywood really need another one? He could be so much more than just another Spider-Man.

So the film is set in 1988. Not really sure why. My guess is that Kelly wanted a legitimate reason to have an 80s soundtrack – there’s really no other reason for the film to be set then…of course it is a bit more comfortable to watch Donnie stumbling through Frank’s messages than having him just looking things up on the internet. Yeah, having the internet may have complicated things just a bit. (Speaking of internet – go to donniedarko.com – it picks up right where the film left off and explains quite a bit.) Back to the soundtrack – Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen – ha. Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears – ha ha.

Go buy this DVD now. And before you ask – NO, IT WAS NOT A DREAM. Jesus, The Wizard of Oz has ruined filmmaking forever.

   

Mulholland Dr.

Sometimes I start to think that David Lynch has quit making films and instead has decided to start fucking with our heads, just for his own amusement, but then all the pieces fall into place and I wonder how I ever could have doubted him.

I just got home from watching a free sneak preview at The Anjelika. I would have paid to see it – vintage Lynch.

Well, to start with, its a little too much like Lost Highway to be a coincidence. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. As Professor Sean puts it, “David Lynch likes to show the dark side of the American Dream.” Every dream has a dark side…reality. Perhaps I have said too much already, I promised myself no spoilers!

‘Rita’ (Laura Elena Harring, former Miss USA) survives a car crash, only to be left with amnesia. She is discovered hiding in an apartment by Betty (Naomi ‘Jet Girl’ Watts), a perky aspiring actress. They then try to unravel her identity…but it’s not Rita’s identity they should be worrying about.

The Little Man from Another Place plays a mysterious part in the film, and every time that he appeared, the audience in the theater applauded and screamed. Strangely enough, he was playing a full grown man. The audience also laughed pretty hard as soon as Billy Ray Cyrus appeared. Billy Ray is the latest musician to be cast by Lynch. He’s no Chris Isaak, but he’s entertaining. And yes, he still has his mullet.

Mulholland Drive was originally intended to be a TV pilot, but of course, ABC rejected it as “too dark.” I wouldn’t have minded tuning in every week. Betty and Rita had very good chemistry and there were many subplots that could have been explored a little more. I am kind of glad it didn’t end up on the small screen though – TV is definitely not Lesbian-friendly.

There didn’t seem to be one expletive contained in the whole film! I’ll have to watch it again to make sure, but I am fairly sure that the original TV intention is why.

After reading some online reviews, it’s obvious to me that most people are stupid. Many people obviously did not undertand the film and chalked it up to being a puzzle with too many pieces or a puzzle box or whatever. Don’t listen to them. Just because there is not a linear structure, doesn’t mean that every piece doesn’t fit. If you think of Lost Highway as a Mobious Strip, turning unto itself for eternity, Mulholland Drive is merely a pages torn out of a diary – you just need to find out whose diary it is.

I was going to write up an in-depth analysis, but that would contain spoilers and I don’t trust any of my readers to stop at a SPOILER ALERT label. Ruining this one would be on par with giving away the ending of The Sixth Sense. We’ll be discussing this film in my forum – come talk about it with us there.