The Silence of the Lambs

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I am now entering the third phase of my children’s film education. Phase 1 was the off-the-wall kid stuff, like the 60s Batman and Howard the Duck. Phase 2 was the slightly more PG-13 and adultish stuff – everything from Army of Darkness to Zoolander. Phase 3 is the hard R stuff, like Friday the 13th and Silence of the Lambs. There IS a super-secret fourth phase…but I am not quite sure how old I’ll have to be to sit through Pink Flamingos with my son. Probably at least 75 or so.

My son has been wanting to watch Silence of the Lambs FORever. Not because of all the Oscars, or because he is into sewing…but I’m guessing it’s solely because of how often I say, “It puts the lotion on it’s skin, or else it gets the hose again!” Or some variation thereof – it never gets old! Oh, AND he had to listen to his grandmother and I endlessly dissect the wonderful TV version, Hannibal, a few years ago.

The plot was harder for my son to follow at 13. I vaguely remember difficulty and I must have been 16 or so when I watched it. I’m envious of his innocence – honey, that wasn’t saliva Miggs threw at Agent Starling. Even though there were several points I had to pause the film and explain, he really seemed to enjoy it. At least I didn’t have to explain the tucking part.

Believe it or not, the film holds up. The tension is palpable in the last 20 minutes – even though I’ve seen it a gazillion times, I still get jumpy around, “Oh yeah, was she a great big fat person?” So few films these days are able to build this kind of tension, sheerly through the narrative and creative editing. Buffalo Bill stands up as a villain, even the horrors of the last 25+ years haven’t made him any less freaky. Hannibal, on the other hand, is virtually a pop culture hero. He’s become this superhero-like entity…eat the rude. I’m actually considering that for a tattoo…along with a Death’s-head Hawkmoth tramp stamp, if only to make my children cringe at the waterpark!

I know I’m a goober, but I always forget about Chris Isaak in the SWAT Team and squeal at the TV, “Oh look! Chris Isaak!” My son was like, who dat? I explain that he sang our wedding song, again, a blank look from my son – why is he is the movie, if he is a singer? I don’t know dammit!

I’ve got Red Dragon on DVR, I somehow managed to miss seeing that one – so I think I’ll hold off on Hannibal and watch this one next. Now, if I can only get my child to read the books…

Black Swan

Every once in a while, I’ll see a film that I think my mom would’ve liked. Our taste in films didn’t always intersect – in fact, they hardly ever intersected. (She did make me watch The Last Picture Show, which I still love. I guess I pretty much forced Pink Flamingos on her.) While I’ve always preferred horror, she preferred drama…but we both agreed on freaky. Black Swan is an interesting combination of the three.

With all the press and awards, I already knew a lot about Black Swan. Hot lesbian scenes, dance doubles, altogether freakiness…If I had been able to see Black Swan cold, it might have knocked my fucking socks off. Then again, I might have fucking fell asleep. There’s no denying it – the beginning of the film was boring as hell. I know it was a slow build – I had the same complaint about Death Proof, another movie that I liked after the fact, even though sitting through the beginning was like Chinese water torture.

My husband actually said that he would never, ever sit through this film again…even for the lesbian scene. Personally, I thought the lesbian scene was pretty hot, but he said, “Who wants to see two flat racks bouncing together?” I sure am glad that I don’t have one of those flat racks….

I’ve always liked Natalie Portman. She has been amazing in everything I’ve seen her in, from The Professional to SNL to Black Swan. (We shall not speak of those damn prequels.) She deserved every award that she got. I do wonder where her career will take her…she can’t play an ingénue forever?

All things considered, I liked Black Swan. I had forgotten what it was like to watch a grown-up movie that wasn’t on SyFy.

  

M

After sitting on my DVR for 2 years, I finally got around to watching M this past weekend.

I’d forgotten how hard it is to watch a movie with subtitles, especially with a 19 month old running around the living room. Luckily, German words are twice as long as English ones and I had plenty of time to keep an eye on him while waiting for the next subtitle.

Peter Lorre is Hans Beckert, the whistling killer of little girls. The local authorities haven’t caught him yet, but their search is exerting undue pressure on the local crime scene. Because of this, the local crime bosses decide to find the killer themselves and bring him to justice. The film gets off to a slow start, but it gets pretty tense near the end, especially during Lorre’s soliloquy in front of the angry mob. It’s not an easy film to watch by any means, but the themes still resonate with today’s society.

Although the film doesn’t come right out and say it, it is assumed that Lorre’s character is a pedophile. The Police Graphologist notes that his handwriting depicts “sexual insanity” but that’s the only mention in the whole film. Several sources indicate that the killer was based on Peter Kürten, The Vampire of Düsseldorf, who killed men and women, adults and children, for a sexual motive.

For the last several years, theaters have been full of remakes – a symptom of the total lack of creativity among the major movie studios. M is a prime example of a movie ripe to be remade. (Although M was already remade in 1951, another one can’t hurt?) The movie-going public would LOVE a film about criminals uniting to hunt down a child murdering pedophile. The mainstream media is already taking a vigilante approach to catching internet predators, what with all the perverts caught on Dateline. Why not update the film to take place online, with the police and civilians racing to catch this guy before he lures another kid into his trap? I vote for Andy Dick in the Peter Lorre role, because he totally looks like the type to sit in front of the computer all day with his hand down his pants.