I think this is so interesting!
Here is the e-mail I sent to my fellow blog lovelies on Wednesday:
Hey, I just remembered that I promised Beth a "heads up" on the weekend 3-way. I think it's going to be about movies. I was going to ask you both about the last 3 movies you've seen. But instead I am going to go with a request to tell about any movie you've seen in recent history that you have an opinion about. Doesn't have to be in a theater, doesn't have to be just one, just a very open structure about movies. I'll try to write the intro tomorrow but I can't promise!
Beth is leaving the country tomorrow, so I intended to write my intro early so she could do her thang before leaving. And I didn’t, but she did:
I’ve only watched 2 movies this year. The last movie I watched was actually a recommendation from Jacquie, “Waitress,” starring Keri Russell. And although I thought she was as cute as a button, I was disappointed in the movie. I usually enjoy silly, romantic comedies, especially those that are more comedy than romance, but this one just did not do it for me.
I have to admit that I did LOVE the way Russell said “pie” in her southern accent, and the fact that Russell, in the movie, is a “pie genius.” But I just couldn’t buy most of the other characters, especially her waitress coworkers and the new OB/GYN who moves to town and proceeds to have an affair with the pregnant Russell. Now, yes, if there is a man that’s going to go gaga over a pregnant pie lady, it probably would be an OB/GYN, but still….
The movie I saw prior to “Waitress” was “Death at a Funeral.” This I very much enjoyed. It’s British and silly and totally unbelievable, which in this instance, I liked very much.
But what is so interestingly funny about this is that, of course, one of the movies I wanted to write about is one that I recently watched On Demand and completely loved, Waitress. I was not aware that Beth had taken my recommendation and watched the movie; much less that she hated it! I had a completely different take on the movie. I thought it was quiet and understated and brilliant. I loved the characters. I loved the body language and the cooking and the relationships between the women in the diner, and I loved how the waitress and the doctor found what they needed in each other, and it seemed like a love story but it wasn’t. At least not in the conventional sense. I think she was just scared shitless to have a baby and become trapped in a life she despised. Then she fell in love with her baby girl and said: “we are going to have so much fun”. The only part I didn’t like was the sappy ending, I would have preferred to fade out as she left the hospital. But I’ll tolerate the happy Hollywood ending anytime, I'm a closet sap. An aside, the story of Adrienne Shelly’s tragic fate as this movie was in production just makes me want to cry. Even in Ellie’s own Hollywoodish version, it’s riveting.
Another movie I have recently seen on cable and loved was Lars and the Real Girl. I dig upon the quiet, character driven oddities, don't I? I loved Lars because it was so unexpected, and so totally unlike what would probably happen if a guy like Lars did his thing here in my neighborhood. It's about how I want my neighbors to be. It's hopeful. Go see it. You too, Beth. If you hate this one as well, I'll never recommend you another. Well, I probably will, but you can just ignore me.
How interesting indeed! I’ve not seen Waitress, but it’s been on my list forever. I loved Adrienne Shelly in all her old (well, 80s and 90s) Hal Hartley movies. And I think her story is just godawful.
I saw Lars and the Real Girl, too, with my girl Sweet Jennie last year. In a real movie theater. I loved it. We both did. I just wanted it to go on and on forever. Loved the cast. Love Patricia Clarkson and anything she is in.
BUT, the movie I want to talk about, of course, is Brokeback Mountain, which I think is the perfect movie. I know lately it’s all-Heath-Ledger, all-the-time, because of the Batman movie, but I just ignore all that. I think he was just absolutely brilliant in Brokeback, as a boy so paralyzed by fear and guilt he sacrifices any chance of happiness or love.
I’m a firm believer that the circumstances under which you see a movie are crucial to how you react to a movie, and I guess the stars just aligned for me that night. Bill and I were babysitting Porgie (may she Rest in Peace) while Jacquie and her man and her kids were in the Pacific Northwest. Jacquie had ti-vo’d Brokeback for me, and I watched it over and over. Then I got the short story by Annie Proulx out of the library. Then I got the screenplay by Larry McMurtry out of the library (say what you will about McMurtry, and say what you will about awards, but Larry McMurtry has a Pulitzer and an Oscar and I think that is just really very stinking cool). Then I read anything I could get my hands on about it. The screenplay uses Annie Proulx’s exact words for the cowboys’ dialog, and for stage directions. I think it’s just a perfect piece of movie-making, and I still think about it all the time.
Like Adrienne Shelly, Heath Ledger died way too young, and just as stupidly. Or more stupidly, actually. And this summer he’s the Big Thing as such a scary-looking Joker that I can't really look at him. The movie reviewers all love him, and there's posthumous Oscar talk. Which is all just grand -- it will give his family something more to quibble over.
But Heath Ledger will always be Ennis Del Mar to me. My poor gay cowpoke boyfriend.