My Big Bad Opinion
I was at my local watering hole when the conversation among my fellow barflies turned to movies we hated. Not surprisingly, people disagreed on the choices and the same movies could be either praised or ridiculed with equal gusto.
(<-- painting by Jennifer Mosquera
Two popular movies goad me to fits. The first is American Beauty
, which for some bizarre reason, won five Oscars, including Best Picture. This movie is one of the reasons I've come to dislike Kevin Spacey, as I'd already panned him for The Usual Suspects and Seven
( two other movies I hated (see super-criminal remark below)
but not to the degree of AM
). Why did I dislike this movie? Let me count the ways:
When Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) learns he's about to get the ax, he behaves as though he's the only white-collar drone that's ever been booted out the door. But at least he blackmails his boss into a better than average severance package. (A weakly played plot twist.) Then Lester goes to work at a fast-food place to assuage his cynicism. All the while he's lusting after the under-age ingenue Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari--who did little for me.) So while my alarms are screaming Red Alert-Don't Be An Asshole
, Lester does the obvious and bangs her. Then there is the retired Marine Colonel Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper), a lugubrious creepy homophobe. And his wife (Allison Janney) is unbelievably unrealistic as a military spouse because no woman could make it through a career in the service being such a thoroughly spineless dishrag. Of course, their son (Wes Bentley) is as wise and clever as his parents are dull. The openly gay neighbors are picture perfect, which is meant to contrast with Col Fitts' latent homosexuality. The upright ex-Marine makes a pass at Lester, gets rejected, and goes on a murderous spree. The movie had many opportunities to turn convention on its head but everyone in this dreck plods along in dopey, predictable steps.Doggie on hydrant target No. 2. No Country For Old Men.
Another Best Picture Academy Award winner, which might explain why I also dislike this movie. Alas, it's from the Cohen brothers, whose The Big Lebowski
and Raising Arizona
remain among my favorite live-action Loonely Tunes
What didn't I like about NCFOM
? To begin with, Javier Bardem plays the uber criminal Anton Chigurh (unlike Spacey, I do admire Bardem as an actor). Chigurh is practically super-human in his ability to outwit everybody, which I didn't buy. When criminals don't get caught--it's not because they're so smart--it's because of the randomness of their crimes.
And worse, in this movie, bossy pants Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) dismisses all other law enforcement efforts in his chase after Chirgurh, and when he corners the assassin, Bell shits his drawers and lets the murderer escape. Sheriff Bell later gives an eloquent speech that serves as a parable about why he turned yellow (to save his Texas hide). The movie ends with Chigurh wiping the blood of his last victim from his boots and disappearing. At that, I went HUH?
People argue that not every crime is solved. True. But that is not the end of the story, especially with murder. If the Cohen brothers were okay with Bell wussing out, then they should've gone to Fargo
and enlisted Sheriff Marge Gunderson (Frances McDomand), who though a woman and
pregnant, didn't hesitate hounding those murderous perps to justice.
Okay folks, here's your chance to vent.
Labels: bar flies, easy credit, the Dark Side