Friday, July 8, 2011

Recommendations: Matt's and Mine

I'm waiting for Netflix to function again in order to start your recommendations. In the meantime, I'll give you some from my own house. I'm sorry to say that I don't share Matt's enthusiasm with this first one, like, at all, but he recommends it all the same:
What. A. Disaster.


Miami Vice, 2006, directed by Michael Mann.
written by Michael Mann
starring: Colin Farrel, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong.

"Based on the 1980's TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined." (IMDB).

Sometimes people just have irrational aversions to things; my mother, for instance, had a quite unnatural hate for Phil Collins that I never figured out. I have unnatural hate for this film, and it's hard to hate something, a lot, that your spouse really enjoys, but I really can't tolerate this film at all. I tried my damndest last night but as always, I cut out about halfway through.

This is why:

1. I found it confusing. I'm no simpleton when it comes to narratives, I'm a fucking writer for Christ's sake, but the first hour of this film was completely sideways with itself. Are they feds, or are they VICE? Is Trudy an agent or is she just the chick that Rico is banging? Rico and Sonny (Foxx and Farrel) are deputized and instantly put undercover as drug traffickers just because of some CI's random involvement with meth-dealing skinheads? And what the hell is with all those photographs of the CI with them? Is that common practice? As in, here's our *confidential informant,* as shown here in these photographs *with federal agents* jeez, we hope none of the bad guys have moles in our agency who might, you know, SEE THIS? Stupes. I don't know, maybe 24 has ruined me and all suspension of disbelief, but come on. Tighten that shit up!

2. I found the casting of secondary characters to be downright awful. I can't really express this without seeming a little . . . insensitive, and so be it, but that woman (Isabella) should have been of Latina or African descent. Having the character be Asian was just extremely jarring and was pretty much the world's biggest speed bump, although Lucy Liu probably would have been loads better. I just didn't really believe her, at all. Her facial expressions looked like she was in pain for many of the scenes, her hair was a rat's nest, her lips were noticeably dry, and her fingernails looked like mine used to when my violin professor made me chop them down to the fricking quick. I'm not trying to be superficial because she was beautiful, but if you're trying to convince me that this chick has any sort of power or is sexually magnetic, you missed the boat completely. Likewise, Sonny just taking off in the boat with her after seeing her twice? Dumb. "I know what I'm doing," he says to Rico. No, you don't, and no, the screenwriter didn't either because not banging THE BOSS'S WIFE is probably the first thing they teach in fake drug trafficking school. Even Tony Montana waited until Frank was dead to officially move in on Elvira.

And speaking of the boss; I kind of get that they were trying for a Castro-ish sort of look on that guy, but honestly he looked more Afghani than anything. Boo.

3. I felt like Jamie Foxx was marginalized (for what I saw, anyway). Here I thought initially that he and Farrel were going to be sharing the screen, and for a while they did, but when it became more about Sonny and Isabella things really started to tank. Foxx is an Oscar winner, yo, utilize that shit! Calypso
(Naomie Harris) was good, too, but given kind of a too-small role, considering.

There are two parts I liked: the comedy in Rico's faux-premature ejaculation scene with Trudy, and the three-chord synth and orchestral instrumental (reminiscent of the original television show) during the first drug run in the planes out of Columbia. Other than that . . . goo.

I've been there, Walter.
So here's mine:

The Money Pit, 1986, directed by Richard Benjamin.
written by: David Giler
starring: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long

"A young couple struggles to repair a hopelessly dilapidated house." (IMDB).

If you were alive in the eighties, chances are you saw this already, but if you haven't, you really should check this out. You probably are getting by now that I'm a stupid sucker for 80s comedy, (Porky's, Bachelor Party, St. Elmo's Fire, etc.) but Tom Hanks is a very gifted comedic performer--- this is one of his all-time best as far as I'm concerned. It's not raunchy and there isn't much cursing, but (yes, this is uncharacteristic of me) it's good, clean fun. You can watch it with your Grandmother and you'll both probably laugh. Also, if you've ever had to do major home improvements, this film (though a bit dated) will ring with many, many horrible truisms ("Two weeks? You can rebuild all this in two weeks?" or "Ahhh! Home Crap Home!")

Walter Fielding (Hanks) gets all the best lines and reactions:

"I'd help you with that, but someone stepped on all my fingers."
"Well, thanks to that fall, we're now the same height."
"Are you guys testing missiles here, or what?" "Yes, as a matter of fact, we are."
"And now I have to go down to his office tomorrow morning and kiss his ass . . . "
"We have weak trees."
"YOU WHORE!"

And he doesn't lack in the physical scenes, either. The hammering thumb on steps scene (reaction). The getting stuck in the floor scene (wave). The interaction with the carpenter (Joe Mantagna). The adventurous ride down the scaffold while coated in plaster, and my personal favorite, the entire Benny scene . . . enjoy!

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