I Participated in This Thing
The Second CAST Awards were announced like four months ago and I’m only posting about it now because I had to catch up on my 2011 movies. Or more appropriately, I said ‘Eff it, I’m going to list my top ten even if everyone’s clamouring about The Raid and no one cares about 2011 anymore.’
I’m also using this news because I always take advantage of any opportunity to make fun of Nicolas Winding Refn‘s overrated movie Drive. Because the other CAST voters placed it as their top film. Or maybe, give it a second chance, since the hype of the movie is the reason I started listening to Kavinsky and College (both bands’ instrumental songs are better than the ones with lyrics), which got me thinking about how I don’t tolerate the soundtrack’s use in the movie while Sofia Coppola’s use of anachronistic music is more palatable in her movie Marie Antoinette from five years ago. In a way both movies have us as an audience are layered on top of themselves as audience members, skewing the narrative and interpreting it as their own.
Me and my friend Sasha James of That Sasha James internet fame reenact or interpretation of Drive‘s dialogue of us just saying ‘Hey’ to each other. Since I have to play The Driver – boo ho me – I say my ‘lines’ with the Peter Fonzarelli accent that Gosling mysteriously has now (Hossein Amini‘s script is very descriptive by the way, making me wonder why that eloquence wasn’t used for the dialogue). And because I’m crazy I do these acting exercises to College’s music when it finally clicked, the sensitivity that’s difficult to catch when your mind is in the wrong place. But how does an actor express and externalize longing and loneliness through ‘Hey?’ I still think that the movie doesn’t do this successfully and I’ll probably never watch the movie again. I will also promise never to make fun of Drive again, but the terrible movies this year makes it difficult for me to find a movie to mock. I don’t like easy targets.
I also wanted to make my top ten post into some manifesto on what I like about movies, since the list may be that diverse. But then I got lazy. So here goes.
Blue Valentine – Because Grizzly Bear is that perfect dash to make Michelle Williams more beautiful.
Pariah – Because I like co-opting other people’s cultures.
Shame – Because it combines how good sex is and how frustrating it is to look for it.
Rampart – Because crazy cameraman are the best.
Tree of Life – Because understanding a movie emotionally should be enough.
Win Win – Because casts should also clown cars.
Jane Eyre – Because sometimes, the first few images are enough.
Essential Killing – Because dream sequences should always be in pink.
The Mill and the Cross – Because I’m a closet Catholic.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Because violence should always be presented with that sheen.
Now I’m going to wait for some more money, buy Carnage and Chronicle on DVD, watch Cabin in the Woods and whatever else that has a green Metacritic rating, do some laundry, go to the doctor and sleep. This emotionally shitty year is over, thank God!
(First week at the Cumberland.)
(Olivia Peterson before flinching at the sound of gunfire ph: secret)
I’ve been reading some of the reviews of this movie in papers and in iMDb, and I saw in the latter that some anonymous person conclude that “The Messenger” is not a war movie (Faux pas alert, especially for a n00b like me: I shouldn’t be reading other people’s reviews because it’s gonna bleed into mine. Also, I shouldn’t be reading fucking iMDb. Not dissing the creators). It IS a war movie. As the actual soldiers die, the next of kin continues the battle for them. They carry the soldier’s pain and translate them emotionally. They often exhibit rage. Some accept the casualties of war, hide their wounds, and move on.
Woody Harrelson’s character Capt. Tony Stone (subtle) is an example of the latter, instructing his protege Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) (will as in future? Why am I writing this review like I’m still in college?) to shoot the message and the sometimes, the next of kin might shoot you. He’s baffled why the next of kin can’t get the concept that soldiers die in war and even introduces the idea to televise military funerals so that people will get used to it. And Stone unknowingly encounters a mirror image in Samantha Morton’s character Olivia (don’t know what her name means, ok), who reacts to her husband’s death by telling the messengers how hard it is for them and shaking their hands. She’s a dutiful, stoic soldier’s wife with unwritten regulations thrusted upon her, perfect and therefore suspicious.
Another battle begins to exist between Stone and Montgomery, the latter finding his own way to deliver a script nobody wants to say. At one point Montgomery tells the next of kin about their son’s death in the most awkward places to do so and turns it into a powerful moment, only for Stone to abscond him.
We see characters with different ways of coping with grief and war. Like your independent drama, it pulls on the strings without insisting on orchestrated high notes. Also in the film are three rewarding cameos.