I rarely watch movies, so the fact that I’ve sat down this week and watched two movies that were good enough to hold my attention and yet not good enough to be actually good movies says something. I’m not sure what.
The most recent one was Freedomland, which could have been titled A Bunch of Folks from HBO and Samuel L. Jackson. And you have to ask yourself, how could a movie with a bunch of folks from HBO and Samuel L. Jackson go so off-track from good into Eh?
For starters, I blame Julianne Moore, who can’t seem to decide if her character is secretly on drugs, mentally fourteen, or an evil genius with a tiny vocabulary. In the movie, she’s supposed to work for a daycare in the projects and supposedly has the respect of everyone in the projects because she’s there so much. From the little we see of her, she’s so strange and fucked up that you just can’t believe that anyone would hire her. Now, I know we’re seeing her at a moment of grave crisis, but there’s no hint that there’s a woman there that people would trust with their kids.
Being working class is not the same thing as being so stupid and weird you can barely function.
Second, she looks so bad that it’s distracting. I don’t know if she’s just too thin or if the director thought it was a good idea for her to look like her skull was going to come busting through her skin at any moment, but she didn’t look like a human being. Now, I know she was supposed to not look like a glamorous movie star, but Edie Falco didn’t look like a glamorous movie star; she looked like a normal human being.
And, Moore’s character is supposed to have had an affair with this dude who has the most beautiful girlfriend in the whole movie. But there’s nothing in her portrayal of her character that gives you any hint as to why he’d be willing to risk so much to have an affair with her and then risk so much again to help her later. She’s funky looking and she’s funky acting and Moore gives us no hint, I don’t think, of what the character is like normally that seems any different than that.
But for finishers, I blame the writing. Seriously, important characters just wander out of the movie like they forgot to get something at the grocery store and must be off now. Ron Eldred’s character is Julianne Moore’s character’s brother and a cop. When he discovers that he’s been wrong, that his actions were totally unwarranted, he just storms off and we never see him again.
On the other hand, though, it’s a really interesting movie and there’s some fine acting in it. Samuel L. Jackson is really, really good and the movie does a great job of showing how folks with different agendas can facilitate injustice. It’s just not somehow able to realize all the promise of being a good movie.
The other movie we saw was Idlewild, which we finally just gave up on being a movie that would exactly make sense or have a coherent plot or a focus of any sort. Really, watching the whole movie is akin to being told repeatedly to “Look over there!” “Look over there!” which is fine, for what its worth, because the movie gives you so much to look at.
And, after about twenty minutes, the Professor and I were convinced that the one thing Nashville is missing is a place you can go and drink and dance and watch singers backed by a live band and surrounded by topless dancers.
When we approached Mack about giving us the start-up money for such a venture, he wanted to see a business plan. What, though, is there to see? There will be singing, and dancing, and live music, and boobs and butts jiggling, and hot men in long fur coats strutting around in ways that make us swoon and I will wear a dress that hoists my tits clear up to here and gives me such cleavage that straight men can’t talk coherently when I’m in their presence.
What more could a moneyman possibly need to know?
But, y’all, he threw back his head and laughed at us, laughed like his chest had cracked open and giggles were pouring out all over the easy-chair. He laughed in that way where you have to put your hand on your sternum for fear something important is going to jar loose and you want to be able to catch it.
Then he looks over at us and says, “There are live musicians, too?!” like zombie musicians he could have gotten behind, but this?
“What?” I ask, “You don’t like live music.”
“So, I have to deal with waiters, bartenders, strippers, singers, and live musicians?”
He laughs some more. “Can we maybe brainstorm about another batch of people notorious for being unreliable and difficult to work with and get them involved, too?”
“Don’t make fun of us. It’s a good idea.”
“Maybe we can get into the drug selling business, too. That would at least get folks to work on time. ‘Be here by 5:30 or you won’t get the staff discount.'”
“See, there you go. We sell drugs and you’ll have your start-up money back in no time.”
He wasn’t convinced.
Anyway, needless to say, if anyone does open something like Church here in Nashville, it’s not going to be us.