Monday, April 20, 2009

Talking Back to Tim

We agree...and disagree. He says tomato, I say, tomahto. It's perfect, 'ain't it? Two of Tim's recent reviews ( "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Happy Go Lucky") are just ripe for a toss-up of opinions.

I selected "play" on the DVD player just the other night for "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Approaching it with the expected angst of watching yet another "why did the remake this?!" film, I was even more disappointed than anticipated. Kathy Bates as a hard-nosed government official? Ouch...painful to watch. (For a real kick-ass politician, see Cherry Jones as the President on "24"). There were, subsequently, so many inconceivable, bad moments that I've blocked out the film. I have to admit...I couldn't even watch the whole thing. Painful, indeed. I'd give one fewer star than Tim did to this completely unnecessary remake.

On my first viewing of "Happy Go Lucky," I nearly threw the remote at the screen. I'm a fairly chipper person, but Sally Hawkins' "Poppy" made me want to grind my teeth down to smooth, polished ivory stubs. Is there something...deficient...with someone who remains cheerful in virtually all circumstances? True, she wasn't facing war or terminal illness. Rather, she merely encountered everyday annoyances that would drive the rest of us into a flurry of expletives. Instead, she persists with a loving silliness against a cranky bookstore owner, for example. The degree to which she perseveres with her downright scary driving instructor (a chilling performance from Eddie Marsan) is almost difficult to watch. And is it courage or foolishness that compels her to approach a boisterous homeless man in a desolate setting?

In between these tests of spirit, there are the everyday situations--drinks with friends, dating, a family get together-- into which she weaves an optimism and glee that no doubt draws her friends and family closer to her.

It wasn't until my second viewing of the film that I found the deeper meaning that brilliant director Mike Leigh had no doubt intended (a character study of optimism and saintly goodness). Still, it's hard to watch. Like being the only one at a party who isn't drinking...and just not seeing what's so funny, after all.