Monday, September 25, 2006
This is some of the work that I did over the Summer, with students from the Queensborough neighborhood in Shreveport. What a difference two months can make.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Brian de palma is fucking dead to me.
Before tonight, I'd never actually made the trek to the theatre, paid the $7.50, bought the popcorn and soda, and walked out on the feature. It'd become a kind of point of pride: I can sit through even the most unwieldy turd of a screenplay, brought to life in the most ham-fisted ways. But, for Christ's sakes, I couldn't sit through "The Black Dahlia." I'm just going to dispense with the foreplay and say it up front: This is the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. The fact that it has somehow managed to claim at 7.3 on IMDB.com confuses me even more than the plot (if there was one) of this film. I could eat a bowl of Alphabet Soup and shit a better screenplay.
I attended a late-night screening, but I was wide awake and ready for some entertainment when the film opened with twenty minutes or so of plot that had nothing to do with the murder of Elizabeth Short, the "Black Dahlia." I figured the movie was just taking its sweet time, which is fine. I mean, I enjoy David Gordon Green films; I don't shy away from a meandering, spare plot. But then an hour passed. And another. And the movie had spent all of about ten minutes on the "mystery" of the murder. The only mystery that I could spot in this turd was: What is this movie about? I don't mean that in an abstract way, I mean in it a plain-spoken, simple way. If you asked me to sum up the story of this film, I'd have to tell you something like:
"These two cops are always fighting and talking and watching stag movies. One of them goes to a lesbian bar once, where he meets and proceeds to bone Hillary Swank. Then the one cop dies, his partner cries, then goes home and fucks the dead guys wife after throwing a baked chicken halfway across a condo."
That's really the best I can do, after about 2 hours and 10 minutes. I just got up and left. Audience members on both sides of my seats were beginning to wonder aloud about whether the movie was actually supposed to be about the murder. In one scene, Josh Hartnett stares at a painting of a clown and grumbles "I don't get modern art." Then he stares at the clown a while longer. It's easily a 30 second shot. This kind of crap isn't atmosphere, it's amateurish, and it makes the movie so flabby and joyless that it's just an impossible film to watch. Aaron Eckhart, who I have loved since his performance in "In the Company of Men," phones in the worst performance of his career. Admittedly, it's not his fault - Humphrey fucking Bogart would've had a hard time, bouncing lines off of the cardboard cut-out of a leading man that is Josh Hartnett. Though I credit the filmmakers for putting Scarlett Johannsen in one of those insane torpedo-breast brassieres from the fifties, not even my shameless, schoolboy crush on her could make me sit through one more minute of Josh Hartnett having sex with everything except the baked chicken.
I consider myself pretty good at following the plots of dumb movies. I've sat through thousands of them, and found something to like in just about every one. But not this one.