WWW: Weekend Wrental Wreviews 13

Let's see what I saw this week for Weekend Wrental Wreviews in my THIRTEENTH WWW:

1) Staying Alive:
I have no idea what the hell happened or what Stallone and Travolta were thinking. Saturday Night Fever was a good movie, about a womanizing young man who eventually at the very least questions what he's doing, and whether he wants to spend the rest of his life working in a hardware store and going disco dancing on Saturday nights. But of all the directions Travolta's Tony Manero could have gone in, I never would have expected headbands, legwarmers, and bad Broadway dance shows. Manero competes with the passion of Rocky but most of the sequences are about as silly as the solo warehouse dance scene in Footloose. The sequel completely misses the flavor of the original here, and is probably one of the things that tanked Travolta's career until he made his comeback in Pulp Fiction. There's a weird love triangle that doesn't work because it's obvious who he should pick, especially when he ends up fighting one of the girls through dance. There's some shameless diva behavior and the girl doesn't act much better. And the last line of the film is so ridiculous, when the big show is finally over, that I need to post it here as a warning, spoilers be damned: “You know what I want to do now?” “What”? “Strut.” I even found video, though not in English, which makes it no less ridiculous:

Without that line, and with a better movie, that might have made a good parallel to the way the first movie began. Fail.

2) Be Kind Rewind:
I have mixed feelings about this one. I'll start with the ending, which on first viewing felt ambiguous, but after thinking about it, I realized it was pretty clear what happened, but that it wasn't the ending movies have conditioned me to expect. And overall, the film had a lot of heart, and veteran actors like Danny Glover particularly shone. Be Kind Rewind tells the story of what happens when Glover leaves Mos Def in charge of his video store while he goes on a quest to find a way to keep from losing both a business and a home should their building be condemned. Enter Jack Black, whom Glover wants kept out of the store until he gets back. Through a ludicrous, inexplicable sequence too silly to recapitulate, Black's character gets magnetized and erases every tape in the store. They probably could have come up with a better way to set up the next act of the film, but however they got there, the next act is the fun one, the one I expected from the trailers. The two set about making their own bad remakes of the lost films, because they're basically idiots, but in the process they find an audience and a community rediscovers its spirit. So I did like that, though I wouldn't have minded more with the spoofs. And while Black excels at playing a doofus, Def seemed uncomfortable in the role, and he fluctuated. He's done better and impressed me in almost every other role I've seen him in, but he just didn't seem comfortable with this character, who alternates from being simple to being the smart one in comparison to Black's. There's a buddy comedy formula that Abbott and Costello perfected, and another Dumb and Dumber coined, but this film suffers by straddling and never committing to either. In the end, it wasn't a bad movie and I liked it, but I wouldn't have minded if a few things were done differently.

3) Adventureland:
If you're expecting a Ryan Reynolds workplace comedy similar to Waiting, then this isn't the film for you. If you want an ‘80s period piece about angst and life's lessons as we figure out who we're going to be for the rest of our lives, then you'll probably enjoy it as much as I did. Based on the director's experiences with a Summer job at a Long Island amusement park, the film chronicles the romances and friendships of a college graduate(Jesse Eisenberg), who faces one rollercoaster twist and turn after another when his parents are unable to afford grad school and he goes to work at an amusement park. Martin Starr appears to loosely reprise his Freaks and Geeks role a few years later with a throwaway reference to a peanut allergy, and is just one of many characters that enter our protagonist's life as he learns who his friends are, and how people will invariably let us down, but as humans we all make mistakes. His romance with Kristen Stewart reminded me a bit of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. At one point he makes a mix tape for her of “downer” songs, a good metaphor for these types of movies with geeks and damaged girls and people in that awkward phase between school and the real world, or really any awkward phase. Because we can all relate, we've all felt that way, and somehow through empathy there's hope. We all go through it, but then we all get through it.

More reviews to follow next week after I've spun a few more discs!



Blogger Lorna said...

Hmmm, I can't seem to get farther in my analysis of a movie than: I liked it or conversely, I didn't like it.

I admire your thought processes

10/18/2009 8:40 PM  
Blogger b13 said...

That SA clip would have been better if he had been hit by a bus at the end...

10/18/2009 11:42 PM  

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