Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mark In Real Life: A few more movies




Movies should heighten reality in some way. Obviously movies aren't "real life" and they are best when they either present a different world altogether, or a reflection of this life that is "realistic" but with important twists: of plot, of character, of setting.

In the "altogether different" category, I offer Across the Universe. In the "realistic" category, I offer (funny, I hadn't considered the title): Dan in Real Life. Across the Universe is good. Dan sucks.

Who should see Across the Universe? The range is wide, from Julie Taymor fans to Beatle's fans. I love how the movie musical is getting re-invented and re-popularized. From Chicago to Dreamgirls and now Across the Universe, the movies are singing again in a way--this is important--that kids will love. It's natural that kids who love music videos would adapt to the movie musical if it was done right: with high production values, quick editing, pop stars. Julie Taymor, though, goes a step further and adds a heightened aesthetic and some edgy emotion.

I don't know why, but when a song that that is somehow in our collective consciousness, our cultural DNA, get's re-imagined in a shockingly original way, you just want to cry. Weep I did during the scene where I Wanna Hold Your Hand was presented as a lament by a lesbian cheerleader. As she's singing, voice full of longing, she's walking blithely through a group of in-flight football players. It's magic. It works.

But Dan in Real Life. Oh my god, seldom have I wanted a cocktail more or wanted to run screaming out the theater. It's an entirely predictable story about a guy who falls for his brother's girlfriend. If his damn family hadn't been so postcard perfect I might have fallen for this. I will say that the twenty something hetero couple next to me seemed to be lapping it up like kittens. Bully for them. That's who this movie is for, but if you fall in that category, but sure and check your brain at the door, or maybe smoke a joint before the movie.

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