Saturday, July 30, 2011

I guess we'll keep doing this 'til I get sick of it (never) or you get sick of it (more plausible)

Though I am covered in mosquito bites and itching like mad, I am trying to corral my attention long enough to bring you more of my favorite characters from some of my favorite movies. Though honestly, I could use a beer. And a lot of calamine lotion. Oh, how I suffer for my "art."

Allison Janney as "Loretta" in Drop Dead Gorgeous

Amber Atkins: Loretta, never have kids.
Loretta: Oh, honey, God bless ya for thinking I still could.

Can we all go ahead and agree that Allison Janney, with very few exceptions (if any), is fantastic in everything? She was what I wish real press secretaries were in West Wing, and it's not fair that we can't just make her the honorary press secretary for life. But in Drop Dead Gorgeous she really shines, even though her role is a small supporting character and she's teased out like every trailer trashy lush you've ever seen.

Besides the fact that the movie itself is hilarious and everyone is perfectly cast (even Kirsten Dunst, can you believe it???) and it was filmed before Kirstie Alley had all her weight problems, it's a great addition to the mockumentary genre. A documentary crew follows the contestants of a local midwestern teen beauty pageant where the girls competing are "mysteriously" bumped off or maimed or sabotaged during the weeks before and during the competition. Janney plays Loretta, the boozed up whore with a heart of gold that is Ellen Barkin's best friend and like a second mother to Kirsten Dunst in their trailer park paradise. You'll love Janney, if for no other reason than watching her hit on every guy that walks by (with some success) and smoke and drink and apply eyeshadow all at the same time.

Val Kilmer as "Gay Perry" in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Perry: [to the audience] Thanks for coming, please stay for the end credits, if you're wondering who the best boy is, it's somebody's nephew, um, don't forget to validate your parking, and to all you good people in the Midwest, sorry we said "fuck" so much.

Unfortunately, I lost this movie in the great breakup dividing of the stuff, and I lament every day that I didn't watch it more frequently. This movie is another example of how the Oscars are total bullshit: the script, the acting, the storyline, everything about this movie is laced with cocaine and awesomeness. Fresh out of rehab, this was one of the first films to really breathe life back into Robert Downey Jr.'s career, and to say he takes the bull by it's horns and makes it his bitch would be an understatement. However, some people may have overlooked the fact that this movie was made at a time where everyone had forgotten about Val Kilmer because he was doing a bunch of unpublicized (i.e. crappy) movies and had gotten chubby. He's still pretty chubby, and that makes me sad, but it doesn't change the fact that the man can act. He went to Julliard's school for drama, man!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a noir mystery amped up about forty notches, and chugging along is chunky Val Kilmer as "Gay Perry" (to distinguish him from some other Perry). A lot of you are familiar with Downey Jr.'s talent for fast-paced and snarky dialogue; well, not only does Kilmer keep pace, but his character actually gets quite a few zingers in over Downey's.

And yes, that's a tiny gun that Gay Perry keeps hidden by his balls. You know. Just for situations like the one up in that picture.

Dustin Hoffman as "The Conscience" in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

The Conscience: Who are you to even think that you can know the difference between good and evil?

Of all the movies that have been made about Joan of Arc, I personally think that this is one of, if not the, best. Besides the breathtaking cinematography and creative editing and oh. my. lawd. the hairdo's, Milla Jovavich is perfectly cast as the saintly soldier who might have just been a crazy peasant girl. While imprisoned at the end of the film, this possibility and her own understanding of God and her mission are explored with the introduction of Dustin Hoffman in a black cloak and his very reasonable voice.

Can we get this guy to do books on tape, like, forever?

Ben Whishaw as "Jean-Baptiste Grenouille" in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Narrator: In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. Naturally, the stench was foulest in Paris, for Paris was the largest city in Europe. And nowhere in Paris was that stench more profoundly repugnant than in the city's fish-market. It was here then, on the most putrid spot in the whole kingdom, that Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born on the 17th of July, 1738. It was his mothers fifth birth, she delivered them all here under her fish-stand, and all had been stillbirths or semi-stillbirths. And by evening the whole mess had been shoveled away with the fish-guts into the river. It would be much the same today, but then... Jean-Baptiste chose differently.

This is a slight change; as you can see, I chose a quote from the narrator instead of the character because, well, he doesn't actually have a whole lot of lines. Yet through Whishaw's body language, he creates a character, a murderer, that is all at once creepy and obsessive and heartbreakingly sympathetic. Gifted with an olfactory sense beyond anyone's in history, yet cursed with no scent of his own and the lowest of the low social statuses in 1700's France, Grenouille becomes obsessed with capturing and preserving the scent of beauty (or beautiful women's souls or summat, it's a little fuzzy on that point), which unfortunately means murdering ladies and soaking their dead bodies in vats of oils.

And instigating a city-wide orgy.

I will warn you ahead of time, the accents in this movie are pretty much bullshit. It's supposed to take place in France, but these are British actors and then you have Dustin Hoffman trying to do an Italian accent. The Hoff can do many things, but apparently an Italian accent is not one of them. But if you can make yourself not care, everything else about this movie is achingly beautiful and haunting. This is especially true of Whishaw's performance (though it is a difficult name to get used to saying out loud. "WHI-shaw" "Whi-SHAW" "WHISH-aw" Just weird).

Though I have yet to see Bright Star where Whishaw plays poet John Keats in the story of his love affair with seamstress Fanny Brawne before he tragically died of pneumonia at 25 (bring the kerchiefs, ladies), I have no doubt that Whishaw is a man to keep an eye on.

Sexy poses included.

Mickey Rourke as "Marv" in Sin City

Cardinal Roark: Will that bring you satisfaction, my son? Killing a helpless, old, fart?
Marv: Killing? No. No satisfaction. Everything up until the killing, will be a gas.

I probably love this movie way more than I should. There's a lot to object to, no doubt. All the women are unrealistic, gorgeous waifs that embody the virginal whore stereotype. Gratuitous use of violence and nut squeezings. Not getting to see all of Rosario Dawson's breasts.

But, there's a lot to love about this movie, and one of my personal favorites is Marv. He's so fucking crazy, but with a noble purpose and lots of medical tape. Even though Mickey's got a big mouth and a face that's been beaten more times than my grandmother's welcome mat, he's a pretty danged good actor, especially in the "tough-guy" genre. Man, in "The Expendables," when he started to cry, I started to cry. But seeing him kill the everliving hell out of a bunch of bad guys is pretty awesome too.

Dudes, I was working on this all weekend while dogsitting for my boss, and then totally forgot to finish and post it, like a goddamned spaz. Ah, me.

More stuff, shuttling down the pike, at the speed of a greased up sloth.

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