HUNGER (2008)

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Elizabeth

I’m going to be totally honest: I was excited to see Hunger for mainly two reasons. A.) Steve McQueen directed it and B.) Michael Fassbender and his dick are in it. Yes, I was very excited for Michael Fassbender nudity. So excited, in fact, that I sort of forgot that a movie about a prison hunger strike probably wouldn’t have sexy nudity. That oversight became pretty clear pretty fast and ultimately I didn’t even want to see Michael Fassbender’s dick because naked wasn’t the best state for his character to be in.

So Hunger actively made me not want to see Michael Fassbender naked. That’s a feat in itself. Aside from all of that, I think if you described this movie to me I wouldn’t have been too excited for it. There is an extreme lack of dialogue, and except for some text in the beginning you’re not told much of what’s going on or who anyone is (which can leave people not very familiar with modern Irish history sort of in the dark at times). But somehow, it worked for me. I usually hate that shit. But I almost didn’t even notice, I think it wasn’t until 15 minutes in that I realized no one had really even spoken yet. There was just so much to watch and understand and the acting was so incredible that you really didn’t even need dialogue, which is something I almost never think.

A lot has been said about Michael Fassbender’s physical transformation, which I admit is really pretty horrifying to see. I never really thought too hard about how a hunger strike works, what it truly does to your body, and I would have been fine not thinking about it had it not been for this movie. But while that transformation was incredible and everyone was on the top of their acting game, that’s not what pushed Hunger over the edge from good to great for me. That, for me, came from one single scene. Bobby (Fassbender) has decided to go on a hunger strike to protest the treatment IRA protesters receive in prison (and for good reason; the wardens at this prison act more like SS officers than people who work in a prison) and is speaking to Father Dominic Moran (Liam Cunningham) about his hunger strike plans. Moran is on his side intellectually but tries to convince Bobby not to go through with the strike because it will likely kill him and the others that follow. But about 10 minutes into their conversation, at a pause, I suddenly realized that this scene had been going on a long time and I didn’t think the camera ever moved. I paid more attention and found that the camera never moved, that this scene was actually a completely unbroken shot of the two men talking. The dialogue was so amazing that the unbroken shot was hard to even notice. I was floored by that, especially considering this was a movie where dialogue was not high on the priorities list. I don’t even know what more to say about this scene, because it literally is just a filmed conversation between two men. But it is incredible and made me completely love the movie.

Hunger was hard to watch at times, especially toward the end, but it is so good.

Christopher

Sadly, this is the first Steve McQueen movie I’ve actually seen. I remember when this came out I really wanted to see it but of course it wasn’t until now that I actually did. We started 12 Years a Slave but realized we weren’t in the mood for such an intense movie at the time so we never got back to it. And Shame, I kind of thought it had to do with incest so I skipped that all together. Having seen Hunger, I really need to see everything he does. This film was so beautiful and well directed. The opposite of an M. Night movie.

What I really enjoyed about Hunger was the silence. Two thirds of this film has little to zero dialogue and it’s more of a collection of scenes following different people around one prison than a straight narrative. We follow prison guards, prisoners, and police officers. You get a good sense of everyone involved and how they all think and feel about the treatment bestowed upon the prisoners. It’s done so well too that you don’t really think about no one really talking.

About a third into the film though there is a scene that is just straight up talking. Just two men at a table, having a conversation, that’s done, in large, with one shot. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!! I mean before this time we don’t really even know people’s names that well but all of a sudden we get to see a prisoner and a priest discuss what’s going on with them, how they feel about the mistreatment, and what they plan on doing to get out. It’s a scene that captivates you, too. It reminds me of the long shot in Atonement. You don’t really know it’s happening until about ten minutes into the scene. Then you realize how this is the most talking in the movie, then, have they even changed camera angles? It very well done and I wish more movies had a similar structure.

This movie is great. If you haven’t seen it, please do. As someone who knows nothing about politics, this movie is still one of the best I’ve seen in a while. I almost hope we watch more Steve McQueen again soon!

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THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

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Christopher

I completely missed seeing this movie until now. So, unfortunately, I did know how this movie ended. However, I wasn’t quite sure how the movie unfolded to get there. Even though I knew how it ended I really enjoyed watching the film.

It’s strange to think about ‘cause when this came out and I was younger, M. Night Shyamalan was this great, best of the best director in my mind. Granted it was a time when I didn’t know a lot about movies but in my mind it was just a fact that he was great. When I think of him now though it makes me think of sitting in the theater when they started playing trailers for that movie Devil that came out a while ago and the whole theater would start booing when his name came up as a writer. There used to be a lot of these videos on Youtube. And for good reason! The Sixth Sense and some of his others are good but he became a terrible writer/director.

Anyway, back to The Sixth Sense. Everything about this movie works to me. It does a great job of being emotional. You know the kid is nice, he just has this horribly fucked up thing he has to deal with. Bruce Willis is an accomplished and nice therapist that you want to see help the boy. And it’s really not a horror movie. It just has to deal with dead people.

I’m glad I finally saw this movie but I wish I had seen it when it came out. I know it would of scared the shit out of me but at least the end would have been a surprise. If you are completely out of the loop like me and never saw this, please do!

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I found out a long time ago that Chris had never seen The Sixth Sense and I had been trying to get him to watch it pretty much ever since. And finally we did it!

I didn’t see The Sixth Sense in theaters, but I watched it the weekend it came out on video at my friend’s house. I didn’t know the ending at that point and when I watched it I had really never seen anything like it. It was scary, but not in a way that truly scared me. It was sad and beautiful and I couldn’t believe Malcom (Bruce Willis) was for real, totally, completely dead the whole time. I thought it was a complete work of genius.

It’s been sixteen years and an M. Night Shyamalan movie obviously doesn’t mean now what it meant then. I was a supporter of M. Night Shyamalan for many years beyond everyone around me. I truly loved Lady in the Water and I thought The Village was scary and creepy. I hung on. Then I saw The Happening and I couldn’t deny that it was bad. It’s been kind of downhill from there (though I truly do still have faith that he will be great again). But even now, I don’t really disagree with my original thoughts on The Sixth Sense. I imagine this movie will end up being like Psycho; everyone knows what happens, but it’s still a classic that ends up being scary and creepy. Just like knowing that Marion Crane gets murdered by Norman Bates in the shower doesn’t make Psycho less scary or powerful, knowing that Malcom is dead the whole time really doesn’t take away from The Sixth Sense also being scary and powerful.

Because I first saw this movie when I was around 11, I obviously saw everything more from Cole (Haley Joel Osment)’s eyes. I wasn’t unfamiliar with being made fun of and I hated every kid in this movie because they were so terrible to Cole, who was so tortured. Watching it now, I still hate those kids but I paid more attention to the adults. For example, in the scene where Cole basically breaks down his teacher by making fun of him for stuttering, the first time I watched it I just felt sad for Cole, knowing he was only saying those things because some ghosts told him to. But watching it now all I could think of is someone really needs to fire that fucking teacher. So a tiny kid made fun of your stutter. Okay. You’re an elementary school teacher and an adult, so reacting by banging your fist on the kid’s desk and yelling in his face is probably not the best way to deal with it, especially when you know the kid has issues. I also paid a lot more attention to Lynn (Toni Collette), Cole’s mom. I honestly didn’t remember her being in it much, so I thought her character was so interesting to watch. She’s so tragic, tries so hard, and her total undying love and support for Cole is both heartbreaking, heartwarming, and exhausting to watch.

So watching The Sixth Sense as an adult, and knowing the ending, I found it to be much more sad than scary. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 (1981)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I liked how Friday the 13th Part 2 began, with checking on Alice, the sole survivor of the first movie. For some reason, Alice is living alone in a giant house, though she’s still plagued by nightmares. Then suddenly she finds Pamela Voorhees’ (Jason’s mother) decapitated head (Alice’s own handiwork from the first movie) in her refrigerator and then is killed with an ice pick to the head.

After that, it’s mostly the same set up as before. It’s five years later and teenagers are gathering at a camp on the other side of the lake from Jason’s camp. Again, the teenagers are picked off one by one without anyone really knowing what’s going on. Just like the first movie, it doesn’t really get interesting until the end.

This time our heroine, Ginny (Amy Steel), is a student of child psychology. She starts to look at the whole situation differently before she even realizes anyone is dead. She assumes Jason didn’t drown, is still alive, and is permanently feral and fucked up after seeing his mother decapitated. Those are a lot of assumptions, especially about someone who at this point is just an urban legend, but end up being fairly on point. When Ginny is finally confronted by the killer, she runs into the woods and finds a makeshift cabin which holds the dead bodies of Ginny’s friends along with Pamela Voorhees’ decomposing head sitting on an altar. Correctly assuming that the killer (who is wearing a burlap sack over his head) is Jason, Ginny puts on Pamela’s sweater and tries to use psychology to defeat him, which doesn’t work.

At the end of the first movie, after everyone else is dead, Alice is found by police floating in a rowboat in the middle of the lake. When she wakes up, she’s pulled under water by what looks like a decomposing child come to life. She then wakes up (again) at the hospital to learn that everyone’s dead but that no one saw a boy. So at the end of this movie, after Ginny thinks she’s killed Jason, she and her boyfriend are attacked in a cabin by Jason bursting through a window and trying to pull Ginny through it. Then suddenly Ginny wakes up on a stretcher, her boyfriend may or may not be dead, and we have no idea what happened to Jason.

So except for Ginny taking a psychological route, which doesn’t work, Friday the 13th Part 2 follows nearly the exact path of Friday the 13th, including the lack of fear from no one realizing anyone else is dead. So that was disappointing.

Also, I know it was a different time, a full 34 years ago, but what the fuck was with some of these costume choices? No bras (as usual), and every woman at some point seemed to wear ridiculously short shorts and/or ridiculously cropped shirts.

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Looks comfortable.

Christopher

I liked this one a lot more than Friday the 13th. It was far more intense and kind of actually had a plot worth following. It ‘s more of a, these campers are intruding on Jason and he needs to defend his home. People still die pretty fast but a lot more people live in this one.
The one disappointing part was that the end was kind of the same as the first one. I love everything that had to do with Jason’s hobo house in the woods but all the dream-like sequences after were not what I was really hoping for.
I would almost recommend just starting with this film in the series because it does a good job of telling everything that happened in the first film.
I’m anxious to watch the third one, I think he gets his mask in that one!

FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

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Christopher

I really do like slasher films; I can’t believe it took me this long to watch this movie. However, I was kind of disappointed. I figured it wouldn’t really be as scary as I would of thought when I was a kid. But the story in this film is kind of worse than thin. At no point do any characters, except for the very last victim, figure out that a killer is trying to kill them all. Whenever anyone see’s the killer, they immediately die. The movie just really had difficulty creating tension I think.
The deaths were alright. One guy was someone impaled by arrows and lifted like five feet off the ground. The would of been interesting to see how the killer did that.
Watch it for sure but don’t expect a lot.

 

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Friday the 13th. I honestly didn’t think it would be that scary, but I thought it would be because it would seem corny and have bad special effects. But then I thought maybe it would be super scary because it did spawn about a million sequels.

But no, it wasn’t scary. But not because it was corny (which it was) or had bad special effects (which really weren’t too bad). It wasn’t scary because there was no real fear until the last 15-20 minutes. There were plenty of gruesome, bloody murders (and plenty of women wearing no bras), but in the end everyone was sort of killed in a vacuum.

There’s a group of teenagers taking care of an abandoned summer camp, getting it ready to re-open. We know from a flashback that years ago two teenagers were murdered there after sneaking off to have sex. The movie starts with one of the teenagers trying to find a ride to the camp and is repeatedly warned about the camp being cursed. She hitches a ride with a guy who inexplicably doesn’t take her to the camp, but just randomly drops her off in the woods so she has to hitch another ride. But that other ride is the killer and she’s dead pretty quick. The rest of the teenagers know she hasn’t shown up, but doesn’t know anything that’s happened. As the teenagers spread out among the cabins, the killer picks them off one by one. But since they’re not really in a group anymore, no one knows that anyone is being killed. It’s not until the very end when lone survivor Alice (Adrienne King) starts discovering bodies that anyone knows anyone else has been murdered.

The end sequence is fairly scary when we find out that the murderer is Jason Voorhees’ mother, seeking revenge after Jason drowned at the camp while counselors were (according to the mother) too busy having sex. I realized as the movie started to come to an end that I didn’t actually know who the killer was (since we hadn’t heard a mention of Jason) or what the ending was going to be like, so it was an interesting twist when the killer was a middle-aged woman.

The scariest parts in slasher films are usually not the murders, I think. It’s the characters being stalked by a killer, being terrified, trying to defend themselves. Friday the 13th took a lot of that fear away. It’s an important movie in terms of film history, but not all that exciting.

NO WAY OUT (1987)

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Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Where do I even start with No Way Out? Going into it all I knew about it was that my mom recommended it and it had Kevin Costner running around in a Navy uniform. That’s pretty much it. And when the movie started, it seemed pretty straightforward.

It follows Tom Farrell (Costner) as he begins a relationship with Susan Atwell (Sean Young), a woman whose sole occupation seems to be to keep Secretary of Defense David Brice entertained at whatever cost necessary. Farrell begins working for Brice in the Pentagon, at first unaware that Brice was the man keeping Susan, at the suggestion of Scott Pritchard (Will Patton), an old friend of Farrell’s and Brice’s right hand man. So at this point I assumed the main conflict was going to be hiding Farrell and Susan’s relationship from Brice. Farrell finds out that Brice is the one keeping Susan but Susan insists that she loves Farrell and will leave Brice. I believed her, but still thought the main conflict was going to be a love triangle. Then, after Farrell and Susan spend a weekend out of town together, Brice unexpectedly shows up and Susan kicks Farrell out. Then Brice straight up murders Susan.

I guess technically the murder is an accident, as Susan accidentally falls off a balcony in her house. Eh, except she wouldn’t have fallen if Brice wasn’t practically beating her up. Brice freaks out and runs to Pritchard and tells him everything. They decide to pin it on someone else two ways: first, claim someone else (besides Brice or Farrell) was Susan’s secret lover, and second, claim that said secret lover is Yuri. Who is Yuri? I was confused by that myself. Yuri is a code name for an unseen person working at the Pentagon that everyone seems to suspect is a KGB sleeper agent. At first I thought Yuri was a real person, like Yuri was a real guy that everyone knew but thought might be KGB. But it turns out that there’s no proof that Yuri even exists, so it seems easy for Brice and Pritchard to pin it on him.

At this point, Farrell doesn’t even know Susan is dead. So when Brice and Pritchard call him in to lead a secret investigation that they say will lead them to this “Yuri” person, it’s the first time Farrell learns that Susan is dead, much less that she was murdered. This scene, when they hand Farrell the file that tells him the victim is Susan, is pretty amazing. Farrell is obviously horrified at what he learns, but tries to hide it so no one knows that he was Susan’s lover. Brice and Pritchard are terrified that Farrell won’t buy it, and further that no one will buy it. There’s an amazing moment when Farrell asks to use the bathroom – we know it’s so he can have some freak out time in private. As soon as he’s in the bathroom, Brice turns to Pritchard and freaks out because he thinks Farrell doesn’t buy the story, and that’s why he’s acting weird; meanwhile Farrell is basically curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor, losing his mind. So much of this movie is about guys stressing out over the same thing but for different reasons.

Once Farrell gets it together, he starts leading the investigation down wrong paths to buy him time. He knows that if it’s discovered that Farrell was Susan’s secret lover, they’ll pin the murder on him. So on the one hand, we have Farrell fake-leading this investigation, trying to derail it so he isn’t caught. Then on the other hand, Farrell is trying to figure out what actually happened to Susan, as he suspects that Brice had something to do with it. At one point, there’s a piece of evidence that seems to be unusable: an undeveloped Polaroid. Farrell knows that the Polaroid is one that Susan took of him, so he’s relieved when he finds out they can’t get anything from it. Until his friend Sam, also helping in the investigation, puts the photo on a big screen and runs a program to slowly develop it. So now Farrell is basically leading two investigations, one real and one fake, while trying to beat the clock on this picture developing.

At this point, I was sort of frustrated and confused as to why Farrell didn’t go to anyone for help. Earlier in the movie we see him working with the CIA and he makes a personal contact there. Farrell didn’t kill Susan, so why doesn’t he go higher than Brice and try to save himself? We find out why later, but at this point I thought Farrell must have just thought he was fucked as soon as he was handed the file with Susan’s name and said nothing.

Eventually, Farrell figures out how to correctly pin Susan’s murder on Brice by tracing a jewelry box of Susan’s back to Brice. Once Farrell presents this evidence to Brice and Pritchard, Brice almost immediately shifts the blame on Pritchard. Though Pritchard is gay didn’t kill Susan, Brice starts going off on how Pritchard is essentially in love with him and killed Susan out of jealousy. Pritchard has a total meltdown once he realizes Brice is truly going to betray him like that, so he kills himself right there in front of Brice and Farrell. Brice keeps going along with the Yuri thing, saying that they uncovered Pritchard to be Yuri and Susan’s killer, causing the suicide.

I really liked the ending at this point. Farrell is a good, moral character who has been trying to get himself not blamed for the death of the woman he loved. So he’s not going to deny that Pritchard is Yuri, because that theory is saving his ass. But he will have to live the rest of his life knowing the truth: the woman he loves is dead, the man who killed her remains in power, and an innocent (okay he did kill someone in the movie, so not totally innocent) man’s reputation and life was destroyed. Once Pritchard was dead I felt like I finally had a chance to breathe, that it was sad that Susan was dead but a relief that Farrell really did get out of it. I was starting to worry that there was a big twist at the end, which was Farrell getting caught and imprisoned for Susan’s murder, which would then prove the title of the movie to be correct.

Well, that didn’t happen. We see Farrell speaking with his landlord, whom we’ve only met once, but I assumed was sort of a father or uncle figure to Farrell. Then the landlord starts speaking Russian. I thought that was a little weird. And then Farrell starts speaking Russian. And then the landlord remarks that Farrell has been undercover for so long that he’s lost some of his Russian accent. And then the landlord tells him that Farrell must go back home to Russia because his cover has been compromised. Because Yuri is real and Farrell is Yuri.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

Yes, that’s right, Kevin Costner is a KGB sleeper agent. When the movie ended, my mouth was totally open. I was shocked. I was expecting a crazy ending in some way, or a twist of some kind, but I had no fucking idea it would end this way. So, in a lot of ways, I did not like this ending. I felt like it came out of nowhere and negated a lot of what we had seen. We grow to love and root for Farrell, only to find out that he’s a foreign enemy (fucking Russian in 1987 even!). So, we shouldn’t have cared about Farrell?

After thinking about it (a lot), I came away with one main question. Why did Farrell care about who killed Susan? Was it because A.) Farrell believed that Brice and Pritchard truly thought Yuri was Susan’s lover and that if they found out Farrell was actually her lover they would know that Farrell = Yuri? Or was it because B.) Farrell knew Brice and Pritchard were full of shit but also knew that he couldn’t let the murder lead back to him and blow his cover?

I also felt sad when No Way Out ended, and not just because Kevin Costner turned out to be evil. But also . . . did he even love Susan? The Russian landlord guy implies that Farrell/Yuri was assigned to get involved with Susan to learn who she was sleeping with. So we know Farrell was deceiving Susan the whole time. But as far as we could tell, Susan truly loved Farrell. And Farrell seemed to truly love Susan! But did she die thinking that a man truly loved her whom she loved back when in reality he was a scary KGB agent only using her for information? Was Farrell going to kill Susan himself once he didn’t need her anymore?

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! No Way Out answers a lot of questions but leaves a lot of questions unanswered. And I guess they really don’t need to be answered. We don’t need to know if Farrell loved Susan or was just using her. But it would be nice if we knew that some semblance of what we though we knew about Farrell turned out to be true. But maybe it just wasn’t true.

Although I have mixed feelings about the ending, I can’t say enough about the pacing and suspense that’s kept up throughout No Way Out. So often when I’m watching something in which the main character is completely screwed, I don’t even want to watch it anymore. But No Way Out never lets you feel that way; it takes you juuuuust to the point of wanting to give up because there’s no way Farrell can win, only to give you a little victory and keep you wanting to see more. The movie wasn’t entirely deflated by the ending.

So all in all, I would pretty much recommend No Way Out to anyone. Mostly because I would be curious of what they thought of the ending. But the suspense is just too good to not recommend it.

Christopher

It wasn’t until we started watching this that I remember that I had seen it before. It’s a reminder that I watched way too many movies with very sexual scenes with my parents when I was younger. But what I remembered the most was the fact that a lot of this film was filmed in the Pentagon.
My dad used to work there and I feel like my parents rented this film before or after we took a tour there when he first started working there. So it was pretty nice seeing something I have good memories of as a kid.
I think the film does a great job of keeping the tension throughout. I mean it really seems like every scene could lead toward disaster. I have loved Kevin Costner since I was a kid, Field of Dreams used to be a movie I watched at least every year. However, I was surprised that Gene Hackman was in this film. That definitely makes me think I watched this when I had no idea who he was.
I would recommend this movie for sure. I think it’s interesting and I like the Navy connection.

LE SAMOURAÏ (1967)

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Christopher

Le Samouraï is all about just being cool. It’s great! I first saw this film back in high school; I really have no idea what turned me on to it other than it being a Criterion. However, I was super into it and watching it again brings back all the reasons why.

This movie is extremely low in dialogue. But it makes up for that in the sounds of the main character’s environment. It reminds me of Cure in that way. Also, every shot is very clean and crisp looking. This world within the film is very sparse and the scenes reflect this. This film also has elements of a Jim Jarmusch film. You get the sense that everything in each shot is important and there for a reason. That amount of detail gets me pretty excited when watching a film.

I think this is an excellent movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It does a great job of hooking you and having you interested in what’s to come. Also Alain Delon is pretty fucking awesome and he pulls off the contract killer just trying to do the right thing off with ease.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

When I think of cool guys in movies, I never think of James Bond but I always think of Jef Costello (Alain Delon) of Le Samouraï. Because he is sooooooo coooooooooooooooooool.

First of all, you have Alain Delon at the tip top of his most-attractive-guy-on-the-planet game. Seeing Le Samouraï in high school was the first time I had even heard of Alain Delon, so when he first came on screen I nearly died. I couldn’t believe how insanely handsome he was and how insanely good he looked in his spy/assassin/cool guy clothes.

So Jef is a contract killer, but one who is not particularly violent (if that makes sense) and one who is very quiet and smart (but somehow not creepy?). Everything starts when he’s IDed by witnesses in a murder he committed. Slowly everything he’s built up and all of his careful planning falls apart until he essentially has no real motivation to live and allows himself to be killed in public.

The plot isn’t that complicated. And there’s not much dialogue. A lot of the movie is just following Jef, watching his movements, watching how he interacts. I think one of my favorite elements about the movie is how exhausted Jef always looks; he’s cool and on top of things, but only because he never seems to rest or relax for one second. By the time he dies, it sort of feels like it’s time for him.

But oh my god. Watch this movie. It is so fucking cool and Alain Delon is such a badass.

HANGING UP (2000)

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Christopher

Diane Keaton, how you never seem to play any other characters.

This movie was pretty straight forward in its plot. Three sisters, all at different places in their lives, try to figure out what to do with their aging father. However, the father is kind of just a giant dick. Throughout the whole movie I never once felt sorry for the father who was obviously having issues with dementia and had issues with his children far before he needed to be in a nursing home. There are constant flashbacks to their relationship with their father and they are all awful, except small glimpses of him when they were super young.

This movie is pretty awful but at the end you mainly just feel bad that all the characters have to accept such an awful person as their father.

Elizabeth

At this point I just really want to see Diane Keaton play a poor (or at least non-wealthy), single woman whose conflicts are caused by things other than her character’s own neuroses. But until then, it looks like we’re just going to get more of the same shit from her.

Hanging Up takes place in a world in which Diane Keaton (who was 54 when this was filmed), Meg Ryan (who was 39) and Lisa Kudrow (who was 37) are sisters. Age-wise, Eve (Ryan) and Maddy (Kudrow) make sense. But what about Georgia (Keaton), Eve’s 15-years-older sister? They all have the same two parents, but why they had a daughter, waited fifteen years, and then had two more, was never explained. Hanging Up makes a point to show us how awful the sisters’ mother is, whom Eve goes to see at one point. Apparently their mother hates children, hated being a mother, hated being a wife, and hates her children. So, again, why, if you found yourself in that situation, would you have one child, stay married and with the family for fifteen years, and then have two more? For a movie that felt like it was trying to force us to understand everything going on with this family, leaving that untouched seemed sloppy.

But this is coming from Hanging Up. If you’ve ever taken a screenwriting class, then you know that one of the #1 rules is that the audience loves when characters talk on the phone, especially when you don’t know what the other side is saying. Oh wait, no, I’m sorry . . . IT’S THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT. Yes, as the title suggests, a large amount of dialogue and action revolves around being on the phone. In fact, everytime Eve’s phone rings she jumps around wherever she is, picks up the phone, and screams into it “IS HE DEAD?” Because her father is elderly and he may die. But he may die then . . . or in 5 years? And that’s how Eve lives her life? So, I guess we’re just supposed to be okay with her clearly being insane.

I was annoyed when the dad finally died. Because it was sad, but only because it’s hard to make the death of an elderly parent not sad. The movie did not earn sadness; I would have rather felt the full brunt of relief that the movie was over than that mixed in with some choking up because Walter Matthau died.

The best part of the movie was the giant Newfoundland that occasionally served as comic relief. In a comedy. So that should tell you a lot!