Posted by: chance47 | 01/21/2010

My Close Personal Friend…

So it goes without saying…I have impeccable taste.  Or it would go without saying, except I’m going to write about it now.  This isn’t arrogance.  I just like good things.  People ask for my opinions and typically come to me for recommendations.  Movies, television, books, music, food.  I’m a cool guy.

So imagine my surprise when I find myself constantly having to defend my unconditional love for Sandra Bullock.  Even my friends react with bewilderment and confusion.

I like Sandra.  Or Sandy as I prefer to call her, because I’m pretty sure that when we become friends she will want me to call her Sandy.  Somedays she’s like a good antibiotic.  You feel like crap when you start an antibiotic and after the first dayyou start to feel a little worse, but when you finally give into it and let it do its job you end up refreshed, healthy and awake.   A lot like watching a Sandy movie.

Not the highest compliment?  I beg to differ.  Listen, I love the hollywood heavy weight females…Julianne Moore, Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett, Penelope Cruz and yes, of course, Meryl Streep.  But sometimes after their movies…I’m a little worse for the wear.

This isn’t necessarily about artistic quality either…I can concede that in the exploration of addiction Requiem for  A Dream is a much more insightful, thought-provoking rumination on the power of drugs than 28 Days, but, dear lord, how many times can I watch Requiem for A Dream before I decide to give it up and look into home-remedy shock therapy options?  (Well…Requiem for a Dream does have Jennifer Connelly but that is a whole other bag of wonderfulness that I can’t get into just yet.)

What it comes down to, for me, is whether or not when I am watching a movie…do I buy it?   Am I in this world? Does this person’s performance work for me?  I am willing to go to many worlds for a movie…it’s why I feel I can appreciate and love the stark realism of 21 Grams or the snappy dialogue and quirky characters of Juno or the bombastic, overstylized approach of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom or the absurdist reality of Fargo (coincidentally that is also why I feel Far From Heaven is the best movie of the past decade and will discuss it until I am blue in the face).

This willingness to give into a world and style of a movie is also why I tend to get attached to movies that other people might not.  I still constantly hope that I will someday work full time at Empire Records, because when I saw that movie, however flawed it truly is as an example of  “film” (which it isn’t), I very dearly loved that world and those characters.  This willingness has lead me to love many movies that really cannot qualify as “film”.

See:

Playing By Heart


Bubble  Boy

Dude, Where’s my car?


Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion

And of Course…

Sister Act 1 & 2





Some of my friends suggested SHAG (no judgement), Raising Arizona (I think it is art…as most Coen brother films are…except for Ladykillers because it doesn’t exist), Twister (Fun!!!) and Harold and Kumar go To White Castle (a classic!!!).

But back to Sandy.  When it comes to Sandy…I am hard pressed to think of a movie where I don’t “buy” her.  Anyone who is willing to make herself look that silly or unattractive in a movie  or even allow the most annoying insecurities and foibles take the main focus is brave in my book (seriously…watch her dance in the forest in The Proposal or fall down in ANY movie for that matter).  Plus…when did likable become the easier, less bravura choice?  Seriously…I have spent a grand majority of my life just trying to be slightly likable as a person and I only moderately succeed on my best days.  Does that make her suddenly innocuous?  Harmless?  It isn’t easy being personable…it isn’t easy being accessible…so why is it so easy to give an actor or actress a pass when they are so effortlessly personable and relatable in a movie? (especially when perennial sexpot ciphers like Megan Fox or apathetic i-don’t-want-to-be-here-because-i-am-so-indie-actressed like Zooey Deschanel are all the rage?)  Pathos comes easier to some actors, while charm comes easier to others (Hilary Swank -vs- Hugh Grant). Give credit where credit is due in my opinion.  As a former thespian I regularly bow down to Meryl Streep, but when is the last time you have ever been able to view her on screen as an “anybody”, much less a likable “anybody” you can relate for and root for?   Yet Sandy has retained and even refined this quality over all her years (seriously…doesn’t she look just as amazing now as she did during The Vanishing?)  I’d dare say she has kept that quality better and more successfully than look-i-hid-my-gummy-smile-so-i’m-serious-now Julia Roberts and look-i-destroyed-my-perky-smile-with-plastic-surgery-and-now-i-look-like-jack-nicholson’s-joker Meg Ryan.

When she tells the Keanu-Bot that she lost her license due to “speeding” with a heavy, belabrored smirk and then minutes later runs the bus she’s piloting into what she thinks is a baby carriage and loses her shit…I believe every second of it.  When she tells the room full of addicts that she’s, “HAVING A BAD DAY!!!” in 28 Days I chuckle and feel for her at the same time.  Now, whether that is an amazing level of talent or crafty choosing of roles, is neither here nor there.  The reason I am so vehemently defending my close personal friend Sandy Bullock is because I recently just…

no…I mustn’t…I can’t…

I just…netflixed….

>gag<

All About Steve

It’s my own fault really…any movie Sandy is in, I either have to see in the theater or add to my netflix queue.  I’m talking everything from the best of her performances (Thing Called Love, Time to Kill, Infamous) to her funniest performances (Miss Congeniality, While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous DO NOT JUDGE ME, Demolition Man), to her great performances in seriously flawed movies (Forces of Nature, Practical Magic, Two if By Sea) to her dramatic/thriller work (The Net, Murder by NumbersPremonition) to the stuff NO ONE HAS SEEN EXCEPT FOR ME (Loverboy, Gun Shy and Who Shot Pat?).   I even forgive her for being in the movie Crash, because her work in that movie is really quite exceptional and career altering and despite my hatred of that movie she deserved a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for it.   (For the record In Love and War, Hope Floats and large portions of The Lakehouse do not exist.)

Sorry…the chance to gush about Sandy distracted me.

All About Steve

Okay…WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT MOVIE AND WHO HONESTLY THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA AND WHY DID MY CLOSE PERSONAL FRIEND SANDRA BULLOCK DECIDE TO NOT ONLY STAR IN THIS MOVIE AND PRODUCE IT AT THE SAME TIME THEREBY CAUSING ME INTENSE MENTAL ANGUISH, PSYCHOLOGICAL SUFFERING AND IMMEASURABLE PAIN??????????????????

That being said…it wasn’t that bad actually.   Like that Chinese restaurant that my friends ask me about and I say, “It’s good?”   And then they know they probably don’t want to go there.

The plot of this movie – Mary Magdalene Horowitz (yes a catholic-jew) is a crossword puzzle writer and all around neurotic mess.   She goes on a horrendous blind date with a news cameraman, Steve (Bradley Cooper), and after Steve makes an off-handed comment about wanting Mary to go on the road with her, even though he is actually blowing her off, she decides to follow him around cross-country and try to get to know him better…against his will…or…you know….STALKING HIM.  I could go into great detail about the movie but I don’t want to hurt you…essentially Mary is mentally ill.  She’s neurotic, talkative, combative, and generally annoying.

It was almost as if Sandra Bullock was trying to be unlikable.  Sandy…unlikable in a movie?  She really tries…she pushes me to the limit. There were two separate occasions I was close to shutting the movie off (for those who know me…they know that is a big deal for me…I have never…NEVER in my life walked out of a movie theater…and very….very rarely refused to finish a rental).

I mean…this movie was a mess.  It was like 14 different movies wrapped into one and none of them seemed too pressed to gel or even resolve themselves.

I would say to a non-sandy fan…avoid this at all costs.

But then…something happened in this movie…and please forgive me…I got hooked.   Maybe it was the car crash/train wreck effect.  Maybe I had to know how it ended only to wipe it from my mind…but…if I am being honest…it was something a bit more.

In one of the movies 437 dangling plotlines, Mary finds herself on the road with a group of equally neurotic, annoying and eccentric companions.  They  love her for her and even though they are almost intolerable, they begin to become charming.

Yes…she’s still unbalanced…yes…she’s still mentally deranged…but she found her people.   Isn’t that what we all want?  Ultimately?

By the end of this supposed quirky adventure/road movie/romantic comedy/abomination something amazing happened.  Without legitimately spoiling the end of the movie (even thought I know most of you wouldn’t care), Mary gets her happy ending, her deserved happy ending.  Not a romantic comedy ending.   Not a road trip happy ending, but the only ending a quirky adventure/road movie/romantic comedy/abomination can have.   And I smiled…genuinely.

Would I inflict this pain on myself again?   Probably not (yes…in about two years when it is on TBS constantly, where all Sandy movies end up being broadcast).  But did the antibiotics work?   Like I said…at fist you have to give into it.  And then…absolutely.  Is it “film”…oh dear god no.   Is it good?   Certainly not.   Does it have a single redeeming aspect?  For goodness sakes people, of course it does…it isn’t 500 Days Of Summer after all.  Despite everything working against the movie: script, cohesive direction, a singular vision, a general sense of taste…

it has Sandy.

(PS…about five hours after I watched “All About Steve” my close personal friend Sandy Bullock won her first Golden Globe for her exemplary work in “The Blind Side” and it was very much so deserved.  The movie itself wasn’t the greatest movie, but her performance was a small miracle.  Watch the scene where Leigh Anne is discussing sleeping arrangements with Michael and you will know what I am talking about.)

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Responses

  1. You already know that i can never and will never judge you because of your movie loves. For, as you know all too well, any time that there is a disaster movie on tv or on the big screen, I must watch it. Twister, Armageddon, 2012, Day After Tomorrow – I love them all. And don’t forget Jurassic Park 3…..a talking velociraptor?!?!? Why not?


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