I wonder if readers understand why I am talking lately about movies I've only just seen on DVD.
Well, you see, my son was born in 2000, and a daughter a couple of years later, and that pretty much put a halt on seeing many movies at the cinema that you wouldn't take kids to. This hasn't been that big a problem, as family friendly animation is so good now, it's been a pleasure seeing these films almost exclusively for the last decade. But now with a 12 year old, he's more interested in a wider range of movies, so I can branch out a bit with DVD choices at home. And besides which, with LCD TV and DVD players that have a modest sound system attached, watching DVD's now is a quality experience that it wasn't a decade ago.
Last night and today, we watched the following:
* Napoleon Dynamite (2004): America has quite this thing about eccentric middle America living in middle America, doesn't it? The lead character is played in a way that is always bordering on being too cringeworthy, but I did get plenty of laughs and ultimately liked the way that it had the grace to let every oddball character have a happy ending. Australian movies have often (too often) been built around oddball characters too, but I usually can't stand them: there is frequently no generosity of spirit in the way the stories treat them. (It was suggested to me today that The Castle is probably an exception, and I think that may be right, but believe it or not, my general allergy to Australian films means I still haven't seen it.)
Anyway, the character I found most amusing in the film was Pedro: why is it that I find depressed sounding Hispanics funny?
My son kept complaining after about 30 minutes that there was no real story: "there is no problem to be overcome". (I am pretty sure they must have been speaking about narrative structure at school lately.) This is true; it has the slimmest of plots. Yet it's memorable.
* Oh Brother, Where Art Thou: gosh, it came out in 2000? I would have guess about 2005, but there you go.
What a brilliant and pleasing film. The deep, deep well of Coen brothers' eccentricity has its best outing here since (I suspect) their first half dozen films. Where do they get ideas like having a lead character with an obsession for a particular brand of pomade for his hair, or the staging of a Ku Klux Klan rally as a singing and mass choreography show? It looks and sounds great too.
As for the acting: Clooney has made a speciality out of playing characters who aren't as smart as they think they are, and even though I get the feeling from some interviews that he may be a tad annoying in real life, his willingness to repeat this on screen persona (which plays on his own good looks and smooth voice) makes me think he can't be all bad.
But the actor who really impressed in this film was Tim Blake Nelson, the guy who played the dim witted but kind Delmar. I just thought he was absolutely convincing in every second on screen.
I'll probably buy this one if I see it soon at Big W.