Friday, May 19, 2006


You know those movies you'd heard about for years, but either never got around to renting them, or never could b/c your lame-ass local video store wouldn't carry them b/c they already had 3 shelves of Scary Movie 7, and didn't have room for critically-acclaimed films? And then you joined Netflix and finally SAW the movie in question, and it simultaneously SUCKED, BLEW, and BIT THE BIG ONE?
Well that happened to me the other day. I got Whit Stillman's Metropolitan in the mail, and was really excited - it's just been released on DVD for the first time ever (in a Criterion edition, no less).
I hated it. It was pretentious, shallow, and, I thought, mean-spirited. I LOVED his Last Days of Disco, and the two films were actually similar in a lot of ways. But everything that worked in LDoD was terrible in Metropolitan. The endless exposition on class structure from snotty, uber-wealthy 18 yr olds was more than I could handle.
I enjoyed The Watcher in the Woods (a re-viewing of the late-70's Disney movie that scared the living shit out of me as a child) MUCH more than Metropolitan. Ben and I watched it last Friday night, and added our own commentary, a la "Mystery Science Theatre 3000." In this DVD release, however, you actually get to SEE the Watcher, and lame doesn't begin to describe how terrible it was (not to mention the "other dimension/planet" you see at the end). The Watcher consisted of black torn garbage bags draped over coat hangers, and the "other world" looks like an 80's gay disco, from the era when disco wasn't even in vogue anymore (think flat and unenthusiastic). And when you finally see Karen, she's wearing this spectacularly awful blonde wig. I know because I wore that same wig to a rave in '96 where we danced in foam and everyone wore blue nail polish. From a completely camp perspective, however, The Watcher in the Woods is a joy, from beginning to end.
I'm going to spend the weekend attempting to hide from DaVinci Code hysteria. The film is released today, and I've already spent the last 2 years dodging earnest-looking middle-Americans who hadn't previously read a book in 6 years coming up to me (after finding out I'm a reader), intoning, "OHMIGOD, you HAVE to read the DaVinci Code - it's the BEST BOOK!!! It will change your whole perspective!!! And it's so controVERcial!" I remember the same sort of mob mentality over that book The Bridges of Madison County. And The Lovely Bones. I actually gave DVC a chance, and was appalled at how bad it was. And this isn't exactly coming from a literary snob - I may have been an English major, but I've been known to read a John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell, and I've liked a lot of them. DVC was a whole lot of nothing - wooden dialogue, flat characters, cheezy cliffhangers at the end of every chapter, and an insulting withholding of information until the very end.
I've heard that the film blows, so maybe it will die quickly, and we can all move on with our lives... I'm weary of seeing Tom Hanks with his child molester haircut everywhere.


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