Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Movie-Viewing -- The normalcy edition

Watched Jackie Brown. I love this movie. It's one of those movies I could watch every time it's on. Sure it's a heist flick and a story about a close-knit (kinda) bunch of thieves.  I love all the relationships in this movie. The friendship between petty criminal Lou and "bigtime" gun seller Ordel. We don't really see how normal folks love in this movie. All we have of normalcy are the ATF guy and the cop. And we don't see much of them. Even when Ray eats dinner with Jackie Brown we're not quite sure what he's up to. Perhaps he's attracted to her, but he's upstanding and decent and not going to let emotion take him over. Law and Order rules his emotions. It's weird, but I find myself not being able to look at one particular scenes -- because the scenes hurt. Not because of the gun being used but because of the crime of betrayal. When Ordel kills Beaumont Livingston, I just couldn't look. Because it implies someone being taken off guard and betrayed.

I think part of my unease has to do with my friend Maxie, whom I knew as a kid. He got in with some bad kids and they set him up and killed him. That has always stayed with me...I'm always thinking: "What did Maxie think when he saw his friends pointing a gun at him and knew that was his last moment on earth and that his friends had betrayed him?" As my mother would say, "Those Jamaican drug gangs are no joke!"

Jackie Brown's full of all kinds of odd unspoken relationships. People take each other as they find them. They understand each other instinctively, even if they know they don't trust each other. Anyway, the relationship that is the best if -- of course-- the one between Max Cherry and Jackie Brown. Just one of the best depiction of sudden love hitting a middle-aged guy who didn't quite think about love at all. And it's done so well. When he does the bad thing you know he's doing it for her and would never do it if it weren't for her. It's a world of textures, shades, hues of morality. Ray's partner is pretty white bread and perfect on the list of perfect goodness. We see only one aspect of his personality. Not that there's only side to his personality...it's just that in his dealings with Jackie (which is all that we care about) that is all the audience sees.

You see Jackie being normal with Max Cherry-- Interesting name cause Cherry always implies something of a wuss...and he isn't (at least not in the movie...not sure about the book which I haven't read.) Normalcy is the height of friendship and love, I think. She gets all dolled up when eating out with Ray (incidentally, we aren't really sure she's going out with Ray the first time she mentions it. We aren't sure if she's playing Max or Ordel when she talks about their dinners...because we can't believe what we don't see...cause being slick is what surviving is about.) Jackie wears normal clothing when she's with Ordel. And she has no make-up. But with Max she dresses in denim overalls. And it's like the sexiest scene. She's always sexiest with no make-up. This is just one of the best Tarantino films.

Also saw Knocked Up.
Normal guys again. This time, normal loutish fellow knocks up a one-night stand.

I love all these movies made by the Seth Rogen/Paul Rudd/Steve Carrell guys. 40 year old virgin. Et al. All their flicks. There's just a sweetness about all these guys, a goodnaturedness about them. Just really good people. It's pretty pro-life without being preachy about it. Delicately and wonderfully and subtly done. Christian film makers would've gone all weird and overly obvious about it. In this case, the filmmakers merely show a sonogram of eight-week old baby and says: there's the heart-beat. Enough said. See, Conservative Jewish filmmakers know how to do pro-life and family values pictures without being so in-your-face religious. Liked this  a lot. Now I've got to see "I love you man." Gotta admit that I hate sharing Paul Rudd. Back in the day I was one of the few people who knew about this guy's existence. (Loved you, Paul, in Shakespeare's Tempest!) Aargh, I remember the day when Clive Owen and James Spader were mine alone as well. Oh well, the price of their greatness alas: They must let go of Carole's solitary love and get greater fans.

Basically, seeing movies about friends made me smile.  Made me smile too at my new YA. Friendship is a concept that needs exploring. Especially adult friendships. Heist flicks tend to explore them but not a lot of other flicks that do that.
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