Sunday, January 04, 2009

Thoughts on Benjamin Button, Johnny Quest and Felon


The Beefcake and I went to see Benjamin Button finally. Holy frijoles, what a brilliant piece of film. I have the bladder or a tiny little bird, yet after drinking a large limeade at the taco stand, I didn't have to pee once during the 3 hour movie. That's how good it is.

I cried so hard I started hyperventilating, but silently because you can't be wailing at the top of your lungs in the middle of a sold out theater. But the lady next to me was totally crying too, and the Beefcake - well the Beefcake is just too manly to cry. He had some allergies or something.

Lots of stuff has already been said about Benjamin Button, but I just wanted to point out one thing that made it work so well: theme. Every single moment of this film was reflective of the theme of age and time. It was about opportunities lost and won, chances taken and not, fear that we've missed our lives, fear of death. It all goes back to watching time pass and there is not a frame of film that doesn't explore the idea of time slipping away in one way or the other. I don't think I've ever seen a film so steeped in theme before. Yet it's not preachy. Nobody ever turns to the camera and says, "Hey you, don't waste your time." It's all implied, and implied beautifully.

I also read the screenplay for Johnny Quest this weekend. It was on the Black List, but I found it kind of a generic script. Dan Mazeau wrote some terrific action scenes that race all over the world as the characters collect each other and investigate the great mystery at hand.

The problem with the script is that the action scenes are all it has going for it. The script felt like it was jumping from one badass sequence to the next and paying lip service to the plot just enough to get us to the next kickass fight. I know this problem. I've had this problem many times, but nobody has paid me a bazillion dollars to do that in an adaptation of a loved cartoon.

As a result of this shell of a story, I didn't feel like I got to know the characters very well. They seemed pretty uncomplicated. I actually think this could easily have been an extended episode of the show, not a feature length film.

I also watched the film Felon, a straight to DVD movie starring Stephen Dorf and Val Kilmer and Harold Perrineau. According to the prison guard I watched it with, it's the most accurate prison movie he's seen so far in his life. It won't win any Oscars, but the film does a terrific job of letting us sympathize with the bad guy. We don't like what he does, but we understand why he does it and that's enough to make this an engaging film.

So there you go. One for the theater, one for the DVD player, one to maybe not read.

4 comments:

  1. Glad you liked Benjamin Button. I think it's a classic and Fincher just continues to amaze me.

    I've been thinking of renting Felon. It seems like the perfect late night B movie.

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  2. Hear, hear! I also got choked up and cried during the movie. The movie really makes you appreciate life even more.

    I really don't know what else to say, but damn. It's a masterpiece film and I am so gonna buy it on DVD.

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  3. I thought Benjamin Button was outstanding, though I didn't find myself crying through that one.

    Seven Pounds, on the other hand ... on the drive home, every couple of minutes I would spontaneously burst into tears.

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  4. Wow, I was wrong about Felon. It was much better than the B movie I had anticipated. Very harrowing film.

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