people appreciate cleverness more than me. After all, I've been
screwed over by clever people more times than I've screwed myself.
About two years ago I stopped counting the number of times I traded
a car for beer. Sometimes for 40 oz. Of malt liquor,sometimes
for a six pack, and once for a bottle of Zima. Holy shit, did
I get screwed that time. The thing is, I know that the cars I
drive, like my 1977 Ford Pinto with the vinyl top, or my sweet
1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 with the fire-scarred engine bay, are worth
more than a few beers. Some are worth whole kegs, but as soon
as some smooth-talking sharpie in the Tavern starts in one me,
I'm like fucking Play-Doh in their hands. Once, I was so bedazzled
by this clever fellow's story of a disabled child who could make
diamonds come out of their exhaust pipes that it never occurred
to me that he was wearing his socks outside his shoes, sitting
in his own vomit and wedged between two barstools so that he couldn't
budge. Had I thought about it, I probably wouldn't have given
him my keys. Then again, he might still bring me some diamonds.
He said he would when I gave him my watch last Saturday. And then
I can trade those diamonds to Worm to get my pants back.
is, I'm not exactly a genius, or what some call quick on my feet.
And I was still able to figure out the twists of Criminal,
a grifter movie that wants so badly to be one step ahead of us
that it pretty much throws out common sense in the process. Besides
being improbable and obsessed with twists, the problem is that
about halfway through it, even I could figure out that the next
thing to happen would always be the thing we're supposed to least
is a remake of the Argentinian movie Nine Queens, which
only came out a couple years ago. Why remake a movie that's just
a few years old? Because some of those "independent" asslickers
in Hollywood have no more imagination than their big-money counterparts.
They just have less money to be unimaginative with. John C. Reilly
is a seemingly slick veteran con man and Diego Luna is a seemingly
amateur who team up when they come across a forged rare bank note
and a wealthy buyer in a hurry. Maggie Gylenhall is Reilly's seemingly
strait-laced sister who Reillyis trying to screw out of a large
movie isn't set up as a con movie. Con men take suckers into confidence
on shady deals, and then screw them. They take advantage of greedy
fucks who think they are going to get rich. Because the movie
is too lazy to set up some grifts, Reilly and Luna are established
as out-and-out thieves. They steal from old ladies, helpless ladies
stuck in elevators and working women. Not exactly a good set up
if we're supposed to like them. It's like learning your neighbor
is a chiropractor whose hobby is choreographed rollerblading and
then being ordered to hope she's happy in life. No fucking way.
if someone went into Criminal not thinking it was a "big
con" flick you may be surprised by the end. That is, if you didn't
fall asleep along the way. For all the backstabbing and alleged
twists, the movie is pretty damn dull. Part of that is because
the movie has no reason to exist beyond the twists. I sat there
so damn uninterested in the characters that I had no choice but
to guess the next turn the plot would take. Another part is that
this is just another movie where the plot drives the characters.
to Reilly for playing against type, but you know what? The guy
is just better at being a schlub than he is at being a shark.
Diego Luna is fine, but the character is sketched so fucking thin
he was more like Subway lunchmeats than a person I'd want to spend
any time with. Hell, I didn't want to spend any fucking time with
these people, and they've all done good movies before. I just
don't understand the reasons behind trying to make a movie solely
to surprise them at the end, especially when I have to sit through
nothing of interest for 90 minutes to get there.
And I'm also
confused by movies so hellbent on surprising us that they throw
out all logic that preceds it here. Criminal is a great
example of a movie that completely falls apart under closer inspection.
The movie tries so hard to get you thinking along one train of
thought that the conclusion makes no sense and completely destroys
any of the character development that is essential to believe
its own ending. It's just crappy, lazy "pow!" moviemaking
where the makers can jerk off for 95% so long as we get a pow
at the end. I bet M. Night Shymalan would like it, but I bet folks
like Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene and James M. Cain would want
to garrot the director.
One word about
the fucking assholes who make up the audiences at the Landmark
Esquire in Denver. I know I've complained about these pretentious
fucks before, but every time I go there the crowd stumps me with
some new display of smug self-reverence. During a preview for
John Sayles' latest obvious allegory for conservative greed and
corruption, these pompous fucks applauded tiresome jokes and then
actually congratulated each other for their political beliefs.
Apparently, this takes less energy than affecting change, and
it helps validate your opinion that you're a fucking genius too.
The last place I want to hear your political opinion is while
sitting in a movie theater Pat yourself on the back at home. If
you want to be heard, just vote, you assholes. Make the effort
and shut the fuck up. You make my ears bleed.
for the tepid Criminal and One for the self-serving
fucks at the Landmark Esquire.
Filthy || Want to tell Filthy