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This week:

The Low Down
The Tailor of Panama

Filthy says:
"Boredom or apathy, take your pick."

For those for you hoping to see a Freddy Got Fingered review, forget it. I'm no psychologist, but it seems to me that the best thing to do with someone like Tom Green--who tries so hard to get attention--is to ignore him. Otherwise, he's just more desperate the next time.

Sometimes I wake up at noon and it's dark outside, snowing in April, and I don't want to get out of bed. For the first few minutes, when I can hear Scooter tearing up Mrs. Filthy's fancy quilted pillow in the living room, I figure the world isn't going to be any worse off if I just stay in bed. If I don't get up, some other asshole can un-alphabetize the new Steven Seagal shelf at First American Video, some other low-wage idiot can rewind "Chariots of Anal Action" (by the way, porn renters never are kind enough to rewind). Dipshit Suzanne can threaten to fire someone else for having alcohol on his breath, and the neighbor kids can point at someone else's apartment and say "that weird guy lives there."

On these days, I don't want to be dead and I don't feel depressed. I'm just bored, and I wish something interesting would happen to me. I wish that while I lie there in bed, some fucker will break in and try to rob me, but I'll wrestle the gun away from him without even getting out of bed and become a town hero. Or, a car will drive right through my wall and the newspaper will come and take pictures and quote me saying I was just sleeping when "Wham!" Anything to break the monotony.

But that shit doesn't happen, and if I fake being sick to skip again Dipshit Suzanne will can my ass. So, on those days, I go to work and count off the minutes, waiting for work to be over so I can go home and drink Schlitz until I lose track of the minutes, and then pass out and time will pass without me counting off the minutes. And I hope that the next day is the day some jackass drives his car into the apartment.

The exceptions are the days I go to the movies. Yes, the movies usually suck, but even when they do I am still in a theater, in the dark, and I have paid someone to entertain me. It's the closest thing I'll ever have to being rich fat cat, one of those guys who can afford dwarves and strippers all the time. I can sit back and wait, and if the movie sucks, I can be self-righteously indignant. I paid those fuckers to take my mind off the clock for a few hours, and they let me down. It gives me an opportunity to blame someone else for my miserable, insignificant little life. And it's easier to get pissed at the jerks in Hollywood than my dogs, even though I have often tried to pay them to entertain me. Honestly, as hilarious as it sounds, dogs running around wearing Mrs. Filthy's knee-hi's and with dollar bills in their collars is only funny for about a half-hour.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I wandered into the movies this past Friday looking for entertainment but got my boredom thrown back at me by a bunch of Limeys. The Low Down is not really a story, it's what real critics call a "pastiche" or a "set-piece." Of course, real critics are so fucking smart they don't need a plot. The Low Down is sort of the younger brother of Slacker who takes a lot of Zoloft.

Aidan Gillen is Frank, a man in his twenties with a menial job and a menial existence. He knows it, but has no idea how to break out of it. He spends his time bouncing aimlessly from one diversion to the next, always trying to ignore the fact that he's bored out of his fucking skull. He has a vague plan to move out of his flat and buy his own place, but he's afraid to do that. His broker agent is Kate Ashfield, a pretty fucking hot freckled chick. She might have a fat ass, though (that's not part of the plot, just my observation). Rather than buy a property, he starts screwing Ashfield, even though he's not sure that's such a great idea, either. And so it goes, as he muddles his way through, keeping silent when faced with an argument until his one friend, a slacker's slacker, has the balls to tell the truth about their pointlessness. And just like a smart-mouth at the Arvada Tavern, he gets the shit kicked out of him. These people would rather bury the truth than face it because it's too fucking frightening.

The movie's beauty is how natural it is. You get a very real sense of ennui from these people, and it's not in what they say, but what they don't say. When Hollywood attempts to tackle the confusion of people in their 20s, we end up with Reality Bites, a movie where every fucking character has to say every three minutes "Oh, I'm so confused. Look at me, I am totally confused and in my 20s." But The Low Down gets this point across without beating us over the head. It's in a character's eyes, the camera's movement, how he doesn't answer a question when confronted, or how Gillen kicks a soccer ball around his bedroom when Ashfield wants sex. It feels natural and lets you get close enough to these people to feel what they feel. Rather than root for these people, it's easy to identify and say "that's how I feel too." But it doesn't make you feel better, just not so alone.

The acting is excellent. Gillen is so fucking handsome and charming that I sure as hell won't take Mrs. Filthy to see this. Yet, he's also almost unlikable because he is so frozen in fear, and so quick to blow up. His performance is just swell at portraying the quiet man who keeps it all bottled inside until, sometimes, he has to just blow his stack. And not in a constructive way. It's sort of like how I got really pissed at the Arvada Tavern because they always had peanuts but never Beer Nuts. I didn't say anything, but you know, it just started to really bug me and then I started getting really pissed, until the one day I went in there and they still didn't have the fucking Beer Nuts so I put my fist through the jukebox. It seemed like a really smart move at the time, but looking back, it didn't solve the problem. The Goddamn Tavern still doesn't have Beer Nuts.

But the movie is long. It's maybe 100 minutes, but it feels like three hours, and the points it has to make could be made as effectively a lot quicker. The length makes it feel self-indulgent, like Thraves is really in love with this idea of people in their 20s who don't know what to do. Really, though, he's treading well-worn ground. He's just doing it better than most. Of course, if the movie were shorter, that would just have left me more time to sit at home and wait to get sleepy. Three Fingers for The Low Down.

I also saw The Tailor of Panama. Geoffrey Rush and Pierce Brosnan are very good, if both unredeemable, and not in a fun way. The problem is that I can't help but think of my favorite Graham Greene novel, Our Man in Havana. Greene's novel is about a vacuum salesman in Bautista's Cuba who the English mistake for a spy. They pay him so much money for information he can't refuse but make up crazy stuff to keep the cash coming. And his lies eventually cause an international panic. The Tailor of Panama is about a tailor (Rush) who, when offered gobs of money, can't resist making up lies for the English government. His lies, of course, eventually cause an international panic. The movie is funny in that it shows that spies have to make up shit now that the Cold War's over. It's not very original, though, and it's sterile and unconvincing. Ultimately, we're supposed to root for Rush, but it's hard to because he's a liar and he's sold out his friends, only to get a spine far too late. Besides, the whole thing was Greene's idea. Three fingers for this one too.

Fuck, I wish it was bedtime.

Oh, yeah, the script. A draft is done. Now it's all about the editing. I need to add more slutty sex scenes and remove the musical numbers. And no, you can't read it. Not yet.

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