Demme's Rachel Getting Married bored the crap right out
my ass. I saw it without wearing a watch because mine gave me
a rash on my wrist. Then the rash started to ooze, so I to put
the Timex on eBay. Seeing a really fucking tedious movie about
New England WASPS and having no idea how much longer it lasts
is hell. Except, in hell someone is also rubbing your nuts with
sandpaper. Even if you're a girl. Satan gives everyone balls.
Married is a bad New Yorker short story come to life.
Now, I have a real soft spot for the The New Yorker.
I think it's a fucking brilliant magazine and the only one in
the world worth its purchase price. There are millions of words
in every issue, and most of them are correct. The magazine is
famous for its fiction, but the fiction mostly sucks ass when
it's not written by Junot Diaz or Leonard Michaels. Some of
it is slightly exotic stories of middle-class misery in India,
Africa or Japan. The New Yorker's stock in trade, though,
is boring-ass stories of New England WASPS very slowly discovering--through
some vague, revelatory minor action--that they are in suburban
of people is more over-represented in American literature than
New England WASPS. Maybe that's because those assholes go to
fancy East-coast colleges and take a lot of short-story writing
classes. Maybe it's because a shitload of pretentious college
kids want to be J.D. Salinger, and when they miss the mark they
land here. Probably, though, it's because New England WASPS
are the most self-involved pricks in the world. They think they're
problems are special and unique, that people give a shit whether
they're happy or not.
I sure don't. Which is the problem with Rachel Getting Married.
I never gave a shit because no matter how well acted it is,
it's nothing new and it's sort of self-pitying. Jonathan Demme
bases the story during the fancy wedding weekend of a vaguely
wealthy (they always are) family in Connecticut. Kym (Anne Hathaway)
is a recovering addict and sister to the bride (Rosemarie DeWitt).
She's let out of rehab for the weekend and comes home to a house
full of tense people and a doting father (Bill Irwin) scared
shitless that she is going to snort the wedding cake or mainline
the lambchops. Backstory reveals that her family once had a
boy child. In one of Hathaway's drug-addled hazes many years
before, she crashed a car and killed him. This left a melancholy
haze over the entire family, and Hathaway with enough guilt
to fill a temple.
Hathaway fucks up
the weekend and the extremely fragile peace that her father,
mother (debra Winger) and sister have made with the lost child.
She is self-centered and thinks everyone else should be as absorbed
by her sobriety as she is. When her sister announces that she's
pregnant, Hathaway is mad that the declaration interrupts an
argument she's having. She doesn't get stoned, but the movie
suggests that we're supposed to worry she might. Hell, I would
have been thrilled if she did. It would have given her something
to do. Which, I'm pretty sure, is exactly why people get stoned.
The movie ends with the lame vagueness of awful New Yorker
short stories that think profundity means leaving the characters
staring off into the distance with uncertainty. It's a high-brow
cliche, only pulled off well by Raymond Carver.
Married is full of really swell acting in search of something
interesting to do. Really, the acting, outside of Irwin, who
opens and closes his mouth like a Muppet, is outstanding. Hathaway
is going Oscar Commando here. She's dreaming of some glad for
the mantle and tries to look as awful as she can; cutting her
own hair, wearing no makeup; and acting ugly. And she's good.
The camera is dedicated to the actors, letting them live out
every thespian's wet dream of close-ups, talky dialog, small
motions and nervous insecurity. But powerful acting is like
green vegetables. A little goes a long way. After a while, all
the drama feels like it's for the sake of the people making
the movie, not the audience's.
The movie is shot
cinema verite style, I think on video. The intent is to make
it feel authentic. The camera wanders through the big colonial
house, across the yard, past the pool and into the wedding tent.
We're supposed to be a guest at the party. The problem is, weddings
suck ass, and the intimate details of them suck lower intestine.
Holy crap, if there is a more pointless, overblown event in
anyone's life I don't know what it is. They are usually a big
jerk-off fest for the bride, fueled by a million glossy magazines
and someone else's checkbook. Something to do for a few months,
planning a big-ass event that everyone will pretend is fun,
but nobody enjoys much unless there's an open bar. Spending
two hours at my own sisters' weddings was painful enough. Having
to sit through this one and not getting the hooch is pure torture.
Partly because I didn't like the people.
to be proud of his "eclectic" wedding, with Robyn Hitchcock
playing music, mutli-cultural participants, Indian decorations,
and an all-night dance party that really feels like it takes
all fucking night. To me it's all overblown and pretentious.
Demme must be in love with the idea that real life is full of
tedium. There is a ten minute scene where two men see who can
better fill a dishwasher. It wouldn't be interesting if your
dad and brother-in-law did it, and it's no more interesting
here. A rehearsal dinner takes for-fucking-ever. There are speeches
upon speeches, most of which add nothing to the story except
the idea that the guests aren't very original people. Music
is supposed to be an important part of this family, but I never
understood why. And the drawn-out displays of it feel like riding
in the car of some asshole who tells everyone how "into" music
It made me wish I had a watch. And it reminded how well the
New Yorker tells the same story in its fiction as it
does in its one-panel comics. It's just that one way is quick,
concise and not so in love with itself the way Rachel Getting
Married is. Man, if the economy gets any worse, we're all
gonna have to pitch in and help each other out. I sure as hell
ain't lending a hand for New England WASPs, though. All they've
ever done is take my time. Two Fingers.
to tell Filthy Something?