Tuesday, December 28, 2004

 

Holiday video rentals

There goes 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back

I watched The Clearing over the weekend. Robert Redford gets kidnapped, during which he and his estranged wife, Helen Mirren, realize they really do love each other. Willem Dafoe dials it down in the role of kidnapper. About halfway into the movie I realized that (1) it was irredeemably boring and vacuous but (2) I would nevertheless watch it until the end just out of curiosity to find out whether Robert Redford gets killed. I'd tell you and ruin the ending, except that that would imply that there was something worth ruining.

The movie does raise some interesting questions:

Will Robert Redford continue to have boyish, strawberry blond hair until his face finishes shriveling up like a raisin in the sun?

Willem Dafoe usually conveys the air of a tightly-wound psychopath simply by showing his ugly mug on screen. Is it "good acting" for him to appear mild-mannered and innocuous? Should he be bringing such a consistent mild-mannered and innocuous vibe to The Clearing when he's actually playing the role of a psychopathic kidnapper?

Helen Mirren and I are presumably aging at roughly the same rate of 12 calendar months each year. Sometimes I think she's a totally hot older woman, and other times, just an older woman. What's that about?

Life is too short to watch movies like The Clearing. Should I check reviews on "Rotten Tomatoes.com" before committing a couple of hours to a DVD? Rotthen Tomatoes did conclude that The Clearing was in fact "rotten," with about 55% bad reviews. But do I want to slavishly follow the "majority view" of movie critics? And if I spend about half an hour trying to make sense of all the conflicting reviews, doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose?




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