Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Cool, The Bad and Some Uncertainty Part II

Collectively, these movies have usurped a minimum-this doesn't include time spent wondering what the hell, of 4.82 hours. I'm fairly generous when it comes to giving credit for artistic expression even when the content doesn't appeal to me as a viewer, but these three just couldn't hold their own in any of the areas I feel a film needs to reel me in. Pun not intended, although it is fitting.

I caught the tail end of this film one evening on IFC upon which I saw William H. Macy and Bokeem Woodbine engaged in a prison love scene and I just had to see it. Both are fine character actors and I thought, how peculiar-this ought to be interesting. So I stayed awake to watch it the following evening and have since lived to regret the decision. This film, despite having an all star cast and a familiar storyline; mild mannered guy gets pushed beyond the brink of sanity-see: Falling Down. Edmond completely and painfully misses the mark.

The language is gratuitous, even for me. The characters- while fine actors, fail to build credible relationships in their on-screen interaction-Julia Styles goes from co-ed diner waitress into a wild sex/slasher scene with William H. Macy! What the?! Ultimately, the film takes an unfortunate, unintended comedic direction. It was so poorly made that I couldn't turn it off for fear that I'd miss a detail in trashing it in a later blog post.

Towelhead...hmm. It's taken a while for me to get my head around what it is about this film that I just could not take. It is based on a critically acclaimed novel-which I have not read, but the description of the novel is enough for me to deduce why it would work in print but sadly enough, it does not on screen.

Towelhead is a coming of age tale of a young Lebanese girl who is sent to live with her father because her mother feels she has, is, ugh-well was seducing her beau. The film follows Jasira, through the transition from life with her aloof mother to one with an overbearing, controlling father. There are some very minor (In screen time, certainly not importance.) cultural identity crises which arise during the film, but not enough to warrant the title. (Which lured me in-another reason I feel like such a fool). In short the film played- for me, like an unfunny, more offensive, culturally exploitative, female character led version of Porky's and the like. (Harsh, huh?)

Chop Shop...sighs-when bad film happens to great actors. I wanted to like this film so badly, I really tried to find some deep metaphoric excuse, er um meaning to the mundane madness, but could not. Alejandro Polanco, Isamar Gonzales are uber-talented young actors; well cast in their roles as homeless, parentless children hustling the streets of an Eastern Queens,Willets Point-also known as the Iron Triangle. Not even the nostalgia and mystique of an area I am familiar with could make this film work.

Chop Shop attempts to weave the tale of siblings, Ale and Izzy as they feverishly and with as much futility try to overcome the short hand they've been dealt. Ale works the chop shop whilst Izzy serves up Latin dishes, and an occasional act of prostitution. The two are trying to raise enough funds to convert an abandoned truck into the mobile food service empire that will change their lives. That's it-they work and sweat and live and love through nearly 2 painful hours. This movie and their lives take off like a car on cinder blocks.

So yeah, these are the worst films I've seen this year. Have you any duds you wish to warn me of, or have you seen any of these and think I've got it all wrong? I'd love to hear from you.



Hey Harriet said...

Gosh I must be living under a rock as I've not even heard of any of these films! Pity about Towelhead being a dud because I loved American Beauty and the Six Feet Under series. I'm also a big fan of Toni Collette. Sigh. Based on this review I think I'll avoid it. Thanks for the heads up!

Better luck with your next movie marathon :)

Ms. Bar B: said...

Doesn't it just suck when films suck!? Lol.

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

The only film of these I'd heard of was Towelhead (heard, not seen). It's a shame that it didn't deal more forthrightly with cultural issues. I worked in a school with a growing Moslem population, and the girls seemed to take the brunt of the cultural issues. It was always walking a fine line talking to them about their frustrations...

fly tie said...

"It was so poorly made that I couldn't turn it off for fear that I'd miss a detail in trashing it in a later blog post."

now that's funny.

i always liked seeing julia styles in films. don't think i'd like to see her in that role, though.

i haven't seen any of these, but now i'm wanting to just to see what you're talking about...

shiborigirl said...

Wow, I admire your dedication as far as watching the movies so you could tell us how bad they were! I'm disappointed in Edmond, I would have like to have seen that, just because I adore Wm H Macy and that fine piece of man-candy: Joe Montegna. Now, I think I'll spare myself from the experience.

Jeez, as far as duds I could tell you about, well, there have been So Many. And I've tried really hard to wipe my mental tapedecks afterward that I can't think of the names or plots off-hand. But I shall try... I'll get back to you on that.


Anonymous said...

Since I never heard of any of these movies I can't really speak about them. But I will say, I've watched bad movies in their entirety solely based on the fact that it could get better. Unfortunately, it never does. I try to avoid stinky movies at all cost. The one movie that I can think of is The Compass..and the Lion(?) or Polar Bear(?) not sure of the name but I do know that it was terrible. It did star Nicole Kidman( that should have been my first clue...). Ack, I not only want my money back but I want to recoup the time wasted on that garbage.

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