Monday, August 30, 2010

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Trick, Or Girl Number Five

So I've not talked about The Other Guys yet, and there's a very good reason: I've only seen it once. Many films only have to be seen once for you to know all there is to know about it (The Kids Are All Right is one of the year's best, obv). Adam McKay's films never work like that. They're always better on repeat viewings, which is why two years later, I regret not making room in my supporting actor picks for Richard Jenkins in Step Brothers (aggh, but over whom?). Like, I remember finding the majority if it funny, though lacking in most of the insanity that sets the Ferrell-McKay films apart from the crowd -- there's, like, a plot this time! But who knows? Maybe a second viewing will make me adore Mark Wahlberg's performance instead of being mildly irritated with it. Maybe I'll find Michael Keaton even funnier than I already do. Maybe I can learn the lyrics to "Pimps Don't Cry".

One thing I can say for sure, and this is something that the Walter who just got out of Ghost Rider years ago would never believe: Eva Mendes is the best part. Absolutely steals the show. And this is after her solid work in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call -- New Orleans. Has the world gone mad? Or did she Laura Linney me? That is, has she always been fantastic and I just now understand the way she operates? I don't know what it is, but I like it. And I like the movie, too. I think it's McKay's most accessible film to date, but I'm sure there'll be a lot of people who just can't get into it. That's fine, too.

You know what else I haven't talked about? Get Low, which I saw two weeks ago. I think it's because I don't know how to express my affection. It's a modest little film, with Robert Duvall as a hermit who wants to hold a funeral party for himself so he can hear the stories people tell about him. Bill Murray is the undertaker, in a quietly funny and subtly sad role that surprised me. Sissy Spacek is a gal Duvall's character used to know, and she's always great. Duvall, though, as the hermit with a secret, is just damn fine to watch. His expression barely changes, so one can easily accuse Duvall of just sleepwalking through the wall. But there's something else going on with his portrayal of Felix Busch, and when he gets his Big Scene near the end and we find out what that something else is, you're liable to feel a deep pang in your heart. It's a beautiful tale of redemption, and like Winter's Bone, one that'll probably haunt me for a while yet.


Andrew K. said...

Damn, you're scaring me now...and about Step Brothers, Mary Steenburgen's valiant attempts at making that passable are the only things I care to remember about that horrid thing.

Unknown said...

Nope... I'm 95% sure Marky Mark was the thing that stopped this flick from working. Too bad... it does touch on genius in several scenes (ie. Quiet Fight, Fish Eat Lion, etc.). And Michael Keaton deserves his career back.

Walter L. Hollmann said...

Andrew: I LOVE Step Brothers, and while I agree that Mary Steenburgen is absolutely incredible in it, for me Richard Jenkins is the real standout. The dinosaur monologue is hilarious in its dedication to insanity, and actually pretty meaningful. For me, anyway. If it helps, the Eva Mendes love scares me, too.

Caleb: That seems to be the consensus, I'm finding. There's something off about his performance. Like he gets the joke, but not exactly.