Saturday, June 17, 2006

More Movies

Took the daughters to see X-Men 3 at the local googleplex.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a big comic guy ... what's that? ... oh, uh, sorry, "graphic novel" guy. My interest in comics wore out with Richie Rich in the fourth grade. But I did see X-Men 2 -- sort of, anyway, I saw it in about 10 different pieces at different times on cable over the past couple of years -- and found it rather entrancing. Particularly Famke Janssen's hair. And bod.

Anyway, the point is that I was pretty primed to like this movie.

I didn't.

With the exception of brief shot of a nude, raven-haired Rebecca Romjin-(sic)-no-hyphen-no-Stamos, there wasn't a whole lot to like about it. Maybe the most interesting part of the movie was trying to remember who the Birdman of Alcatraz was (no kidding, he's a mutant bird-boy who swoops onto Alcatraz to save his father who's about to be hurled to a plummeting death). Turns out it was Russell from Six Feet Under. Of course.

Combine a wispy-thin plot with mind-numbing special effects, throw in a bedraggled-looking Famke (WTF? Why would you want to bedraggle Famke?) and the same fight scenes over and over and over and you wind up with a mess.

And that's X-Men 3.

On the little screen, we rented The Squid And The Whale. Still not sure about this one. My sense is that it's worth a couple of viewings (or more), but is so unrelentingly depressing that I could only make it through one by force of will.

Jeff Daniels plays essentially the same character he played in Terms Of Endearment, an English professor cum failed writer with a roving eye and an utterly annoying personality. Laura Linney is his newly ascendent writer wife who soon becomes his ex-wife. Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline play their increasingly troubled pair of sons, Walt and Frank.

Teenager Walt seems on a path to replicate all of his fathers worst traits -- deceitful, haughty and utterly lacking in humor. He improbably passes off a Pink Floyd song as his own at a school talent show, and when eventually confronted with his deceit he claims that he could have written the song, and thus it's as if he did write the song. Rationalizations which you could see Daniels' character make just as easily.

Younger Frank, on the other hand, seems on a path straight to hell. Swiggin' beers (later whiskey), cutting himself, cussing like a sailor on shore leave, etc., the kid is a complete mess and his parents (especially his father) just can't quite seem to see that.

Essentially a coming-of-age tale in the age of divorce -- it's said to be basically autobiographical of director Noah Baumbach and is set in the mid-80's -- it's numbingly depressing to know that there may be people like Daniels' character out in the world.


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