Hairspray - I had forgotten how much fun the original John Waters’ movie is! And how musical it is without being a real musical. He uses so much great 50s and 60s dance music that it feels like it’s a musical. I loved Ricki Lake and Divine and even the smaller roles had great actors like Jerry Stiller as Tracy’s dad and Deborah Harry as Amber’s mom. I have to admit I preferred the cast of the new movie. I can’t help it! The fact is that Waters had no money to get the big cast back then. He shot on location in his native Baltimore with actors he could afford. Head Honcho and I joked that he probably spent most of his budget on licensing the music! Another difference that I think improved the second movie: the fleshing out (no pun intended!) of Edna Turnblad. I liked that the new movie made her housebound for years so that Tracy’s coming out was hers as well. As her daughter blossomed, so did she. I think that added a lot of depth to her character.
Smokin’ Aces - this SHOULD have been a great movie. What an awesome cast: Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck (briefly), Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Matthew Fox (briefly)…action from the get-go. It was just scene after scene of great action - or preparation for action. So what happened? In the denouement of the story, things get massively complicated. So complicated in fact, that Head Honcho and I had to stop the movie and talk about it. We were like wha??? And it didn’t need it. That’s the killer part. It could have stopped just after the revelation that [SPOILER ALERT] Buddy was Primo’s son and Primo actually wanted Buddy’s real heart for a transplant. It would have been awesome if all the killers had merely misinterpreted the hit. Also, [ANOTHER SPOILER], many of the hit men were shown to have survived the big attack at the end - but then NONE of them were used! Unforgivable! If you show the gun, you gotta use it.
Children of Men - What a bleak and horrible future we live in, to quote Homer (Simpson). I didn’t think I’d like this movie much, seeing as how it’s quite a downer but I was really impressed. Poor Clive Owen had to run around in a pair of flip-flops for much of it. He was, in a word, amazing. My friend Yooli has always had a huge crush on Clive and with good reason: he’s a great actor AND he’s super sexy. My only complaint? I wish they had given at least some explanation for why the women were infertile. Was it chemical? Biological? The natural order of things? Mike Judge’s excellent and underrated Idiocracy posits a future in which only the stupid have children because they don’t consider the consequences as smarter people do. But I don’t think that’s what this movie is about. And fyi, the director, Alfonso Cuaron, also did Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I think was the best of all of them so far.
So that was the Netflix weekend. Wonder what treats the queue will bring us this week?
Your Hollywood connection,