Sunday, November 27, 2011

American Beauty (1999)

Look at me! I'm so hot I make grown men drool!

Nominees: "Cider House Rules" "Green Mile" "The Insider" "The Sixth Sense"

He Said: American Perverts

I watched this one back when it first came out, it had a lot of buzz about it. Ultimately I was fairly disappointed by this supposed Oscar winner, I mean it was a good movie and all but not great and it was filled with all the high school love creepiness.

First off, sorry about the delay between reviews. We went on vacation for a couple weeks and did a lot of house/yard work. Then I was on call for an insane amount of hours and then other things took over our lives, including morning sickness, work, visitors, but hopefully now we will be back on a semi-regular basis again.

This was an interesting movie, but as I stated already, it was ultimately disappointing. It felt like a movie that I was supposed to understand on a more deep level, but I just didn't “get it.” At first it seems much like another Kevin Spacey movie, The Ref, at least for the first half, with the angry parents who hate each other and are emotionally separated from each other, and the angsty teenager that hates both parents and the parents who don't understand their teenager. Not sure how Spacey won for best actor, he seemed to play his usual character, the monotone somewhat emotionally distant character/spouse, we have seen this many times before, and although he may do it well it has gotten tiring by this point.

Directing was quite nice with very interesting angles, and pull aways, long frames, etc. but nothing to write home about. I guess I just don't get it and don't understand the movie or why it was apparently so good to have won the best picture Oscar.

As for the other pictures, The Green Mile was good, but not Oscar worthy in my opinion and the same goes for The Sixth Sense. The latter being more of a ploy of plot than an actual brilliant movie. I haven't seen either The Insider or Cider House Rules, but from what I have heard Cider House probably should have won. As for best actor, Denzel Washington got cut out for some unknown reason (possibly race) as his performance in The Hurricane was utterly amazing and beyond Spacey's performance in American Beauty by 1000 fold.

This review feels quite disjointed, and I apologize for that but I just couldn't get into the movie and understand, and part of this review was written some time ago and now I can't quite remember the movie very well. It had a predictable plot (we know who will turn out to be gay and who will die and how) about suburbanites and stock characters, so nothing special here. I think we can agree this was an interesting movie but shouldn't have won best picture, although not sure what should have won, perhaps just a poor movie year in 1999.

Next movie, A Beautiful Mind, we have already seen it so no big surprise ending for us this time around, I guess we will see if it truly is a great movie or just a great twist.

She Said: Pretty but pointless.

Okay, so it's all my fault. I'll admit it. First, I couldn't decide what I thought about this movie. Then I was too sick to remember what I thought about it. Then I forgot about it completely, and finally, i've just been too lazy. But with the next title looming over my head (not to mention the fact that it's now November), here I go:

Visually beautiful, but too predictable. Of course he doesn't actually sleep with her, and of course she's a virgin. Of course the wife has an affair. Of course the neighbors dad is a homophobe because he's gay. It all just seemed... too pat. I mean, I get the whole idea of the mid-life crisis and life not turning out the way you wanted it to, but really. Lots of peoples lives don't turn out they way they want them to, and they deal with it. I wish it had been... a little less pretty and more substantial. I don't really see that any of the characters dealt with their problems, and i felt no sympathy for any of them. They just let themselves get carried away with their issues, until finally going "Oh! My life sucks because I've messed it up. I guess I'd better do something about it"... The End. Without ever DOING anything.

And as for the dancing plastic bag, I must admit- I just don't get it.

PS: I've seen both "The Green Mile" and "The Sixth Sense" and both were better than this (though "The Green Mile" is WAY better as a book.

Verdict: The Academy was wrong.

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