October 24, 2005

David Versus What's His Name

After a movie binge day like the Cinecultist had on Sunday, it's tempting to look for patterns in the plots of the movies we watched. This may sound silly to you but with a double feature at the theaters of North Country and Good Night, and Good Luck, then Erin Brockovich on tv it's not hard to see the connection. As Julia Roberts playing Erin says in her movie, "it's like David versus what's his name." Underdog movies are popular fare with audiences and Academy Award voters alike and while it does throw into relief how much energy CC spends either working, eating, sleeping or sitting on our ass and not out there saving the world, they're still fun. It's the "wahoo, you get'em girl!" factor. Or "David Strathairn" factor as the case may be.

Regarding our journey into the North Country: that Charlize, she can really act. We never quite got around to seeing Monster but obviously we heard the buzz and now we can see of what she's capable. Similar to Brockovich with it's bad hairdos and single mom trying to make good theme, North Country will leave you quite freklemt as Minnesota miner Josey wages the first class-action suit against her bosses. Her kids are just so darn cute and the injustice leveled against her throughout her life, not just at this one job, can't help but break your heart. It might be tempting to feel a bit cynical about such an obvious ploy for your sympathies but Niki Caro's direction (the director of Whale Rider) is so assured there's no denying it.

Watching Good Night, and Good Luck, CC ended up in the very first row on the far left side and thus had that unfortunate neck crick viewing experience. The (back) pain we go threw for our love of le cinema! Good Night is a lovely looking movie, all tender blacks and greys. The Cloon looks mighty good in this palate as does the ever lovely David Strathairn and their performances, as well as the rest of the cast, is great. The only thing, and we hate to mention it, as the story of journalist Ed Murrow against Senator McCarthy is such an important one in our American history, but the movie is a touch boring. Shh, don't tell anyone we said so, but it's a bit like taking our vitamins. We know it's good for us, but the pacing, the spareness of the human subplots, the insistence on oh-so-arty b&w stock all feels a touch abstemious. Where's the wahoo moment? Where's the Erin Brockovich, kicking big energy's ass in the boardroom, making the suckers flinch moment? Good Night doesn't have this. It ends with a whimper rather than a hooray.

Not that this should detract from the rest of it's very solid filmmaking, but we like our underdog movies to have that triumphant end note. Then we can march out of the theater, with fire in our belly and a clear sense that the drivel we've been wasting our brain power on is so much fluff.

Posted by karen at October 24, 2005 8:51 AM