DJWriter
The blog of Chicago-based freelance writer David Johnsen.
Monday, November 08, 2004
 
Movies I Just Don't Understand
I don't watch many movies. In fact, my wife and I have seen only three movies in theaters since we met in 1997. Every so often she rents a movie or two, and after much arm-twisting, she gets me to sit and watch them with her. Last Tuesday she rented two of the supposedly best movies of last year, Lost In Translation and Mystic River. We finally watched them last night.

Lost In Translation was just goofy. Sure, the slices of Japanese culture were amusing, and Bill Murray was funny sometimes. On the other hand, it was just a sad and pathetic picture about unhappy people. If I wanted to see unhappy people, I would have taken a picture of myself on Wednesday morning. I won't complain about all the scenes of Scarlett Johansson in her underwear, though--I'll give it at least two stars for that and the cool song that was playing in the "gentleman's club" scene. Anyway, the worst part was the end. Without giving anything away, I'll say that Murray whispers something. We rewound the tape twice (no point having a DVD player to watch a dozen flicks a year), but we still couldn't figure it out. Perhaps more frustratingly, I could figure out the first few words and the last few words, but obviously the "meat" of his statement was the part in between. That was the icing on this absurd cake. It wasn't a bad movie, but I just didn't "get" it.

After a break to watch some depressing news on TV, it was time for Mystic River. When that movie was over, all I could say was, "Man, that's f***ed up!" I'll grant that the movie was shot well, and the characters were believable and well-developed. There were a number of interesting twists, although I figured out "whodunnit" long before my wife (which may not bode well for her chances of being a detective someday, but that's another story). Mystic River was "a tragedy of errors"--there were so many times when I expected a character to say something that would have cleared everything up, but those lines were never spoken. There were also some holes in the movie, places where I could have written the screenplay better. While I predicted the end result of the film, well, it was just f***ed up. It left me with a lot of questions and difficulty falling asleep.

I told my wife she should rent Mystic Pizza next time.

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