Thursday, February 09, 2006

American Beauty

Director- Sam Mendes (Jarhead, Road to Perdition)

I was dissapointed. I so fondly remembered this movie from when I was in high school, when I was excited to go see it in the theaters because people had said this was the movie of the year. At the time I remember being overwhelmed by the quality of the movie and the effect it had on me for the way in which it skewered and attacked the suburbs in which I had grown up.

Watching it again last night, I was underwhelmed. Perhaps its because I am being carefully trained to see traditional modes of resistance and think about their banality, I think that Spacey's disruptive moves are pre-ordained and easy to see. I am left thinking that the kid next door with the video camera is doubly useless (creepy AND pretentious). Am I just wrong?? Help me.


Blogger paroske noted on 2/09/2006 12:56:00 PM that...

(1) Well of course they are easy to see; you've already seen the movie.

(2) Even if they are predictable, are they powerful? Just becuase a character does something that we saw coming, that could be the product of a good performance and good writing. Actions that seem completely natural for a charachter to make (like an emasculated suburbanite reclaiming his identity) are great. Everything doesn't have to be twists and turns. You may think it banal, but predictability should not be an indict.

(3) The kid is creepy.

(4) I haven't seen it since it came out either, so you may be right.


Blogger Omri noted on 2/24/2006 03:50:00 AM that...

I'm not going to number my arguments like Marcus - because ordinal categorization is a hegemonic way of constraining knowledge, and I don't want a piece of that. Also, points to PJ for using "banal" in the same sentence as the phrase "carefully trained to see traditional modes of resistance" without actually having "banal" be the description of said phrase. Not really, but irony and sarcasm are ways of resisting the violence of literal meaning, and that sounds pretty sweet.

Anyway, this is a dec movie. Not BME obviously, but not everything can be Antigone (another work in which, incidentally, the audience is clued into what all the characters are going to do). But it's solid - you get some tears, couple hot chicks, few jokes, a just-missed chance for salvation, etc. Maybe the movie is overrated, but it takes care of business.

And yes, that kid is creepy. But mostly in that "I bet that he justifies his child molestation and pet mutilation by talking about power and resistance" kind of creepy.  

Blogger ronvon2 noted on 2/24/2006 05:35:00 PM that...

Talk about hegemony. Using Antigone as an examplar. How wedded are we to the Western Canon?