Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Two Independent films
Lars and the Real Girl (2007) received some good reviews, but Alan Smithee was afraid it would be too precious, so he avoided it. But Lars looked good enough for Alan Smithee to put in his Netflix queue, especially when he couldn't think of anything else.
When Lars works, it works because of Ryan Gosling's unwinking performance. It is at its best when the townspeople take Lars' Real Girl seriously as his girlfriend. But scenes such as one in which the Real Girl reads a story to a class of children border on the quirky and threaten to derail the central conceit. Ultimately, the film holds it together and, most importantly, entertains. Plus the doll was hot.
(500) Days of Summer (2009) received uniformly good reviews, which only demonstrates the biases of film critics. Structurally, the film is interesting. Alan Smithee admits to being predisposed to enjoying anything with Zooey Deschanel, but this film managed to make her creepy. Her Summer Finn would make Alan Smithee run very far away in search of anyone else. I blame the script, because I'm not capable of blaming Zooey, and because it was the script.
The film's message, that there's one Special Someone out there for each of us, may be true, but do we really want our films to have messages?