Sunday, December 9, 2007

Girl Crazy (I’m talking about movies here!)

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Since rejoining Netflix around 5 weeks ago, I've already seen 21 movies.  (Waitaminute, I've seen 21 movies?!)  I saw a good (but formulaic) story with Anthony Hopkins in "Fracture", and an excellent German film (based on East Berlin in the 80s during the height of the eavesdropping craze, "The Lives of Others").  But truth be told, I really haven't been that impressed--EXCEPT FOR THE FILMS WITH CRAZY WOMEN.

(Okay, that's not entirely accurate--I should say 'films with unbalanced women in some crazy situations'.)   But the thing is, these movies easily rate an 'A' in my book, which I don't hand out lightly.

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Lonely Hearts (2006)

I rented this to see James Gandolfini & John Travolta working together in a 1950s period piece; they were ok, but Selma Hayek was a knockout.   She plays a homicidal maniac who feels she's found the love of her life in a con-man she encounters (who just so happens to be on the brink of sanity himself--and willingly lets Selma push him over).  Sexy as ever, she's the very definition of a femme fatale;  she'd just as soon love you or slit your throat.  (Watching her sympathize with a young foreign widow for days, then tire of it and give her a gruseome poison was downright chilling.)  And when she tells her crazed lover "I want to have a baby..." you can only shudder.

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Waitress (2007)

Everything that 'Little Miss Sunshine' was acclaimed for (blech!) this movie DESERVED.  Keri Russell just does an amazing job here, playing a waitress in a 'Hot n' Cold Pie' restaurant who lives to make pies and fantasizes about leaving her husband--"the worst man on the planet".  (And oh boy, is he ever; I grimaced whenever he came on the screen.) 

But then she discovers she's pregnant.  She begins keeping a journal for her future baby, apologizing in advance for "not wanting you, damn baby, I hope someone gives you hugs like my mother did with me."  (Rest assured, the movie has a terrific ending, even better than you're hoping.) 

Her life is told thru different pies she creates (always shown being made in fast-motion).  She develops a crush on her doctor--and decides to take him one of her specialties.  When she arrives, he's out for the day & an older woman obstetrician is taking his place.  "Oh, you brought a pie?  What is it, pumpkin?"  Keri lowers her head & blushes.  "It's a Naughty Lovers Super Spice Pumpkin."   The doctors reaction had me on the floor.    

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The Dead Girl (2006)

Amazing.  Brilliant.  And bleak beyond compare.  I'm thankful I got to see this, but could never sit through it again.  Told in 5 chapters:  The Stranger.  The Sister.  The Wife. The Daughter. The Mother.  Each story of a separate woman in a painful existence, none of whom know each other, and how they all tie to the last story--The Dead Girl.  (played by Brittany Murphy, who has the character of a twentysomething junkie down to a science, she is that frightening, and that good.)  Throughout the entire film, you have this strange feeling of both 'impending doom' and real despair--I still can't figure out how it was pulled off.  Toni Collette returns to her roots here, as an overweight, troubled loner who finds a dead body in the field behind her house (which she shares with her handicapped, insanely abusive mother).  It only gets better from there.

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Bug (2007)

You have to give Ashley Judd some serious credit here; this one isn't for the faint of heart, and shows her in a pretty unattractive light.  (Without makeup thru the film, dirty, naked.)  Ashley plays a woman literally on the brink of sanity--she lives alone in a seedy, filthy hotel room; she fills herself up with various medications, and keeps her closet stuffed with old toys and dirty clothes--the remnants of a son that was abducted as a toddler a decade ago.

And then by unlucky coincidence, she meets Michael Shannon, a quiet man (who is already quite insane).  He's on the run (from no one); he believes the government used him as a guinea pig for breeding insects in people.   And not only does he convince Ashley of this delusion, but soon has her believing there's a reason why they met.  Her fall from sanity is complete--what happens then is (literally) shrieking terror.

And finally, Crazy Girl Movies that the critics warned were bad but I rented anyway because I was Girl Crazy for Halle Berry & Sandra Bullock: 

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I should've listened to the critics.

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