Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Monday, September 15, 2014
But it has also left me with a great deal of thanks to him for brightening my days with laughter and for making me think a little bit when he turned on the drama. While films like Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting showed us his vast dramatic acumen, there are other films of his that showcased his complex talent for bringing emotion to life on the screen.
One of these overlooked gems is One Hour Photo.
Sy Parrish is a middle-aged photo tech at a big box chain store (think Wal Mart) called Savmart. On the surface, Sy seems like your ordinary store clerk, just trying to get through his day so he can get home to the wife and kids. But look deeper. You soon learn that Sy leads a pretty pathetic life, a solitary existence in which he is more likely to heat up a tv dinner for supper and sit around watching reruns of Barney Miller. There is no wife. There are no kids. There's not even a cat. Unfortunately, Sy is more reclusive and introverted than you think. He is also one fry short of a happy meal. His job at Savmart is all he lives for. Well, that and the Yorkin family.
The Yorkins, Will (Michael Vartan), Nina (Connie Nielsen) and their nine year old son Jake (Dylan Smith) are Sy's favorite customers. He lets them know this when they come to the Savmart but not in an overly obvious way. He takes their order and comments on things that happen in their lives, even going as far as to give Jake a "free" throwaway camera for his birthday.
But Sy takes it a bit further than that. He lives vicariously through them as he develops all their photographs and secretly makes copies of each picture for himself.
In one of the creepiest moments in the film, we see just what he is doing with all those photos. He has wallpapered his entire wall with their lives. The Yorkins remain unaware of Sy's psychological problems and when Nina and Jake often drop film off they make polite conversation and seem only mildly rattled when Sy seems to remember key elements of their lives, brushing it off by reminding them that he takes great pride in developing their pictures. Jake even feels empathy for Sy, admitting that "Sy the photo guy" seems very sad and that he doesn't think he has anyone that loves him.
Sy attempts to involve himself matter-of-factly into their lives by doing things like showing up at the mall where Nina shops to run into her and chat, buying Jake a toy he notices him admiring, and happening upon Will in the hardware department of the store to see if he can help him even though it's not his section. He implants himself gregariously, even imagining scenarios in which he enters their home and is showering, making dinner, and watching television until the Yorkins get home and time stops - and then they laugh and joke with "Uncle Sy". It's all very unsettling when you realize just how sad and potentially alarming Sy's behavior is.
When Sy develops some photos which show Will and another woman very obviously having an affair, this sends Sy over the deep end - and that is when things get scary. Sy begins to envision scenarios in which he confronts Will, and even easily sets it up so that Nina gets her hands on the incriminating photos. Meanwhile, Sy's work suffers and his boss (played with flavor by Gary Cole) notices the photo count is way off base. Questioning him about where all the extra photos are, he ends up firing him when Sy denies taking the pictures.
When Sy finally snaps, it is the same time that the police become involved, leading to a show-down of sorts that goes in unexpected ways you won't see coming. There is nothing loud or demonstrative about this film, but its quiet doom is malignant.
Robin Williams was a true talent, and is no different here. His Sy is so incredibly unnerving - so foreboding, that it almost feels possible to understand how someone could be depressed enough to do something completely out of sorts. If I'd have seen this film before Williams' suicide, I think I'd have felt the same way, but this is such a clear picture of a desperately lonely man that it almost feels like I took a peek into reality - and what I saw was melancholy, somber, and most of all troubled. I don't want to say that Robin Williams was able to easily emulate the character of Sy because of his own growing despondency, but in watching One Hour Photo, it is there. It is just....there. I would like to choose to believe he's just that good of an actor....but everyone puts a little bit of themselves into a role. Here, it felt like a lot.
Regarding the film, whether or not it showcased true emotions peeking through is not for me to say. What I will say is that this is a great movie about a very lonely individual who let the lines of reality blur, causing him to shatter his existence as he knew it and fade into someone else's life. It's a portrait of depression, isolation, and heartache whose final act only lays bare these facts: there are people out there that no matter how kind you are to them, they are not living based in reality - and someday they are going to crack. We just need to either be aware and try to help, or stay the hell out of their way before they turn into a sociopath.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
The Originals are exactly what the name implies: THE originals. Ancient vampires who were the first of their kind, created centuries ago by a witch mother anxious to save her children from death. The Mikaelson family currently consists of five siblings, three of which factor heavily into the plot-lines of The Originals:
Klaus (People's Choice Award Winner for Favorite Actor in a new series, Joseph Morgan) showed up first on TVD, wreaking havoc in Mystic Falls. He is a very powerful, VERY headstrong hybrid (half vampire, half werewolf) due to an affair his witch mother had with a werewolf. He returns to New Orleans seeking to reclaim his power and control over the city, all the while trying to protect his unborn child - a product of his own coupling with a werewolf - Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin). To gain control of the city he will need to thwart the domination his former the very sexy yet fierce Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) has over all the supernaturals and humans alike in NOLA.
When you factor in a coven of witches, more vampires and werewolves than you can shake a (sharp) stick at, and some plain 'ol humans to up the ante, you've got an entertaining show rife with violence, battles between good and evil (and evil & evil, natch!), romance, and of course, a whole lot of bloodshed.
The Originals: Season One (from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group) was just released on DVD Sept. 2 and awards us with not only the entire 22-episode season, but with some great special features, including 5 new featurettes - one of which details the origins of creating the spin-off series and another which lends more light on the Mikaelson family's complicated back-story. Of course it has commentary, deleted scenes, and also boasts some highlights from the 2014 PaleyFest! You have just enough time to binge watch the entire series before its Season Two premiere on Monday, October 6. I really have to say this DVD is an awesome package and you won't be disappointed.
Just so you know, it's not necessary to have watched The Vampire Diaries to start watching this show. It stands alone with its own mythology and story-lines. It's super-sexy while still staying true to vicious and savage vampire lore.
I'm psyched for Season Two! Get sucked in!
Friday, September 5, 2014
These are the kinds of films I want to watch - ones I seek out because I don't know a damn thing about them then one day they just pop up on my radar.
I would have to admit it's one of the better films I've seen all year, and it will be tough to beat.
Macon Blairappears lost, somehow. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense. His eyes show a sense of personal wreckage. Something unspeakable has already happened to Dwight to plunge him into this life of vagrancy.
Unfortunately in the heat of the moment, Dwight runs out but forgets his car keys inside the bar. Forced to steal the Cleland family's car (which is a limo for whatever reason). He heads for his estranged sister's house but meets her in the driveway. The two are soon sharing lunch and Dwight breaks down, admitting he has killed Wade. Turns out his sister ends up quite happy that the man who killed her parents is dead, which only brings Dwight to the realization that the Cleland's haven't went to the police. She didn't know. It's not on the news. No one is aware. Meaning they have decided on retribution on their own terms. He urgently orders his sister and her family out of town, shaves off his scraggly beard, cleans up, and looks like a sixth-grade teacher when all is said and done. He looks up an old high school pal who obviously has access to a whole pile of guns, and settles in for the long haul, awaiting the Cleland's attempt at revenge.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Monday, September 1, 2014
First, a word of warning: IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE SERIES FINALE YOU WILL WANT TO COME BACK WHEN YOU HAVE. There are spoilers galore coming right up. There is also a whole lot of rambling. Don't say I didn't warn you....
There has been a ton of controversy about the final season, let alone the final episode of the campy, over-the-top paranormal horror/fantasy show. I've had over a week to think about it and have decided I'm okay with the way they ended things. Some of it was a bit rushed (i.e. Jessica and Hoyt getting married? He barely remembers her!), and some of it was downright ridiculous (giving Sarah Newlin such a prominent chunk of the last season? WTF!?), but I understand why it went the way it did.
Herein lies the ultimate question on True Blood. How can darkness and light co-exist without the inevitable, insurmountable laundry list of problems and complications? How would a vampire and a faery (because let's not forget Sookie was part fae) carry on as a traditional couple? It's not like they could jump in the car and take the kids to Chucky Cheese after church, you know? And though vampires are out of the coffin in the show's premise, it feels more likely that a vampire would want to stick to what he knows, and what he could imagine a life being without the sun, with another of his kind in the best case scenario.
More about Sookie and Bill later.
At least we have the knowledge that real-life "Sookie and Bill" got their happily ever after with Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer hitched with kids, and sunlight.
So after all this ranting, I just have to say thanks to HBO for such a crazy-ass show that I could just sit down and watch on Sunday nights, throwing all my real-life trials and tribulations to the wind, and just enjoy for the campy, vampy, guilty pleasure it was!