Best of the PPL’s “Wilson” and “Happy Tears”

Whatchu Talkin’ bout Wilson? I wanted to title my post this, but worried in our overly pc culture that people wouldn’t get the reference from the old television show Different Strokes.

Wilson, based on the graphic novel by Daniel Clowes and directed by Craig Johnson, was irreverent and funny. Woody Harrelson can do no wrong in my book and continues his excellency here. Laura Dern (why the long face?) was not as believable, but then again, I always think she’s just miserable. Evidence? Artifact one: Certain Women, Two: Founder, just to name some recent films. Has she been typecast? I know she’s in my favorite comedian of all time (today, admittedly fickle) Bill Burr‘s F is for Family, but here again she plays the long suffering wife of the 1973 set racist Archie Bunker-like husband.

What I disliked about Wilson was the gratuitous violence. In three scenes the violence was too close and too long. I don’t need to see and hear Cheryl Hines punched in the nose, it’s just not necessary. Likewise, don’t need to see Woody beaten to a pulp, but not really harmed (ridiculously unrealistic and we wonder where people get their violent ideas?!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Anywho, on to my mission to see more Parker Posey, I borrowed Happy Tears from 2009 written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein. I really enjoyed this, so much so that I bought it on Amazon for my brother for Christmas (shh, don’t tell him) because the dad in the flick (played by Rip Torn) reminded me of my Dad. Not only was Parker Posey good, but Demi Moore was perfect as her sardonic sister and Ellen Barkin hit it out of the park as the crack whore masquerading as the father’s girlfriend (and no, that’s not the commonality with my dad: he does not date a crack addict).
The only thing wrong with Happy Tears is the subplot with the artist husband of Parker, could easily have been excised and still been a worthy endeavor.

Next on my PPL list are two older films The Lost Weekend, a Barry Rothman request, and The Secret of Success.

Columbus, Docked Just Shy of the New World

Ok, I know Columbus, the new movie by relatively new(?) director Kogonada, has nothing to do with Native American destroyer Christopher Columbus, but the analogy of C.C. not quite going the distance to make it to the new world, fits perfectly with Kogonanda’s film being so close to greatness that it’s almost painful.

Columbus is actually about Columbus, Indiana which I am so excited to have learned is a mecca for architecture. I’ve not been exposed to building design instruction, but I appreciate beautiful homes and buildings enough that I am making it a goal to become schooled on the wealth of architectural wonders right here in Sarasota.

With this gorgeous motif as its setting, Columbus (the movie) has a cast just as luminous. First, there’s one of my top ten actresses of all time: Parker Posey. I have loved and seen Parker Posey in most of her films but her tiny role in Columbus just compelled me to request two former films from Selby Library, MORE PARKER NEEDED:) Parker reminds me of my clumsy, but endearing self (or at least the latter’s my hope for what people see in me).

Another excellent actor in Columbus is John Cho (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar) who was superb as the long suffering son of an aloof architectural aficionado. The other two standouts were Haley Lu Richardson (equally good in Edge of Seventeen and The Bronze) and Rory Culkin (who I really need to go back n my posts and see what I praised him for-could it be Lymelife? He was just a little kid, but had that glow akin to Ethan Hawke in Dead Poets Society).

SO the acting was excellent, the direction interesting, many scenes shot from peoples’ backs or through angles (in a reflection of a mirror, from a hallway), so what gives, you ask? Well, it’s all in the pacing. Meditative is fun, but clunky leads to dropping anchor before you hit the shore.

I still recommend Columbus, just be prepared to swim a ways.

Woody Allen’s The Irrational Man, surprisingly not ‘The Donald’s Story’

Parker

I went confidently to Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’, thinking, Joaquin and Parker Posey could save any movie. Ugh, except this one. Woody, you need a retirement intervention, focus on your clarinet.

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but when a brand new recliner seat can’t save me from fidgety ennui, I’ve got to speak the truth. Let me be a role model for Mr. Trump in being frank; just state the facts man, no insults needed.

Most scenes were first, acted out, then separately narrated to jazz music. Yes, I get it, Joaquin’s character is nihilistic. Yes, I get it, Emma Stone has a father fixation on her professor. Yes, I get it, her boyfriend is the ‘nice guy’ who’s going to finish last for awhile.

Parker Posey literally had to hide her beautiful quirkiness amidst the bored desperation of an unhappily married professor. Please someone give this woman a script! Let her last great film not be the satirical “Best in Show”.

On Marc Maron’s podcast interview with Parker, she was told it was ok to improvise. When she did she reported that W.A. screamed something to the effect of no, terrible.