Author Topic: Top 100 Club: Sandy  (Read 4189 times)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #170 on: March 02, 2019, 01:14:30 AM »
Benny & Joon (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1993)



The Oceana Roll! :)) It doesn't get better than this!



... Except for this!




ah, well. Back to the review.

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This feels very representative of a certain brand of 90s American indies which lead into the 2000s idea of the Sundance movie: a comedy with dramatic elements and lot of quirkiness, preferably the type that appeals to cinephiles. It's probably unfair of me to think of this film as part of that category, seeing as this is neither an indie nor a Sundance movie technically, but it fits that mold so well, it's possible it played a role in defining it.

Maybe it IS the protopunk of this brand. Messy and too quirky by half! :)

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I... did not care for this film, at all. None of these characters ever felt like people to me: Depp is doing his mid-90s Depp thing, Masterson is doing mental illness as a quirk, and Aidan Quinn is perpetuating the proud tradition of the bland, milquetoast protagonist. A charitable view would see him as the "straight man", but that would imply he's enhancing the comedic performances around him, which I didn't find to be the case at all... in general, the film's tone felt very strange to me, as it often can in these types of stories. The plot elements are... ridiculous ? Depp ends up living with our protagonists because of a poker bet ? I guess we're supposed to see that as whimsy and cute, but really everyone involved should probably go to prison just for that. There's also the idea of the group home, which Aidan Quinn decides to send his beloved sister too after suddenly realizing that he doesn't have a life because of her... is this the first time this thought has occured to him ? I guess we're not supposed to think about any of this too much, because the screenplay does not acknowledge any concept of the characters existing outside of the exact role they play here: nothing exists outside of what's on screen.

I can't argue with any of this! I really can't. The implausibilities abound! I do like Quinn's quietness though. Or, it could be that I just like Quinn in general and forgive him much. :)

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What is on screen is Johnny Depp doing terrible silent comedy routines. Yes, Chaplin and Keaton were great. That's nice and all, but their comedies had some sort of point to them, some wit. We're supposed to be wowed by Depp's public performance, and he does commit - I'll give him that - but to me it seems that the character (and, given how the film treats it, the screenwriters) understand nothing about what made those silent comedies work. For example, there's a bit where Depp's hat is moving all on its own, and Depp is chasing after it. Why... why is the hat moving ? I guess Depp is making it move, but how does that make sense ? If this were a Keaton gag, you'd have an actual reason (like a mouse trapped under it or something), which would give both the performer and the audience something to react to, as opposed to just watching someone do a trick. Maybe I missed something in there, but all of Depp's bits fell flat to me, which may also be due to the wacky "are we having fun yet?" score accompanying them.

I guess I can see how this may all be endearing and charming if you got on its wavelength... but I didn't.

2/10

Yes, you're absolutely right. Unless it captures your fancy, it won't be entertaining in the least. I'm a big fan of Rachel Portman and her score for this film, but if you weren't having fun, the music must have driven you nuts!

Not to persuade in any way, but maybe to process my own feelings about the film, I'll see what I come up with...

Way back in 93 (Were you born yet? :) ), Johnny Depp was magical in a strange undefinable way. Now he's a caricature of himself, so it's hard to go back to when his acting was new and surprising. He mesmerized. It also didn't hurt that he was older than me and shockingly handsome. :)  I think of James Dean and his strange, charismatic presence and wonder what our collective opinion of him would be now, had he lived a long life. Would he too have turned into a caricature of himself?

As smirnoff has penned (and is a TM as far as I'm concerned), I had an abundance of goodwill towards the film, because of it's freshness and whimsy. It was playful in a way I hadn't seen before and it was a look into mental illness which was far more immersive than what I had seen portrayed. Yes, very flawed and perhaps too "quirky," but at the time it felt like a step forward. I must admit, I do tend to try and not think too much when watching the film. It's the type of movie where my critical lens gets checked at the door. :)



Thanks for giving it a shot, though!
"I'm a new day rising."

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #171 on: March 02, 2019, 01:25:20 AM »
There's not much to listen to, a couple of notes here and a few piano pieces at some key moments, but for the most part it's ambient sound with a bit of a hollow quality. Which is what I actually like. I dislike films that constantly use the score to tell you how to feel, and that's unfortunately most of them, it's always a breath of fresh air when a film trusts it's actors and the material to do the heavy lifting. It fits well with the visual design which is a bit drab and plain, but not boring and has some flourishes. The camerawork on the visual side and the sound of wind and rain on the sound side.

Ah! That's why I couldn't remember the sounds! :D Subtlety is a very underused musical choice. When I see the film again, I will pay close attention.

John Williams and Bernard Herrmann must be particularly frustrating for you! :) They can't let any emotion go by without great big musical cues.

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I like your review of the book. I also laughed at DH's comment, dismissive though it may be.

haha! I just read that too. I can't really blame him though. I had just dismissed a book of his that was near and dear to his heart.
"I'm a new day rising."

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #172 on: March 02, 2019, 02:11:51 AM »
Summer Stock
That was disappointing. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. It was just there. Garland and Kelly were about as good as they usually are, which for me is steady and reliable but not exciting. The supporting cast doesn't add much though, and a film really doesn't need two bumbling fool comic relief guys (I'd prefer none, but I'll abide one, in this case I'd choose Bracken because at least his character serves a real purpose). Some numbers are fine, some are merely ok, but there's nothing that stood out to me. The story also kind of sputters through with what we're told are big stakes, but they never feel that way.
Probably should have watched Jane Eyre, but I was in the mood for something light.

The highs and lows of the top 100 club! I'm sorry you didn't end the month with Persuasion. :)

How do I explain Summer Stock? The parts that bother you, bother me too. bleh. I find it to be a rather bland musical in every way, except for when it's not! :) Three numbers in particular are the reasons the film is in my top 100.

The deceptively simple newspaper dance.



Both Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire loved to use props in their dance routines. It doesn't get more rudimentary than a squeak in the floor and a page of newspaper. It's as if he's saying, I can work magic with anything, and he does!

"Friendly Star"



One of my favorite songs Judy Garland sings. You can see right down into her soul; it's like a masterclass to the essence of her acting. Completely professional, wholly committed to the song and fully vulnerable with her character, knowing she's been alone and will most likely continue to be alone, but allowing herself to dream still the same. I get choked up each time I see it.

"Get Happy"



Summer Stock was the last film Judy Garland did for MGM. She was not doing well during the filming, having been in the hospital prior for drug dependency. Her story of giving her whole life over to the filmmakers and her audience is a heartbreaking one. Maybe A Star is Born (which was done a few years later) should be in my top 100, but it's too hard for me to watch and to talk about much. This one is a softer view into Garland's life and struggles. "Get Happy" was done after the movie finished, after she had spent some time gathering herself together, and she is as on top of her game as ever she was. It was like that great last push before she said goodbye to the studio.
"I'm a new day rising."

Teproc

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #173 on: March 02, 2019, 04:32:55 AM »
Yes, you're absolutely right. Unless it captures your fancy, it won't be entertaining in the least. I'm a big fan of Rachel Portman and her score for this film, but if you weren't having fun, the music must have driven you nuts!

Not to persuade in any way, but maybe to process my own feelings about the film, I'll see what I come up with...

Way back in 93 (Were you born yet? :) ), Johnny Depp was magical in a strange undefinable way. Now he's a caricature of himself, so it's hard to go back to when his acting was new and surprising. He mesmerized. It also didn't hurt that he was older than me and shockingly handsome. :)  I think of James Dean and his strange, charismatic presence and wonder what our collective opinion of him would be now, had he lived a long life. Would he too have turned into a caricature of himself?

As smirnoff has penned (and is a TM as far as I'm concerned), I had an abundance of goodwill towards the film, because of it's freshness and whimsy. It was playful in a way I hadn't seen before and it was a look into mental illness which was far more immersive than what I had seen portrayed. Yes, very flawed and perhaps too "quirky," but at the time it felt like a step forward. I must admit, I do tend to try and not think too much when watching the film. It's the type of movie where my critical lens gets checked at the door. :)

I certainly get that: our very favorite movies are the ones where what everyone else might see as a flaw doesn't even register as such, and I think I can imagine how Portman's score could be a big part of enjoying that movie.

As for 1993, I was born... just barely (september 1992).  ;D
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Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #174 on: March 02, 2019, 11:42:50 PM »
I certainly get that: our very favorite movies are the ones where what everyone else might see as a flaw doesn't even register as such, and I think I can imagine how Portman's score could be a big part of enjoying that movie.

This is one thing that I love about the top 100 club. We may be miles apart on our experience with a film, but with reviews and conversations, we find places of commonality, or at least understanding about the whys, even if it doesn't change our own take.

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As for 1993, I was born... just barely (september 1992).  ;D

:))

Oh my! Are you our youngest Filmspotter right now?! That is a badge of honor you are wearing.
"I'm a new day rising."

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #175 on: March 05, 2019, 06:31:44 PM »
As for 1993, I was born... just barely (september 1992).  ;D

:))

Oh my! Are you our youngest Filmspotter right now?! That is a badge of honor you are wearing.

What a noble club: Youngest Members of the Forum.
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Bondo

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Re: Top 100 Club: Sandy
« Reply #176 on: March 05, 2019, 07:22:10 PM »
Remember when 'Noke was our youngest active member? And now he's like middle-aged.

JK, he's probably around your age Teproc, but this was like a decade ago.