Doctor Strangeblog (DrStrangeblog)Middle America
Doctor's Recent Reviews
"One more thing we need to do: the hitman needs a ride." That line cracks me up every time, one of several brief moments of macabre humor that underscores the incredibly shortsighted and tragically impulsive decisions made by a pack of aimless Florida teens when they murder one of their "friends," an abusive, self-loathing egoist named Bobby Kent in this true story adaptation. I've seen this movie about 4 times now which speaks to director Larry Clark's ability to draw me into the sorry lives and ill-conceived plans of these juvenile delinquents. His camerawork thrusts you among their private conversations, passing of joints, and pressing of naked bodies. On first viewing, the omnipresence of bare teenage flesh (although the actors are markedly older) becomes uncomfortable and feels exploitative - everyone agrees on that point regarding the unnecessary Bijou Phillips crotch shot. A friend held that the rampant nudity helped place you within this circle of carefree, irresponsible adolescence. Whether the film would be less effective with a less intimate portrait is certainly debatable. Upon repeat viewings I found, while still boundary-pushing, it works as an effective tool to involve an audience member as "part of the gang," thereby investing yourself emotionally even if you can't relate to these kids on a personal level. And let's face it, this is a tough crowd to like. The acting is stellar: Phillips, Brad Renfro, and Rachel Miner have never been better, Nick Stahl is one of Hollywood's most gifted (then-)young actors, Leo Fitzpatrick is great as the Hitman, and Michael Pitt gives one of the best & most believable stoner idiot performances I've seen. Gripping, unflinching, gut-wrenching, and scarily realistic, underneath runs a scathing social commentary of the role of neglectful parents. It's a tough pill to swallow but fascinating nonetheless.
"What the hell are you talking about??" "We can work things out, you know that, we can be adults about this." "Mavis, I'm a married man." "I know, and we can get past it, together." Surehanded direction from the younger Reitman follows the unfulfilled ghost author of a successful teen fiction series back to her smalltown roots as she attempts to win back her highschool sweetheart. One stumbling block - he's happily marred with a newborn daughter! Charlize Theron can disappear into a character as well as anyone and deserved her Oscar nomination here. As Mavis Gary she carries an air of aloof surperiority, but is not without self-awareness about her flaws and pitiable.
Doctor's Favorite Movies
The blackest of black comedies released during the height of the Cold War is sheer genius. Peter Sellers masterfully plays three roles while George C. Scott takes a hilarious turn as a gung-ho general. Scathing, sobering, and an all-time classic.