Monday, July 31, 2006

Oh! M. Night...

Husband and I called in the grandmas and went out Friday night for dinner and a movie like real people. Real exhausted people who only talked about why doesn't our kid poop?

But we had been anxiously awaiting this little date night because the annual M. Night summer movie is here - and I am a fan. And despite the terrible reviews and the backstage drama and what seems like some strange ego maniacal posturing by the writer/director/producer -- I am still a fan.

Night has gotten more and more difficult over the years - he requires more and more from his viewing audience. The pace of recent movies is downright glacial. Characters say sometimes ridiculous things just so they can be referenced later. And while we've always had to suspend a reasonable amount of disbelief to invest in the stories (kid's who see dead people, men who are superheros etc...) now we're doing some serious heavy-lifting just to get involved and with Lady In The Water if you can't get past the fact that an eastern fairy tale has erupted from Paul Giamatti's pool and odder still that Giamatti's character doesn't seem to doubt it for a SECOND...well, as the guy ahead of us said... "That might just be the worst movie ever."

But I love it more and more. The more work he requires of me - the more I like him. I love that in the first ten minutes of Signs - no one said anything and yet, we knew everything we needed to know about Mel Gibson's character. I loved the first half of Unbreakable as Bruce Willis SLOOOOOOOWLY figured out his powers. Lady In the Water had a long and sort of clumsy introduction to every character that would play a part in the movie. It was (I thought) very well handled by the greatest shlub actor ever and by a few lovely little moments of humor - which I think Night has gotten more and more skilled with every movie.

I feel like I learn something about writing after every movie of his (the best being Signs - I think Sinead said it - I was drunk but I'm pretty sure she said Signs is a movie that can be watched one Sunday a month and never get old.) Character in particular is something I think he does so well -- with what seems like zero effort. All of his leading men are complex and secretive and trying their hardest and I love who they all unfold in small moments of action. The lesson being - stop trying to explain everything. Show us textured real characters and we'll go with it all the way to village of people hiding out in the middle of the forest. Of course he gets some of the best actors we've got around these days - which helps. And better still his movies just get better the more you watch them. I look forward to a Sunday on the couch with Lady In The Water.

The dialogue in Lady is pretty taxed. And I am not sure why Night is giving himself bigger and bigger roles. Hitchcock never did and he avoided pissing off his fans. But those flaws aside - I was scared. I laughed. I might have cried - but that's easy these days. I walked away thinking -- which is rare during summer blockbuster season.

5 comments:

Maureen McGowan said...

I walked away thinking, too... But I was mostly thinking M. Night has lost it...

I sense a debate coming on... Fun! I have more to say than a comment will hold ;-) and will post tomorrow or Wed.

Abby said...

I haven't seen Lady yet, but there is no finer, finer film than Signs. The scene where he cooks all the food... the lady cop with the world-weary voice... Mel putting the knife under the door... M. Night as the guilt-ridden doctor... all that sparse dialogue and glorious silence.. it's pure storytelling genius.

I learn something new every time I see it. M. Night can have his misses but will never be down for good.

Sinead M said...

Hey Abby.. Love Signs as well. Loved it even more on the second viewing, which is always such a good sign. It might even be in my top ten.

Maureen and Molly. I for one am calling for a cagematch.. bring on the sparring..
Cause it might be years before I get to see Lady... and yes, am still going to see Miami Vice:)

Molly O'Keefe said...

Miami Vice??? Your love for Colin is leading you astray...

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm going to see Miami Vice, too... I know. Some evil force is drawing me toward it.

And I can't wait any more. I'm starting the cage match. I'm going to post my rant on Lady.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...