Weekly Mishmash: May 10-16
Factory Girl (2006). Showtime recording. Remembering the mixed reviews that this Edie Sedgwick bio got, this one got avoided until Christopher put it on the TiFaux recently. Sedgwick’s life, as a ’60s socialite turned habitué of Andy Warhol’s Factory turned burnt out druggie, certainly has the makings for a good film. Too bad this superficial thing isn’t all that. Going by the dim memory of reading Jean Stein’s terrific oral biography Edie: American Girl in high school, I could tell the filmmakers took many liberties with facts, hiding behind it with music video-like flash and dazzle. No doubt about it, this is Edie for Dummies. Not that everything here is awful; I thought Sienna Miller did an admirably good job as Sedgwick, and Guy Pierce did the best of any actor in capturing Warhol’s creepy narcissism. 1996′s I Shot Andy Warhol was an infinitely more rewarding and realistic portrait of that scene. For those who are curious about Edie, the only thing I have to say is — read the book.
Full Moon High (1980). Flix recording. While we’ve been enjoying the free premium cable, I’ve been checking out plenty on the unwanted stepchild in the Showtime family — Flix. This must be the place where all the weird little old movies that nobody really asked for on DVD go, including this genial werewolf spoof from z-budget movie auteur Larry Cohen. A youthfully cute Adam Arkin stars as a ’50s teen who ventures to Romania with his wingnut dad (Ed MacMahon), only to be bitten in the wrong place at the wrong time. As parody, this movie is an unfunny failure. Its cheesiness and “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” humor reminded me, in a bad way, of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Mostly I enjoyed it for the oddball cast: Kenneth Mars, Bill Kirchenbauer, Roz Kelly, Elizabeth Hartman, Demond Wilson, Pat Morita, Bob Saget, Jm J. Bullock. Adam’s dad, Alan Arkin, even shows up as a straight-shooting doctor. You would never see that constellation of actors together on anything, outside of a Love Boat repeat.
The Lookout (2007). Excellent indie suspenser with Joseph Gordon Levitt as a former high school hockey star who is left brain damaged after a terrible auto accident. Falling in with a manipulative young man (Matthew Good, unrecognizable from Match Point), he becomes coerced into participating in a heist at the bank where he works. Although some of the characters seemed a bit cut-and-dried, this was a dynamite story with a nicely desolate small-town atmosphere. Levitt was outstandingly good; that Third Rock from the Sun kid has really matured into a good actor.
There Will Be Blood (2007). Showtime recording. Also excellent, although I think we missed a lot of the gorgeous photography in this regrettably panned-and-scanned showing. Daniel Day Lewis definitely earned his Oscar here. Compelling story, long but richly rewarding. Both of us could tell that he used John Huston as his vocal inspiration, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Thomas Kemper Black Cherry Soda. Yep, it’s been several months and I’m still making my way through the specialty bottled sodas I bought last Fall. Truthfully, I need to be in a special mood for a full-on serving of sweetened soda. Whenever I want something sweet, it’s more than anything else likely that I’d do a mixture at a restaurant soda fountain (try four parts Diet Pepsi to one part Manzanita Sol Apple; it’s delicious). Bottle-wise, my next victim was the honey-sweetened black cherry flavor from Portland-based Thomas Kemper. This was really good, fizzy in texture with a subtle woodsiness to the cherry flavor. The sweetness didn’t hit me over the head, which is just the way it should be. The root beer is Thomas Kemper’s signature flavor; now I want to try that.