Thursday, April 15, 2004

Something's Gotta Give

Yeah, something should. And in the case of this movie, it's the commentary track by the director and Jack Nicholson.

The movie itself is a sweet, somewhat average comedy. You'd think with Nicholson, Frances McDormand, Diane Keaton, and Reeves (I think Keanu has his gifts, and the ability to do comedy is one of them), in that order, that this would be a can't-miss comedy spectacular. But, no, it's just a nice, middle of the road voyage. Some smiles and a couple chuckles and warm fuzzies. Nothing wrong with that.

I was charmed by the December-December romance, though. Grown-ups have all that complexity and baggage that makes the tortured mincing towards intimacy fun to watch. So, I guess I can throw that in as a bonus, making this a better than average movie.

Oh, and, Keaton's Oscar nomination was deserved.

**** Spoiler ****

There is a scene near the end when Keaton and Nicholson have run into each other in a restaurant after they've broken up but before they realize, well you know, and he chases her outside to make a half-hearted attempt at consoling her. Her reaction - the acting, mind you - was one of those jaw-dropping, goosebump moments when an actor has hit the mark so perfectly, rendered a fictional moment so vividly, that it feels entirely real, and it imprints on your memory permanently. Wow, Diane. Outtathepark, babe.

**** End Spoiler ****

For those of us who also want to see what Toto has for us behind the curtain, the real highlight of the DVD is the commentary track, as I've mentioned. Nicholson is a very very bizarre mix of humility and utter confidence. I bet he's a handful around the house. But, besides that freak show, he explains, in detail, why he does some things in a scene, what his philosophy on movement and movies is, and why he did a pratfall here, a butt-take there. Having one of our true great movie stars explain his execution of his craft is fascinating. The only other commentary tracks that have been as gripping are Ron Howard's on Apollo 13, which is a mini film school, and Kurt Russell's and John Carpenter's on John Carpenter's The Thing, which is just plain fun. (Oh, and it's not on the commentary track, but the "Ten-Minute Film School" offered as a featurette on each of the 2nd and 3rd Spy Kids movies, by director extraordinaire Robert Rodriguez, are worth the rental price alone. Or if you know someone who has kids, just borrow them.)

Yahmdallah Bob says check it out. Two breasts. Rock-fu. Gratuitous fridge-door gag. Honorable mention for Keanu playing a Doctor, and almost making us believe it while clearly being intimidated by Jack.

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