Monday, February 18, 2013

a love song for bobby long [2004]

most movies suck.  it's incredible when you think about it because even cheap movies cost tons of money to produce market and distribute.  you would think that if a boatload of money is dropped on a production then the producers would damn well make sure that production was a good one.  movies are a business right and only the best gets asses in theater seats.  but for nought.  because movies are lowest common denominators.  that's why lately there has been a spate of films rated PG-13.  that is the demographic producers are trying to woo.  so we get superhero movies, fantasy witch films, lame horror features, and romantic weepies all stripped to the bare minimum on complications and plotting.

that's why i've not been going to the movies lately.  i've not even seen indie fare that are the critical darlings.  and my fave genre, horror, is utterly adrift on a tame sea.  it is not a good time for cinema.  or maybe i'm just getting old and jaded.  who knows and who cares.

still i have a soft spot for movies.  particularly this number under review.  i wrote briefly about this john travolta vehicle last fall.  i watched it again this afternoon as i was channel surfing.  a love song for bobby long is not a good movie.  it is rather silly, shallow and emotional.  it is beautifully photographed and well-written.  the acting is good tho not terrific.  and yet travolta plays long, an alcoholic ex-professor living in a run-down house in new orleans with his younger protege who is also a booze hound, with charismatic gusto. 

then again i'm game for a movie that quotes t.s. eliot, tennessee williams, arthur miller and scads of other writers.  the house is filled with books and the characters are obsessed with books.  long and his student lawson pines lives are interrupted by the arrival of the daughter of long's deceased lover.  pursy will is played by scarlett johanns0n who looks too healthy and regal, really, for the part of will who comes from a florida trailer park.  not to impugn florida trailer parks but i think johannson was miscast.  even so she puts in a fine performance even if the director, shainnee gabel, is too quick to pull out emotional stops then find the deeper spirit of pursy will.

still, travolta as long is a marvel, i think.  not a great part in a good movie but the man is such a good actor that i think if he simply read the ingredients for a frozen pizza i'd watch with him with pleasure.  there are some good lines in the script and travolta has all of them.  especially in the last reel when travolta makes a speech using both cuss words and a bit of eliot's poetry.

it's the sweetness of the thing that has me wrapt.  even if the principles are boozy losers there is a nobility granted to them.  i have a fondness for boozy losers too that go hand in hand with my love of classical chinese poetry where wine and friendships are often celebrated.  family too.  because in this film we discover that as much as family is thrust upon us we create them too. 

but for my loathe of contemporary movies.  i'll get over it.  call it a lover's quarrel.  the 21st century began with bang of wonderful indie fare.  the horror genre returned to its primal roots.  for a while films were being made for adults.  i have hope for the cinema to reach ratings beyond PG-13 again.  something will be made to break the commercial mold movies are currently stuck in before it too becomes too commercial.  that is the tao of movies. 


Post a Comment

<< Home