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Great cinema this ain't
If many of your great cinematic experiences have been found on the Lifetime channel or maybe the Halmark channel then you might like this movie. It has a very distinct made-for-TV feel to it. The only difference is there are a few strong swear words here and there.
The acting is sub par, the story isn't all that interesting. There is a flat romance, a guy with a tragedy in his past and some mother-daughter tension and thats about it. Until the end when some "evil drug dealers" appear on the scene in an attempt to create some tension, which I personally found only laughable. Calling this movie a "thriller" is a bit misleading.
Overall, a very dull and forgettable film. It isn't worth the 2 hours it takes to get through to the "clever" ending.
Horrifying account of misguided teens
I must say that this is one of the more brutal films I have ever seen. To say this movie is hard-edged is an understatement. Only the most hardened among us would not find at least parts of this movie difficult to watch. One aspect that I found to be truly disturbing was the degree of callousness and conscienceless ease in which this group of south Florida teenagers plotted the murder of one of their peers. No matter his misdeeds against them, the taking of a human life is no small, casual undertaking.
The story does a good job in conveying the irony of the plotting and the ultimate act of bullying against a bully. The reality of their actions does not seem to occur to them until it is too late. Many of the characters hardly seem any more redeemable than the "bully" himself. Their own despicable characteristics are on full display.
The film contains copious amounts of sex and nudity. Numerous scenes of drug usage and conversations about drugs. And plenty of profanity. That combined with a few scenes of physical abuse, a disturbing rape scene, discussions of both male and female rape and one brutally violent scene make this a movie not for the faint of heart.
Well paced average comedy
I am partly writing this review in response to some of the other reviewers on here that mention how unlikeable some of the characters are in this film. How can it be missed that their neurotic tendencies are supposed to be part of the comedic element??
This film is nothing more than something to watch when you have nothing else to do and are in the mood for a couple of laughs. It has its poignant moments, it is well paced, is well acted by most of the cast. I especially liked Molly McClure as Mama Wheelis. Her role reminded me of a Ma Kettle-type character (for those of you who remember or know who Marjorie Main is).
I thought that this film was much better than a lot of today's comedies...most of which contain the same 'ol predictable bathroom, endowment and sexual orientation jokes and are painfully unfunny.
5 out of 10 stars
Far from Heaven (2002)
1950s Perspective In Every Way
I watched this movie knowing nothing about it except that Julianne Moore was nominated for Best Actress in 2003. So without giving yet another synopsis of what the movie is about as so many of these reviews do, I will review my "non-filmologist" experience of watching this movie.
First of all, I have never heard of Douglas Sirk. Nor have I seen any of his films. What first struck me about this film was the muted acting and the stiff characters. I kept wondering why the lead actress' reactions to what was going on around her were so underwhelming. Surely a husband and wife would have more of an emotional reaction to what had just been discovered. I was confused by the "non-realism" of the dialog and the character's emotions.
But then about 2/3 of the way through the movie, it hit me. This movie isn't just set in the '50s and about society in the 1950s, but the ACTING, editing and everything else is also 1950s...with a couple of taboo subjects thrown in. It is just as if you are watching a film that was directly from that decade.
Suddenly, I went from thinking this movie is absurd...to thinking this movie is brilliant. And the key to that understanding was that the actors in this movie are acting as actors would have 50+ years ago. Of course, humans are humans and the reality of emotions and reactions and how we interact with each other has never changed no matter the decade or century. But this was the state of the art half a century ago and Far From Heaven does a masterful job of recreating that art.
You must convince yourself that you are watching a movie from more than five decades ago to truly appreciate what is being done on the screen. If you are thinking, "How would I react", or "How would she really react to that", then the point is being missed. This is retro art. And it is done very well.
Best Seller (1987)
Check Your Disbelief At The Door
I have reached the conclusion that mainly fans of a particular film visit its respective page at IMDb. How else to explain this film's rating of 6.3 out of 10 stars? Sure, Dennehy and Woods work well with what they are given. But it is what they are given that is the problem.
Best Seller is filled with "that would never happen" moments, which is fine if the premise is not to take it seriously. But there is every indication that this film wants to be a believable thriller.
Cleve's (James Woods) story would best be told from behind bars, but for some reason Dennis (Brian Dennehy) allows Cleve to drag him all over the country in an attempt to prove that he was once a hit-man working for David Madlock so that Dennis can write a book about it. And along the way, Dennis discovers that Cleve is the one who shot him and a couple of his fellow officers in a robbery of a police evidence room 15 years earlier. Despite his knowledge that Cleve is indeed a dangerous killer, the fact that Dennis proceeds to share a hotel suite, visit Cleve's parents home (where Cleve puts a gun to Dennis' head in the middle of the night) or generally has anything to do with him outside of a jail cell is really absurd.
Of course, the book will reveal the criminal empire of David Madlock. So naturally, Madlock is doing everything he can to prevent Dennis from publishing it. So while he is out of town doing additional research, would Dennis be so foolish to leave the mostly finished manuscript with his teenage daughter alone at home? Apparently so.
There are many other examples, but my main point is that Best Seller is a cheesy 80's thriller with its share of plot holes along with decent performances by most of the cast (with the exception of Allison Balson - her acting was fine for Little House on the Prairie - but not so much here).
So if you sit down to watch this movie, don't bring your disbelief or high expectations with you. It will make for a much better viewing experience.