Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nog Gets Low With Duvall and Murray! / Also: Piranha 3D (Review By Request)

Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) has spent the last forty years living like a hermit and becoming, as a result, a sort of mythic small-town figure. But, as Get Low begins, Felix has begun to suspect that death is approaching, and he needs to make amends, which he organizes in an odd fashion: he'll have a pre-death "funeral party," which he will attend and everyone will be invited so long as they have a story to tell about him (and pretty much everyone in a four-county radius does). This sets us a fascinating premise which seems like it will serve as a means to examine the power of storytelling, of truth and myth. However (and somewhat unfortunately) that film doesn't materialize, though I think it might have been more interesting if it did. Soon enough, we begin to realize that Felix's intentions with the "funeral party" largely concern not anyone else's stories but rather a revelation of his own: the dark secret that sent him into hiding from society forty years ago. The secret itself isn't particularly interesting and one can guess its general outlines long before it's finally revealed (in the lengthy and beautifully acted but somewhat corny monologue near the end). But the reason to see Get Low is not ultimately plot, but character. As (almost) always, Duvall is excellent. In his scenes with Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray (playing the undertaker in charge of the funeral party), Duvall's performance gradually lets us into the kind and humorous man that Felix once was, before forty years of guilt turned him into the local "nutter." And Murray, chalking up another great performance as a "serious" actor, more than holds his own alongside the legendary Duvall. Murray's Frank Quinn, we sense, is also a man in hiding. A former sleazy used-car salesman from Chicago, Frank, unhappily divorced, has settled into a small-town, Depression-era existence where he maintains some of the old persona (he's at first desperate to get his hands on Frank's wadded-up ball of "hermit money") but has, in truth, embraced the small-town values that surround him.


Piranha 3D! What is there to say? You will see a truly wild massacre at a wet T-shirt contest that's about as gory as anything you're going to see in the multiplex (holy shit, that's Eli Roth's head flying across the screen! did I seriously just see that girl get sliced in two by a wire and the top half of her body slowly slide down to her feet? wny has Ving Rhames been reduced to a role where he's only required to shoot piranhas with a shotgun while yelling "Pirahna this, motherfucker!"). You will also see a full-frontal naked female underwater ballet! (nice). Sadly, what you won't see is 3D fully utilized as the gimmick it should be in a film like this. I want to walk out of there feeling like I've had 90 minutes of piranhas flying into my face. But instead, I've only been treated to a piranha belching out Jerry O'Connell's penis. But I guess that's pretty cool too? It probably wouldn't have been a bad idea to include some modicum of wit or irony into the script: the opening scene involving Richard Dreyfuss suggests an insider-film buff tone that never in any way materializes after that. But ultimately, the film delivers what one wants: titties and gore. Recommended (for Matthew).

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Bravo! Elisabeth Shue really held her own when she took those kids into the BIG, SCARY, URBAN center of Chicago. . .surely she can handle a couple fishies.

    (I once read this HILARIOUS if simultaneously sobering critique of ADVENTURES IN BABY-SITTING. Very funny joke about Shue and her "Brek girl" hair.)