April 2, 2006

A History of Movie-Watching

SO, I watched A History of Violence, and I stand here, boggling that the academy passed this one over. *boggleboggle* How did Cronenberg not even get the NOM is what I am asking? HOW? How did no one notice Maria Bello being note perfect or Viggo Aragornsen knocking it out of the park? MARIA BELLO IS THE SINGLE MOST UNDERAPPRECIATED ACTOR WORKING IN THE U.S. TODAY. How is this woman not noticed as she turns in Streepian-level genius performance time and time again? HOW? I think she is TOO good. I think people don't realize it's HER because she's a strange and generic kind of gorgeous and such a powerhouse actor that her pretty face can be ANY pretty face. At least it can the way she uses it. She's so subtle and so fine.

William Hurt did get a nod for best supporting actor, and he SHOULD have. I've watched Hurt endure rolls in LOST IN SPACE and DUNE, grinding his teeth and deadpanning his lines to the point where I kept calling Scott in to check and make sure he was not, in fact, clinically dead. His starched ducal collars in DUNE especially should have been embroidered with the words "Forgive me. I really need the money." It was easy to forget what a fine actor I always thought he was when he apparently gave up "having facial expressions" for Lent 8 years ago, and never realized Easter came. But in this movie he not only rediscoveres facial expressions but his voice! His wonderful voice! In every LINE, Hurt had honest-to-God INFLECTION. All of a sudden I was back in the 80's and early 90's, when the man appeared to have a rich and meaty soul behind his eyes. WELCOME BACK, MR. HURT! I HAVE MISSED YOU!!!!

You should watch the movie.

WARNING: It's graphic. It's SO graphic, in fact, so unflinchingly explicit in its sex scenes and its mercifully briefer but even MORE explicit violent moments, that only the sheltering mantle of art keeps me from putting the word "porno" in front of the word graphic. Let's put it this way: If aliens from another universe watched this movie, they would come away with both a veryveryvery clear understanding of how we make our babies and a good idea of what we might look like if they squoozed us in their giant crab-pincers until the gooey middle parts came out. Yikes.

And look, I've written an explicit sex scene or two in my day, and I've been even more explicit in the violent scenes, and I had good reasons and the imagery in the scenes was needed for thematic reasons, and I feel that was VERY MUCH the case with A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE...however. There comes a point in every woman's life where she stands musingly in the kitchen doing the dishes and wondering, "Could a person ever REALLY see too much opf Aragorn's butt?

There is a moment in Violence where this question is answered, and with a resounding YES. You also see REALLY too much burbling chunks of hot brain dribbling out, but admittedly, a LITTLE of that goes a long way.

I also want to say when I read the reviews, time and time again, the ambiguity of the ending was harped upon...Um, what ambiguity of the ending? I thought it was so clear you could have safely made a windshield out of it. But of course, in the deepest corner of my shriveled prune of a heart, there is a hot pink pulsing nodule where lives undying a mighty faith in redemption, a belief that there is no place so far from love that love can't find you and make you whole, that nothing else in this illusion-filled and transient world matters, that E. M. Forster meant so much more than ONE thing when he said, "only connect," and so I watched the movie as I watch everything----through the lens of a belief so strong it approaches absolute zero and is the defining fulcrum upon which my life bounces back and forth like a teeter-totter.

The critics say "ambiguous" because another person might interpret the ending a compeltely different way, but that person makes me sad. And PS? Is dead wrong. Tra la!

Posted by joshilyn at April 2, 2006 9:55 AM

Ambiguous Aragorn? I think not! Show me the booty!

Posted by: Janet at April 2, 2006 11:33 AM

I didn't think the ending was ambiguous, either. Although I do have to say that if I witnessed my husband causing people's brains to dribble out hotly, it might give me, you know, pause for concern. I think the reason the Academy mostly ignored it is that they like to reward films that are safe. Or if they reward a film that's edgy, it's edgy in a mostly safe way. That is why Crash won best picture, Brokeback Mountain didn't and Violence wasn't even nominated.

Posted by: Aimee at April 2, 2006 12:22 PM

I have given up gory, violent movies. I will usually watch if it crucial and pertienent to the story. I now think I will pass on History. And sex scenes - Oh, God, don't laugh at me - I get really uncomfortable. It's like closing my eyes during survivor becaue there are snakes on the screen. Yeah, I miss a lot of the action. So despite missing his Aragornsen (good one Joss) I will have to say, "I will happily forgo History."

Posted by: Cele at April 2, 2006 12:50 PM

I'm with you on this. I thought it was great. I was blown away. Hmm. maybe not the best choice of words. I found it very thought-provoking to consider which was the "genuine" life. Ultimately, I believe they both are. Although it seems incongruous to most people, both extremes seem comfortable to him. It's as if he was practicing abstinence with the violence, until it became mandatory. Great review. I enjoyed it.

Posted by: NYDeborah at April 2, 2006 1:59 PM

I haven't seen A History of Violence because I'm pretty squeamish about graphic movies ... and also, I don't want to face any kind of challenge to my belief that there IS no such thing as too much of Aragorn's butt.

But I just have to say that your paragraph about redemption gave me the goosebumps, because that's exactly what I believe too, and you said it so well. See, you should get some kind of award, just for writing that.

Posted by: Trudy at April 2, 2006 7:51 PM

I can't imagine getting tired of Viggosen's nekkid cheekies.

I've been dying to see this film. I will rent it.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at April 2, 2006 8:07 PM

So Joshilyn,
When you become rich & famous, are you going to forget about us and not have time to do your blog? I sure hope not. Because, I'm almost sure your going to be rich & famous.
I just finished the ARC of Between,GA.
I - loved -it!
I had to pace myself, only a chapter a night. I did'nt want it to end.
When's the next 'en? :)

Posted by: desi at April 2, 2006 8:17 PM

As I really don't see how you could possibly see enough of Aragorn's butt, I think I will have to rent this to judge for myself. Viggo nekkid? Twist my arm! ;)

Posted by: Amy-GO at April 2, 2006 8:56 PM

Okay, I'm with Trudy--thank you so much for writing "But of course, in the deepest corner of my shriveled prune of a heart, there is a hot pink pulsing nodule where lives undying a mighty faith in redemption, a belief that there is no place so far from love that love can't find you and make you whole, that nothing else in this illusion-filled and transient world matters, that E. M. Forster meant so much more than ONE thing when he said, "only connect,""

And, okay, I loved it so much I had to CTRL-C it into here, just so I could read it again and feel like I had something to do with it.

Totally needed to read that today... just on account of mundane annoyances and TOO MUCH RAIN, but you brought a shot of joy to my own tiny black heart with it, dear J...

And I have actually never seen Aragorn's bootay. Perhaps this is my problem?

Posted by: Cornelia Read at April 2, 2006 9:43 PM

I loved it... it was like a chick flick with enough violence thrown in so that my husband couldn't say I took him to a chick flick. There's no bleeding brains in a chick flick.

And the sex scene? That one where you see... you know, things happening... yep, I blushed. Totally. It was good.

Posted by: Heather Cook at April 2, 2006 10:45 PM

Maria Bello was wonderful in this movie. She didn't get a academy nod, but she did get a golden globe nomination...though she didn't win....and she got several other nominations and awards for her role, though not as prominant (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004742/awards). At least SOMEbody is taking notes on her talent. :)

Posted by: Carrie at April 4, 2006 2:26 PM