by J.D. Rhoades
This past weekend, I finally got around to seeing THE KILLER INSIDE ME, in which Casey Affleck starred as Jim Thompson’s sociopathic sheriff Lou Ford. Not only that, I got to see it on the brand spanking new Blu-Ray player I’d gotten for my birthday (thanks, hon!).
Seeing the movie reminded me that I’d written about it back in June as one of the films I’d been looking forward to seeing over the summer. Well, you know how it is. Best laid plans an all that. But I did end up seeing it, as well as most of the other ones on the list. I went back and looked at that June 2 post, just to see…how did my expecatations hold up?
What I said at the time: I didn’t think Affleck could pull off Patrick Kenzie in GONE BABY GONE, but damned if he didn’t do it, and I do love me some Jim Thompson. And it’s got Jessica Alba, apparently getting nekkid. So this one’s on my list.
Yes, Jessica does get nekkid, as does Kate Hudson, and they both get way kinky with Casey Affleck. It was a pretty faithful adaptation of Thompson’s book, which means it was dark, twisted, nasty, and one should not expect anything even close to a happy ending. Some of the violence was difficult to watch, but then, it was supposed to be. The people who decried the movie for its portrayal of violence against women were, I think, missing the point. Yes, it was ugly. Ford is an ugly character who does ugly things.
So how did I like it? Well, I reacted to it the way I do to Thompson on the page: I was horrified, but couldn’t look away. My only complaint was Affleck’s high, grating Texas twang, which came close to sounding whiny.
What I said at the time: Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I cannot wait for this movie. I don’t know anything about the director or any of the near-unknowns starring in it, but Daniel Woodrell’s book was as dark and brutal a slice of redneck noir as you’ll find anywhere. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a light and frothy date movie.
This movie was freakin’ awesome, from the Oscar-worthy performances of Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes, to the absolutely note-perfect re-creation of the lives of the desperate and dirt-poor in the rural South. No, definitely not a light and frothy date movie, but the distilled essence of redenck noir. Riveting.
What I said at the time: Why? Why does this this movie exist? What was wrong with the original (the only movie to star two future state governors) that someone felt it needed to be remade? Is there any way Adrian Brody can pull off deathless lines like “If eet bleeds, ve can kill eet” and “GET TO DA CHOPPAAAH!” with the same panache as the Governator? We think not.
Okay, Adrian Brody’s no Ahnuld, and no one in the band of killers dropped onto the Predator Planet to provide sport for the dreadlocked aliens possesses the sheer badassery of Jesse Ventura or even Bill Duke (although the always wonderful Danny Trejo comes close, he’s out of the move far too soon). No fall-on-the-floor funny lines like the ones in the original, although there are some sly references to other movies sprinkled throughout. Still, all in all, a decent action flick, and better than I expected.
What I said at the time: Looks an awful lot like a rip-off of the 1982 film MY FAVORITE YEAR, another movie about a hapless underling trying to keep a wacked out, substance-abusing star together long enough to make the big show. Russell Brand plays the Peter O’Toole role in the update, and while Brand’s no O’Toole, he’s still pretty damn funny, as is Jonah Hill. A definite maybe.
I laughed. Sometimes I laughed hard. The leads did not disappoint, and some of the send-ups of rock-star excess were a scream, like Brand’s disastrous “African Child” video, which one magazine called “the worst thing to happen to Africa since apartheid.” And who the hell knew that Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/whatever could be so funny? I walked around for days singing “stroke the furry wall…”
What I said at the time: How could this possibly go wrong? Well, plenty of ways actually. It could be a mess. It could also be the most brain-meltingly awesome movie ever. I have got to be there to find out.
Not a disaster, but not brain-meltingly awesome, either. Mostly Stallone, with a little Statham, while the other action stars weren’t’ really given enough chance to shine, especially Jet li, who was just wasted here. Competent, but disappointing considering its potential.
So what have you read/seen/listened to in the past few months that either exceeded or disappointed your expectations?