(ca) wrote: But Is It Art? It is acknowledged that I overthink things. And by "it is acknowledged," I mean "I overthink things." I agree. It's ruined more than one movie for me, and it will continue to ruin movies for me probably until the day I die. We're all going to have to learn to live with that. Well. You, my Six Readers, can just stop reading. No one's forcing you to. And there's a reason Graham doesn't automatically assume taking me to a movie will be a fun, fun time for all anymore. He does, on the other hand, end up hearing me overthink movies at him when he hasn't seen them and doesn't intend to. I can't help it. It's part of who I am. However, I think half the time, the problem is at least as much that the filmmakers have [i]under[/i] thought something. Specifically, here, there's a major "why" left out. Okay. I'm willing to go along with their basic premise. Why not? But, you know, meet me halfway. What causes the psychic connection that lets the eponymous Laura Mars (Faye Dunaway) see through the eyes of a murderer? Mars is a photographer. What she does appears to be mostly art photography, the stuff which sells coffee-table books, but she also seems to be doing some kind of advertising photography for fur. Or something. The point is that she takes very disturbing pictures. They're supposed to be allegorical about the darkness or whatever of modern society. Naturally, this brings up the claim that pictures in which women are shown half-naked and murdered will make people strip women half naked and kill them. And, indeed, one of Laura's models is murdered, her eyes gouged out with an icepick. Like you do. Except Laura watches it happen; she later says it's like seeing the scene through the viewfinder of her camera. One by one, people around her are murdered. Laura watches it all happen. So John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones), Kindly Police Detective, must protect Laura, and there is no shortage of suspects. Tommy Ludlow (Brad Dourif), her driver with a police record? Michael Reisler (Raul Julia), her drunken freeloader of an ex-husband? Donald Phelps (Rene Auberjonois), her protective agent? Or someone else? And of the list, only Tommy Lee Jones seems capable of any subtlety whatsoever. Raul Julia is seen very nearly raping two women, were it not for the fact that his drunkenness makes him easy to ward off. Yes, okay, Brad Dourif is quiet in his twitchiness, but he is, after all, Brad Dourif. I suspected him from the beginning, not because his character did much that was suspicious but because Dourif always seems to play creepy, crazy guys. Auberjonois seems, a few times, to be unsure if his character is supposed to be flamboyantly gay or not, so he swings back and forth between devotion tinged with infatuation and devotion tinged with fabulousness. Faye Dunaway was years yet from her star turn as Joan Crawford (which she won't talk about if we're not going to take it seriously), but you can see the roots of that performance here. No one wigs the hell out like Faye Dunaway, and she's going all-out here. Were the movie made three years later, there would have been at least one suspect added--deranged fan. As it is, everyone seems pretty certain that the killer is someone who knows Laura. This is a reasonable assumption, given the huge percentage of murders committed by someone the victim knows. Further, while a random crazy person may kill an individual or a string of unconnected victims, the idea that a random crazy person will kill people close to one central figure is to this day a little improbable. In that I'm not sure it's ever happened. However, in a post-John Lennon world, there's still the fear. Someone is always there in the shadows of imagination now, and there's no place without them. Even there, I'm surprised the copycat explanation doesn't get explored much. Maybe that, too, is a creation of later events and later media, though I think the impulse to make your crime more significant is hardly a new one. So here's a genuine example of my overthinking something. How did Tommy Lee Jones's character get into the exhibition at the beginning of the film? It's clearly supposed to be the Beautiful People. Yes, it's a cavernous space, but it's a cavernous space in the art world in 1978. Laura's work is controversial. We're supposed to be shocked ten minutes later when Laura goes to the station for her interview with the cops and the detective turns out to be Tommy Lee Jones, though I had already guessed that bit when the possibility arose. (Very little of the movie is really all that surprising.) However, my mind turned inexorably to that one little difficulty. I mean, I assume you needed a ticket or something to get in. To my mind, that sort of thing is invitation only. Yes, there was probably a police presence of some sort somewhere in the area, but I can't imagine it would be very big. You can hire bouncers, after all. Even with that, he plays a homicide detective, and they don't send those out on the possibility that they might be needed. Who needs a homicide detective at a gallery?
(au) wrote: October Sky thrives on simplicity of delivery and complexity of purpose. It's a beautiful film, rich in emotional texture and very satisfying on both dramatic and soulful levels. It's based on a true story, too, from a man who has lived a fairly remarkable life. Homer Hickam's works, and this film, are all well worth anyone's time.