The other thread seems to be turning more into a thread about analyzing other people’s criticisms of the movie than the movie itself, so here’s a refuge for the few of us ($4m opening weekend, oh dear) that actually saw it.
I’m happy to say that I loved the shit out of it. I highly recommend it. Sam Jackson just totally owns up the joint and the southern flavor is so rich you can taste it.
I loved how they made the music a living, breathing character in the movie. The scene where Jackson plays his blues guitar in the thunderstorm to ward off Ricci’s demons is absolute dynamite. And I think this may be the most magnetic he’s ever been in any movie. You just can’t take your eyes off him - and that’s saying something considering that half the time he’s sharing the screen with a hot half-naked chick who’s writhing around in a chain.
The marketing and trailers really sold this as a kind of trashy piece of pulp, but I think that does it a dis-service. I read it as more a modern southern fable, an old blues song writ large into cinematic life. And the deep-south dialog just absolutely crackles. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Well it’s certainly him singing. But I doubt it’s him on the guitar unless he is an awesome blues guitarist and that’s never come to light before because his character does some serious pickin’ in this movie.
I don’t know if he played… unlikely, but actors are often taught technical miming. A good example is Karate Kid Ralph Macchio in Crossroads. Before the net allowed me to look it up, my friends and I often discussed whether or not he was playing the guitar in the film.
Excellent flick. I agree completely with Gary that it was difficult to take your eyes off Laz. I wish Sam the man Jackson would do more work like this rather than just signing on to everything that comes his way.
Only making $4 million doesn’t surprise me. The movie all of you are describing is not the movie being advertised. Usually the marketing department is trying to convince us that a crap movie is good, somehow this time they’re trying to convince us an interesting story is actually a one trick pony.
This post is going to plumb hitherto unexplored depths of narcissism, but fuck it, I am too good of a mood right now to care.
After years of plugging away at the screenwriting thing and enjoying middling degrees of success (one film set up at an indie, couple of scripts optioned, some on-set rewriting and assignment work) I finally made my first big spec screenplay sale to a major studio today.
Warner Bros. bought my original sci-fi script “The Book of Eli” for Joel Silver to produce. I have been holding my breath all week but the deal finally closed a couple of hours ago. It should be showing up in the industry trade papers soon.
So yeah, I am over the moon and if you bump into me at GDC this week and I am in usually celebratory mood you will know why. I might even buy you a drink, if you tell me that Eli sent you.
This was a powerful movie, and I don’t think we would have gone to see it if not for this thread.
Samuel has an amazing blues voice, and all the scenes with him singing were shot perfectly. I’ve not enjoyed myself in the theater that much while still taking away a ‘deeper meaning of my existence etc etc’ in a long long time.
Broke out my own guitar and sang some blues as soon as I got home.
What a horrendously mis-marketed film, what a shame.
I saw it this evening. Pros: Great music, Sam Jackson in a good movie (and doing a good job) for the first time in a while, good setting, Christina Ricci naked in parts and nearly naked through most of it. Cons: Very simplistic plot. I had a really hard time with that part of it. The movie does it several times – like with the central plot (spoilers coming) where Ricci is mostly cured of her hangups by hanging out with Jackson for a few days (that whole “I’ve discovered how to be sexual in a good way” scene in the blues bar…come on), but also with stuff like “Oh you’ve got some lung-hacking cough? Nothing that someone else’s prescription for a few days won’t fix!” or “Awful fever? Let me just throw you in an ice-bath.” Stuff like that.
I felt like the movie dodged a lot of its potential power. I mean, it’s clear at the end that Ricci and Timberlake (who was actually pretty good!) are not completely cured and still have stuff to work on. But it’s like this girl’s entire life has been fucked up for 20 years, and then in the space of a week she suddenly pulls a 180, leaving behind her self-destructive behaviors, opening up to those around her, confronting her mom, marrying her man, and moving forward in this brand-new way of life. I thought it was just much too pat, all the way through – her physical illnesses, her deep psychological problems, even Jackson’s problems (Wife of 12 years left you for your own brother? That’s OK, a week later you’re holding hands with the nice pharmacist! Right.)
Which isn’t to say it’s not worth seeing, because it is. Like I said, great music, great setting, lots of good acting. But I couldn’t fall for it the way Whitta did.
PS: When Hugo Weaving started getting other movie roles (like in LOTR), I just couldn’t hear his voice without always thinking of Agent Smith. Like he’d go “Mister Baggins!” and I would start busting up because it sounds so much like “Mister Anderson.” Man, the same thing happens with me and Sam Jackson. To some extent he will always be Julius. There was one part in Black Snake Moan where the pharmacist says “I’m wearing that cream you got me, want to smell it?” and he sniffs it and goes "Mmm-MMM!" and in my head I’m totally expecting “That is a tasty burger!”