Thursday, November 15, 2007

DNfromMN -- Movie Review -- Southland Tales

Southland Tales

Donnie Darko was one of my favorite movies of 2001, and in Minneapolis, it ran at a theater no one knew was still open, and only for a week. I'd heard about it online months prior, so had kept my eyes open for it. I left the movie not understanding everything, but definitely mentally stimulated and talking with the friend I dragged with me trying to resolve the mystery. The Director's Cut DVD cleared things up dramatically with the chapter preview text from the time travel book by 'grandma death'. So needless to say, I have been waiting for Richard Kelly's follow-up for 6 years and high expectations. I love The Rock, I
loved Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy, I gotta give it up to the hometown boy Seann William Scott, and I love Sci-Fi.

When a friend said they'd gotten passes to this, my response was:

I now wish I'd had lower expectations. There are a lot of things to love about this movie: there are moments that are funny, there are some fantastic ideas, and Seann William Scott was awesome. There are a lot of things you'll hate about this movie, and the #1 thing you will hate is Justin Timberlake's kentucky-fried voiceover.

Plot outline:

Setting - The world's been out of oil for a few years, we're still entrenched with war in the middle east, Republicans are still in power and have control of the internet and are spying on average joes. A German physicist has come up with a way to use the waves crashing into the California shoreline to convert it to energy that can be sent wirelessly to where it's needed.

Characters - Schwarzenegger-type actor/politico (Rock) wakes up in the desert with a blank memory, shacks up with a porn star (Gellar) and they write a futuristic screenplay together.

Porn star is working with the anti-establishment liberal nutjobs (led by Nora Dunn) and planning to blackmail the actor's wealthy political family. Part of that plan involves a man (Scott) impersonating his cop twin brother and faking a murder w/ actor present. Timberlake is our narrator who has unnamed ties to many of the above and tells us everything I've stated above in the first 10 minutes of the movie.

So I can buy this at this point, I'm feeling it. And then it happens. Seann Scott is playing this as a serious role, not the goofy Stifler from American Pie that we know to expect from him. Timberlake the same. Everyone else: you see the wink in their actions, it's over-the-top, campy, silly, unbelievable. Houston, we have a problem.

Donnie Darko straddled this pretty easily most of the movie was straight, with little bits of humor ("I'm questioning your commitment to Sparklemotion"), this is the opposite tone, and I just couldn't get into it. Maybe if you know it ahead of time, it's campy fun with some moments of thought you might enjoy it more, but it comes across as a really expensive student film. Now, I was hoping after this movie got booed at Cannes, and he's had like 5 months to re-edit the thing he'd be able to salvage something. It wasn't salvageable.

The movie is still worth $6.00 to me (matinee price). The people I went with, said they were only mildly entertained. I'd say it's worth seeing to see that Seann William Scott can act as more than a buffoon. There are some cool effects, and some really fascinating images, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see this again.


lisap515 said...

ok, i really love that you watched Buffy. do guys really say OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG??? hahaha

tigereye said...

i love that you watched buffy too! I also love that you love Donnie Darko. hmm..dont' think I've seen the directors cut, I obviously need to, cause I'm still in that fog that happens after you finish it. and I own it, so I've seen it a few times. Would love to discuss it with you DN. Also, I didn't realize you're a guy. Guessed I missed that somewhere =)

lisap515 said...

oh wait..that's my DA self. I thought this was ENT...didn't catch it was DN. Yikes. Sorry.
damn...hoping ENT was cool enough to watch Buffy.


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