Worth A Look: 13.73%
Pretty Bad: 4.48%
Total Crap: 3.43%
30 reviews, 490 user ratings
by the Grinch
To quote the Godfather of Soul James Brown, and Keanu "the Canoe"
Reeves respectively: "GOOD GAWD!" and "WHOA!" One of the best films of 99 if not THE film of 99...a film to end a millenium.10 things I loved about this movie:
"YOU ARE HYPNOTIZED BY PETER GALLAGHER'S EYEBROWS! SLEEEP!SLEEEEP!"
1. There is no polarization of characters...there are no "good" or "bad" characters, really. There is no "oh, I've got this person figured out"...try that in this movie, and you'll be knocked on your ass. The people in this brilliant film have more dimensions than Dom Deluise after prime-rib friday nights at the Sizzler. Most of them play a serious game of "beat it to fit, paint it to match" with their souls. But there's exceptions, which leads us to...
2. Kevin Spacey. I love the guy...his eyes alone can tell a million stories, there's an intelligent twinkle there, and his face can go from one extreme to the next faster than Bill Clinton's zipper. Yeah, I'm saying I'd go gay for Kevin Spacey...well, maybe not, but "he rules!" And his last name is "Spacey", how cool is that? Intergalactic...a stellar performance from Spacey..hot-cha-cha-cha-cha.
3. And if you're still reading after that last proclamation, number three is: the rest of the cast. I went in expecting a lackluster performance from Annette Bening, but now I have to wonder why such a talented person is married to Warren Beady Eyes. Wes Bently is simply angelic and confident. Thora Birch is really in touch with the role. Mena Suvari, everyone, just excellent and believable.
4. The Direction: Delicate, and very involving. The footage of "The most beautiful thing ever filmed" might make you laugh at first, but then you'll wonder why you laughed, because it really IS beautiful. The sometimes voyeuristic stylings of seeing things as if you're directly in the characters' minds was a nice addition.
5. The lighting...it gave everything alot of breath, added dread
or clarity at all the right moments.
6. Soundtrack and score...no annoying abrasive and distracting music, the music only helped to focus on the story. I'm sick of movies that seem to be made just to sell hit soundtracks. Fa fa fa on them.
7. Thora Birch's breasts. No wait, that's two...make those 7 and 8!
9. The dark humor that makes you laugh, and occasionally makes
you wonder "Why am I laughing?" shortly after.
10. The dialogue. This script is just so well written and
intelligent. What is really just a simple story is made
into something phenomenal.
Things I didn't like:
1. Peter Gallagher's eyebrows. I've said it before and I'll say it again, they really scare me. I really DO think they're some sort of entity unto themselves, like maybe this meteor crashed into earth, and Ed Asner went to investigate, and these eyebrows jumped out of the cracked meteor and affixed themselves to his forehead to draw nutrients...and maybe they like jumped from Asner to Ernest Bourgnine, then from Bourgnine to Peter Gallagher, then from Gallagher to Sam Donaldson, and they only do it when its' host is going to get screen time, because these eyebrows are complete media whores, and...WOW, that 's a movie in itself, I need to write a script! I digress..
2. Annoying people in theatres who suffer from terminal stupidity and have a genetic pre-disposition towards talking as loud as possible to their buddies and pointing at the screen every 5 seconds. The 2nd time I saw American Beauty (yes, I paid full price twice, it's that good), I almost got into a fight with some morons in the row ahead of me because of their consistently inconsiderate obnoxiousness. I finally just broke out with "People, the IDEA is to TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE WITH YOUR FRIENDS AFTERWARDS!" Sorry, I don't do the prissy librarian routine. Maybe one day if it's permitted, I'll do a feature on techniques to keep annoying people from sitting near you at the theatre.American Beauty is so multi-dimensional and wonderfully subtle, I can't really tell you exactly what it's about. One of its strongest messages is this: Underneath all the shit, the bullshit, half-truths, the self-pity, the meaningless automation, the lies, there is alot of beauty out there, America. Stop, take a breath, and you just might see it.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1852&reviewer=156
originally posted: 09/30/99 18:18:04