Worth A Look: 13.71%
Pretty Bad: 4.47%
Total Crap: 3.58%
30 reviews, 491 user ratings
by Chef ADogg
'Cause there is just a shitload of reviews about this movie, and they pretty much all say the same thing. What can Chef ADogg contribute? I don't want to be just another premature ejaculation prone film fan howling to the wind about how this movie "Changed my life." I want to give the people something different, something they can't get from the other reviews. What can I possibly say?Well, I'll start by advising folks not to see it on a Friday night. Go on Sunday, a midday matinee. You'll be with the old folks, but that's not such a bad thing--it's dark, you're distracted by the movie, and you can barely even smell the reek of fresh diapers under the stench of artificial butter.
"Shit. I wish I had hopped on the bandwagon sooner."
Chef ADogg had no one to dole out such advice, and got stuck with what seemed to be a room full of middle schoolers. Since when were ten year olds so interested in movies about suburban perversity and discomfort? I didn't see any eighth graders rushing to "Your Friends + Neighbors."
But, then again, "YF+N" didn't have Thora Birch, who the younger crowd may recognize from the olden days--she was a big star in the world of kiddie cinema. I was coming of age while she was starring in theatrical gems like "Monkey Trouble" (you know you saw it, don't even pretend) and "Alaska."
And now I got to see her grown up breasts. Yum.
Anyways, I'm stuck in this theater full of little kids. And they keep on giggling every time someone masturbates (and, really, it was getting gratuitious--"This is me, jerking off in the shower. I'm jerking off. Jerking off is the high point of my day." They should have a special masturbation slang-free version that didn't include phrases like "whacking off" and "choking the bishop" to supress those irksome giggles). And I'm getting SO pissed off.
I mean, it was fucking distracting. I finally intimidated the youngens by shouting "Who the FUCK let THEM in? Shouldn't they be watching Elmo in Grouchland?" After that, as Keitel would say, I watched them shut the fuck up.
Because the quickest way to get little kids to quiet down is swear at them. If you look older, tougher, and meaner, then you're scary enough already. But if you throw in some choice potty mouth, a few obscene hand gestures, a couple insults to the old middle school intellect--it's over. You shall have no more trouble with the rascals.
Okay, I realize this is not actually a review. I'll get around to that now. This is a good fucking movie. Honestly. It didn't necessarily change my life, but it did cause me to look at things in a new way. It gave me a new appreciation for "my stupid little life."
Kevin Spacey is his hammy old self, but nobody hams quite so elegantly (he makes everything seem fresh and theatrical; he crackles). Annette Bening is good, but I've always liked Annette Bening. I've got no beef with her. Wes Bently is getting lots of praise, and by God he deserves it. He takes the clear speaking honesty of Leo, the scruffy puppy looks from Tobey Maguire, and twists them into something new and exciting. I hope I see him again sometime in the near future. Thora Birch is good, but I couldn't help but think...Christina Ricci lite.
And Mena Suvari? She stands around looking ugly.
Sam Mendes goes from theater to screen brilliantly; he has a knock for creating quietly beautiful visuals. It's all quite luscious and inviting. Wonder springs eternal--this ranks up there with "Sixth Sense" as one of the most emotionally surprising movies of the year.
It wakes you up to the little things. For two hours, anyway. When I see a movie like this, I get a little tingly feeling deep inside my stomach; I promise to go more slowly and appreciate life in all its beauty (and perhaps even try to mend the casual dysfunction that runs rampant in my family). But I never really change my ways. It is, after all, a movie.
I'm docking it a star 'cause it tries to teach the audience. And, however flippantly it does so, I don't like a movie that kicks wisdom in my face. This is not a bad case, though some scenes remind me of "Pleasantville" in a very bad way.Is "American Beauty" the best movie of the year? So far, it's probably the best I've seen. It's consistently funny, breathtaking, and warm. But, then again, "Fight Club" isn't out yet. So we'll have to see. :)
link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1852&reviewer=123
originally posted: 10/09/99 16:31:08