Oh my god, is Owen Wilson gonna be a huge star or what? This weekend, millions of people who have never seen Bottle Rocket, have never heard of Wes Anderson, and have no idea that Wilson is a screenwriter of no small talent will be cheering on an Owen Wilson who channels the spirit of Steve McQueen while kicking some collective Bosnian ass and being all that he can be. Cuz Bruce Willis is gettin’ too old for this shit, I guess.
I don’t think it’s venturing too far into hyperbole to call this, the followup to The Sixth Sense from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, a work of transcendent filmic genius, one that acknowledges the audience’s expectations, confounds them, rebuilds them, and ends up using them to brilliant, astonishing advantage.
Mob stories rarely work as comedy. For every Get Shorty or Analyze This we seem to get a dozen Mickey Blue Eyeses and Jane Austen’s Mafia!s. For the comedies to gell, it seems, the mafia milieu needs to bump up against another idiosyncratic subculture: Mob Meets Hollywood, Mob Meets Therapy. The Crew tries it on with Mob Meets Old Fart… if there could be said to be an ‘Old Fart’ subculture.
So while I am both a bit dismayed and smugly satisfied to report that yes, I was correct in guessing what The Sixth Sense’s big twist is (I won’t reveal it here!), I am overjoyed to report that not only is there much more to this film that just its twist, watching the film with full knowledge of its big secret adds new layers to enjoy.
I suspected The Fifth Element was gonna turn out to be a bunch of claptrap, and I was right. It’s a visually stunning film, to be sure — I’m a sucker for gorgeous spaceships and gorgeous spacescapes — but ultimately it’s a strange brew of Blade Runner, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Douglas Adams, mixed with a lot of pseudoreligious, pseudoscientific nonsense.
Why isn’t Bill Paxton a bigger star than he is? Sure, he’s been in some of the biggest movies of all time: Twister and Aliens and True Lies and now Titanic. But I bet most moviegoers couldn’t put a name to his hunky everyman face…