Enough Said

Dated


A film so good it made me want to leave the cinema.
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Reported on 20th of July, 2015

It’s way past Oscar season, so it’s time to talk about last year’s Oscars. I think it makes a bit of sense, maybe to award films a few years on, see how they’re sitting in your queue. And, one year on, who the fuck remembers Narcissists Are Super Interesting or whatever the fuck that was called. See, you don’t remember either. But it’s the best film, you cry! I must remember it’s (type, type, type) um (erase auto-correct, erase auto-correct, erase auto-correct) called (type very slowly and methodically, type very slowly and methodically, type very slowly and methodically) Birdman! Hah!

Enough Said

21 October 2013 @ The Dukes @ Komedia


$21.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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I don’t mind you looking it up on your phone, but the NSA does. They hate Birdman. Why do you think there’s been so much fuss about online privacy? It’s because the NSA monitors good taste and agrees with everything I say.

There are things I enjoy, that I also cannot stand. Technically, that I cannot sit.

Recently, I went ahead and saw Enough Said – a film our nameless government drones feel quite favorably towards – a second time. It holds up, despite being nearly an Angela on the Larry David cringe-o-meter. Let me explain, mostly to myself, what that means.

There are things I enjoy, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and My So-Called Life, that I also cannot stand. Technically, that I cannot sit. See, when Brian turns down Delia to go on a non-prom date with Angela (weirdly, more people understand this sentence more than anything I have written, and I’m explaining it right now), this moment of onscreen awkwardness drives me out of my comfy chair into the kitchen, holding my hands over my eyes like I’m at a horror film. If the English language sitcom of late is any indication, discomfort is the feeling you love to hate.

And so, we return to Ms. Louis-Dreyfus, easily the best female performance of 2013. We can say this because it is 2015, and we’ve had some time to get away from that discomfort. Ms. Blanchett, who was awarded the Oscar, was fine: modestly observant and modestly precious in equal measure. Her character in, see don’t remember the name of that one either do you, remains, for whatever her ability may be, outside us.

Given Mr. Carell’s shoddy performance this year in Foxcatcher, and Mr. Gyllenhaal’s excellent one in Nightcrawler, this may actually be her fault. She acted her heart out, but she didn’t find a way to let us in. Performance is finding a way to make us connect to a character we have no earthly business connecting to, and Ms. Louis-Dreyfus nails it. She made me want to leave the cinema.

Another lost ticket, with gratitude for the shoddy inks they're using these days.

Another lost ticket, with gratitude for the shoddy inks they’re using these days.

Though she has garnered some deserved we-thought-about-it-a-bit-and-we’re-sorry praise, she deserved the statue. Not because she was good, though that does happen occasionally. No, it’s because she has That Oscar Moment. What’s that now? As humans, we’re generally pretty stupid and can’t analyze performances in toto. What we can do is remember one scene, technically one moment from one scene and use that as a basis for decision.

This occurred to me when my friend Uli (technically it occurred to Uli, and I stole it) was watching the terrible Mystic River. I’ll probably write about that in further depth, but in the meantime, try watching it again. It’s trite, phony and utterly unengaging, made worse by a failure to confront its¬†compelling subject matter, and an author who can do better.

And guess what, you forgot about that one too.

Anyway, we were watching and Mr. Sean Penn does his ‘Is that my daughter in there?’ bit. Uli said, ‘Damn. Bill Murray just lost the Oscar’. She was right, and boy did that one sting. Re: Performance Longevity, by the way, Mr. Bill Murray is who we love and remember. Likewise, Ms. Louis-Dreyfus’ was not even nominated in 2013, but everyone is still talking about her and not Blanchett’s, performance. What stings, part II, is that she had The Oscar Moment.

I never explain things, notes to myself and all that, so: Ms. Louis-Dreyfus starts dating Mr. James Gandolfini (also great, probably his best, and that’s not faint praise). As she realizes she’s accidentally become friends with his ex (Ms. Catherine Keener), she interrogates Ms. Keener over their problems, whose imagination of which proceeds to poison, then destroy the relationship. Finally, near the end, all her secrets are embarrassedly discovered. In this moment, someone else’s mom calls her a lesbian. Ms. Louis-Dreyfus emits a choked laugh that magically combines shock, embarrassment and recognition.

It’s something else.

Which is not to undersell Ms. Hofencenter’s film either, easily her best. There’s a kind of focus to it, thematically, that has been missing from her work specifically and everyone’s work generally. See, there’s a tendency in the romantic comedy genre to make the problems both the characters fault so that they can learn something. Instead, the film is, as good films are, about one thing. In this case, wanting to know so badly.

As with Her, which would be a legit double feature, there is one character utterly at fault in the relationship, and that character must face this. I think this works better than the usual form, like the way in a great villain is often the most sympathetic character in anything. We see ourselves not in the good guy, but in the fuck up. The kind of pursuit of perfection in your mate is both unforgivable and understandable, but it only works because both Ms. Hofencenter and Ms. Louis-Dreyfuss are willing to go all the way in showing it.

Blue Jasmine. Jesus. But I had to look it up.

Profits!
Looking back on the notes, I realize I wasn’t sure about the film until the ending. It was an interesting experience, and ages well.
$10.00
If not that, see it for Gandolfini. He’s swell.
$4.00
In this age of high-praised nihilism, this is a film actually about something.
$2.00
It is also about something relevant.
$4.00
Mr. Gandolfini over observed hesitation to pick an ice cream flavor: ‘Take a chance. You’re not buying a house’ This matters because usually another character would simply say, ‘I like him. He’s funny.’ Here, the audience gets to be the silent partner.
$3.00
Total Profits
$23.00
Losses!
Weirdly, re: notes, In a World… is funnier. This film demonstrates why endings matter.
$2.00
Total Losses
$2.00

$21.00

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