Saturday, March 15, 2008

Southland Tales

Southland Tales is from the director of Donnie Darko (which I didn't like) and Domino (which nobody liked). It doesn't make any sense, but not in the same way that Donnie Darko sort of made sense if you watched it three times and then read the Salon article explaining it. No, Southland Tales doesn't even try to make sense. I don't think it wants to. I think it's really just a series of odd moments and crazy cameos. Here, for example, are some crazy lines:

A scientist played by Curtis "Booger" Armstrong says "And what did we do when we discovered the rift in the Fourth Dimension? We launched monkeys into it." Seann William Scott says "We're going to take the ATM machine with us to Mexico." Sarah Michelle Gellar says both "I love to get fucked hard" and "Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they previously predicted." The Rock says "The Fourth Dimension will collapse upon stupid bitch" to Bai Ling, just before kissing her. He also yells "Everybody evacuate the atrium and move to the back of the Megazeppelin!"

The whole movie's full of stuff like that. Curtis "Booger" Armstrong's fellow scientists are played by people including Wallace Shawn and Zelda Rubinstein. Also Bai Ling hangs around them a lot and might also be a scientist. It's that kind of movie. It's also the kind of movie that starts with a portentous voiceover to explain How Things Got This Way, and it goes on for eleven minutes. And even after that there's some clumy exposition, none of which matters.

If you want to see a million crazy cameos, this is the movie for you. It also has The Rock pitching a terrible semi-futuristic movie where his character ("Jericho Kane") battles global decleration. Oh! And it features a great new development in The Rock's acting portfolio: whenever his character is frightened or nervous, he goes bug-eyed and twiddles his fingers. Seriously, it's hilarious.

It's a fun movie from minute to minute, but it doesn't make sense overall. But I don't think it has to. I do advise you to ignore its claims of relevance. It may look a little like a biting social satire, but that's just the putty holding together the crazy moments.


Torchy said...

Ok, so you didn't like Donnie Darko. I mean, I get that, just like I get that a number of people didn't like it. But I don't really... understand it. Because I loved it. Monty, are you seriously saying that you didn't get the whole time-paradox thing the first time you saw that movie? That surprises me. I thought you might be the kind of guy who occasionally enjoyed a sci-fi novel now and then. Try some Robert Heinlein. In many of his novels, paradoxes get para-doctored. Try "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls" for one. Anyhoo.

I do enjoy your writing. I'm just blathering on here because I was so surprised. But life is full of those, eh?

Monty Ashley said...

Oh, I got the time-paradox thing, but that was really only because I read the exhaustive Salon piece on "what the heck is going on in Donnie Darko". I still didn't like it much.

And that's weird because I like science fiction (I've read every Heinlein book) and specifically time travel stories. Donnie Darko just didn't do it for me, though. Sometimes that happens, you know? It's not one of those movies where I'm angry at people who did like it; it just wasn't for me.