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Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Katco" Movie Review -"FIERCE PEOPLE"


With a name like Katco, the claws are gonna come out once in a while in any pop culture arena where opinion is king. And the more a movie plays like something that should have stayed in the litter box, the more claws come out. Hence, my own personal rating system, somewhat reversed. The more claws, the worse the film. Oh how clever, oh how pretentiously boring, oh I don’t care what you think. I’ve seen hundreds of movies and intend to see hundreds more. I am totally in love with the medium, for better or worse, til death do us part, or a weekend out of town becomes cheaper than an Arclight ticket. No worries, Judd Apatow, I prove your Comedy King crown is safe. Especially since I used the word “king” twice in one mere paragraph.

Saturday September 29, 2007









“FIERCE PEOPLE”

Starring: Diane Lane, Donald Sutherland, Anton Yelchin, Elizabeth Perkins, etc. etc.
Excellently Directed by: Griffin Dunne
Wrenchingly Written by: Dirk Wittenborn

I’ll start with the positives.
Diane Lane.
At 42, she is more gorgeous than ever.
A real woman with a real 42-year-old face that isn’t pulled, injected, and brow-lifted to puppetdom. Jessica, Meg, Faye, take note. Naturally aging beauties work best onscreen.

Donald Sutherland. When is the last time you saw a 72-year-old play a sexy billionaire who actually drops trou in one scene? And isn’t repulsive when he does? Watching him charm Diane Lane is worth the price of admission right there, because this is daring pairing that means some studio exec has skeletons-a-mighty in his closet and was probably bribed into approving it. It’s not typical. Hallelujah. (Maybe it bodes a future film with a sexy 72-year-old woman, probably called "In Your Dreams".)

There’s plenty of decadent youth in this film too.
Diane plays Liz, a strung-out druggie mom whose son Finn (played by cutie pie Anton Yelchin, just cast in the upcoming “Star Trek” prequel as a young Chekhov) is busted when he makes a quickie drug-store score for hopeless mom. Maternal instinct finally surfaces and snaps Liz out of her purple haze. In an attempt to remove her son from the evil influences of the big city, she calls upon Ogden C. Osborne (Sutherland), the 7th wealthiest man in the world, whom she met when she tended to him in the hospital in her part-time legitimate job as a masseuse. When Liz and Finn move into a guest house on Ogden’s property, surrounded by in-bred spoiled richies who fake the fun in dysfunctional, you expect immediate disaster. But it doesn’t come. There’s Osborne’s lovely granddaughter, who kinda likes Finn; the devil-may-care grandson Bryce who takes Finn under his wing; and the dashing town doctor who woos Liz. The estate. The parties. The cleaned-up mom. Wow. Life among the wealthy is a dream.

It’s the complete opposite of the old movies Finn grew up projecting on his bedroom wall to keep him company - documentaries his absent dad shot in some deep dark Tarzan jungle inhabited by the “most fierce tribe known to mankind.” Painted faces, feathered headpieces, and grassy man-skirts. Scary. Their societal customs and primitive revenges are worlds away from the rarefied gentry among whom Liz and Finn now dwell. Until… the lifestyles of the rich and famous dream becomes an inevitable nightmare. Liz and Finn are slapped back down into their place in a most brutal way. I’m not giving anything away here – I pledge to be strenuously aware of spoilers – because you know this is coming. You just know it… and you wait for it… and just when you think you might be wrong come scenes that are so stomach-knotting and cringe-worthy that I needed alcohol after the movie...in addition to my usual “time to unwind and relax” libation before a flick.

So be warned. There is much to like here. This is a very good movie, and I’m glad I saw it. But are we so insensitized to the happy, the light and the joyful that characters have to be savaged in movies for it to be “worthy” as a work of art? Is Mary Poppins gone forever? I don’t know. I’m just sayin…

With an “Oh no please don’t” cover-your-eyes in a couple of scenes disclaimer, still only 2 CLAWS. (That’s a good thing, remember?)


"CLAW" Ratings System:

5 CLAWS - Meow. Scratch the bitch’s eyes out. Save your 10+ dollars for a concession stand bottle of “purified” tap water.

4 CLAWS - Not a great flick. You may wish you had some catnip to float through the boring scenes or gigundus loopholes.

3 CLAWS - So-so. Or “So? Why’d they spend the time and effort?”

2 CLAWS - A good movie. Lots of reasons to spend your precious two hours (plus the travel time and the ungodly “Why does there have to be a line for everything” time) making an effort to see it.

1 CLAW - A really good movie. A struggle to find anything catty to say. Kitty is purring.

CLAWS RETRACTED - The ultimate. A Tony the Tiger “Grrrrrreat” movie. One that will go down in history in somebody’s stupid time capsule somewhere. A rating that will probably never be assigned, because it’s usually only history that proves which films survive an over-inflated, pseudo-intellectual reviewer’s opinion. Hey wait a minute… I will use that rating.

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