MARCH 2002

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME (2000, 109 min.)

The movie explores the many ways a brother and sister, who have survived a family tragedy, manage to let each other down at crucial moments.  The story will immediately capture and hold your attention, but be prepared for a consistently rough, down-hill ride, which starts out with the fatal car crash in which these siblings lose their parents (one of the most believable scenes of how quickly and unexpectedly an auto disaster can happen).  The two have been strong friends all along, but they just can’t seem to effectively help each other or themselves in times of crisis – quite the opposite, in fact.  My first thought after seeing the film was, it could have been named, “You Can Count on Me (to Screw Up).”  Yet, through it all, the underlying strength of their loyalty and love endures.  Lead performances by Mark Ruffalo and Laura Kinney.  Script, direction, and acting as an altogether believable clergyman by Kenneth Lonergan.

 

 

“Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.”LILY TOMLIN

 

 

AMERICAN BEAUTY ( 1999, 121 min.)

This study is a post-mortem reverie upon the most recent and final transactions of a man’s life.  Superficially, it could be seen as a justification for outrageous frustration, lust and rage, but the telling part of this tale is at the end, when Kevin Spacey’s character finally comes to his senses and realizes (too late) that, in retrospect, his life was quite O.K. before he let it slide out from under him.

 

A SIMPLE PLAN (1998, 120 Min.)

Turns out, it wasn’t such a simple plan after all, finding all that money in a small crashed plane up in the snowbound Rockies, deciding to use it for your own folks and their needs, without anyone knowing about it – except for a couple of unreliable fools who stumble upon the site about the same time you do.  Everybody promises, of course, to keep it strictly between themselves, not even telling their wives!  How long would you guess a deal like that would last?

 

 

CAPE FEAR (1962, 105 min.) / CAPE FEAR (1991, 128 min.)

I love the SIMPSONS’ spoof of the Martin Scorcese/Robert DeNiro version of CAPE FEAR.  It should be shown in tandem with the actual movie, just to lighten up the load of some very heavy dark matter.  Both CAPE FEAR films deal with essentially the same harsh and violent realities, the earlier black and white one, with Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, reflecting a somewhat calmer age of film noir sensibilities.

 

“… police arrested magic, and magic went with them, for magic loves the hungry.”

LEONARD COHEN

 
  “I am not interested in relationships of color or anything else – I am interested only in expressing the basic human emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom.”

PORTALS OF GLORY

Early afternoons, up there in the projection booth of Lyon’s State Theater in Franklin, Virginia, as a high school student, I would set the film reels for the day’s schedule, splicing short subjects (news reels, “The Three Stooges,” etc.) together with the main feature and loading the first two reels of those humongous arc-light projectors, getting ready for the matinee or the evening show.  I loved what I was doing: therefore, I took particular care to do it well.  And I learned so much from the visions and wonders I viewed through the small window portal of that projection booth.  If the movie was one I especially liked, I watched it with rapt attention as I waited for the crucial cue marks to appear on the upper corner of the screen, indicating that it was time for a reel change.  The projection booth was above a long balcony that stretched out over the main audience toward the screen.  At the appropriate time, I would lower the lights and start the pre-show music as gentle streaks of colored light traveled across the large maroon curtain.  With everything set up and not a finger to spare, I would fade the house lights and the music, open the curtain and then it was “Show Time!”  –Bill Joyner

 

 

 

 

HUMANITY’S SHADOW

Other visions of humanity’s shadow side might include RETURN OF THE JEDI , THE USUAL SUSPECTS, and GET SHORTY. –BJ

 

P. O. Box 3411 / Sarasota, Florida 34230

joynerbill28@gmail.com

 

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       2002  MARCH      MARS       MARZO  2002