Tuesday, May 19, 2009

STREAM-OF-CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION : RUDO Y CURSI

[NOTE: This is where the blogger gives himself a strict 10 minutes to rattle off whatever about a movie he just saw that he doesn't feel deserves a thoughtful edited review but still feeds the need to feed the animals anyway. Quality is of no concern.]

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Rudo y Cursi. Cursi y Rudo. Rudo and Cursi. I wish it was actually Curso y Rudy. Or Curso and this Rudy. If it was the former, she would stand a tad taller than Gael Garcia Bernal who is probably the shortest actor alive. Not that short people got no reason to act, or anything. Bernal is quite good in this film in fact. Diego Luna is good as well. They are the best things about it. It's really not a good film. But the two actors bring a oddball humor to the film that directo Carlo Cuaron totally ignores. Is this what Del Toro, Innarritu, and A. Cuaron intend to do with their CHA CHA CHA company??? Just put out movies by each others bros and brothers? Yep. Carlos is Alfonso's brother, and not that I care for Alfonso at all, but his brother seems in over his head. (Actually, I probably like Carlos a bit better... but that's getting away from myself and I only have 1o minutes her, man...). Anyways. Getting your brother a directing gig isn't exactly the best idea for good art or even good movies, right Tony Scott??? Yeah. Also, the title made me think of Jules et Jim before I saw it. Also because people kept comparing Y Tu Mama Tambien to the French New Wave, and while it may have had some Godardian internarration going on a la a Two or Three Things I Know About Her if it wasn't in a whisper, to think of Alfonso Cuaron in the same mind bubble as a French New Waver is pretty gross. But yeah, the two actors are pretty charming. Diego has a mustache and he owns the sucker the whole movie. Bernal could be a pretty same swell comic actor, I think. It must be weird though for actresses to have love scenes with him though because he is so small. I mean SHORT. I know, it sounds like I have a thing against short people. I don't! I just think of the scene with Bernal and the female lead opposite him in Rudo y Cursi and when they have sex he seems to be on his tippy-toes in an effort to slip it in while she's on the counter. Maybe he was on a foot stool. Poor guy. But he's good looking and makes more money than me.

22 comments:

Jason Bellamy said...

"I just think of the scene with Bernal and the female lead opposite him in Rudo y Cursi and when they have sex he seems to be on his tippy-toes in an effort to slip it in while she's on the counter."

Ah, the poetry of Tractor Facts.

Fox said...

That's free-associative BEAT poetry, my friend!

bill r. said...

Fox, a question just occurred to me to ask you, one not directly related to this post:

Are you a fan of Armond White?

Fox said...

Yes sir! Love him.

bill r. said...

I thought as much. You and he seem to think alike, at least as far as your tastes, interests, and general politics are concerned (sorry if I'm assuming too much on that last point).

Fox said...

I would consider his book Resistance, Kael's For Keeps, and Ebert's The Great Movies to kind of be my tryptich of movie Bibles. I've learned - or like to think I have - a lot from those three people and those books.

I love the way Armond White approaches his reviews. I love that he doesn't do "summary" reviews and that he pushes an opinion that often reflects our current social or political climate. As you know, I like to approach in the same vein. I think that's why I'm so attracted to him. He's a huge influence on me.

Though I understand how he also rubs people raw. As much as I think he is spot on (The Dark Knight, Children of Men) I also think he can be off (Observe and Report, Indy 4) and sometimes to a irritating degree (he's general hatred of anything Apatow), but I also like that about him. Above all, I think he challenges me, and that's the best thing I can hope for from a movie critic.

His politics are interesting. I find it hard to pin them down. I think he purposely leaves them vague, but I love that he goes after left-wing righteousness (I think I probably jumped for joy when I read his review of Half Nelson ... that piece of garbage).

bill r. said...

White's interesting. Honestly, I think he's kind of a lunatic, and probably also an asshole, but there's nothing ordinary about him, either. That's worth something, at least.

I never read his review of Half Nelson, but I'd love to, because I also thought it was a piece of garbage. So that makes three of us, because I'm pretty sure everyone else knelt at that particular altar.

Greg said...

I never read his review of Half Nelson, but I'd love to, because I also thought it was a piece of garbage. So that makes three of us, because I'm pretty sure everyone else knelt at that particular altar.

Not me, ha! Because it's a new movie and I take FOREVER to see new releases. And it's got Ryan Gosling so quite frankly, I may never see it. That said, what did you guys hate about it? And really, don't worry about spoilers because if I ever do see it it will be like ten years from now and I'll have completely forgotten the spoilers by then.

Fox said...

I agree that he's probably an asshole.

In a couple of interviews I've read with him, he's been abrasive even with the people who compliment him. And, of course, he seemingly dislikes bloggers, which I think is super-lame (though in that infamous anti-blogger essay of his, I think he makes some valid points.)

I also think he suffers from a lack of humility. If you want to be a provocateur and a challenger, then I think you need to accept the fact that you are sometimes wrong or mistaken... and he doesn't seem willing to give in that area.

In the end, I love that he's an independent voice away from the Metacritic echo chamber. I just like those personalities in all walks of life.

bill r. said...

Not me, ha! Because it's a new movie and I take FOREVER to see new releases. And it's got Ryan Gosling so quite frankly, I may never see it. That said, what did you guys hate about it?...

Greg, it's been a couple of years, but as I remember it was one of those films where you felt like the filmmakers just naturally assumed that everyone would love it, because it was "important" and "hip". Young white male teacher with drug problem teaches inner-city minority kids. And he teaches them the way things really work, you see. But I'll be damned if maybe he doesn't learn a thing or two from them, as well, though the film makes sure that it avoids Hollywood sentiment. It achieves this by being tedious.

Honestly, the specifics elude me at this point. The short version is that I found it a real grind to sit through.

Oh, but also, the main narrative of the film is interspersed with the kids talking to the camera, relating things they learned from White Teacher, and one kid talks about how Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk, and at his trial used the Twinkie defense (I guess were meant to conclude that the kid is reading this, because then he looks off-camera and says something like, "Are you kidding me!?"). The thing that bugged me so much about that scene is that White Teacher apparently didn't think it was necessary to teach the kids that white also murdered George Moscone. Because Moscone wasn't gay, it's not part of history. Or it's not important history, anyway.

Fox said...

Greg-

To me, Half Nelson is an ill-conceived white-hipster fantasy about freeing the minds of inner city children through unchecked leftist propoganda. Why "propoganda"? Because Gosling delivers the lessons as if they are talking points he just gathered from buddies down at the ol' angry coffee shop on the corner. The scenes are distressing and embarrassing because they are so measured in what they are trying to be.

That, and it has some silly druggie chic to it. Gosling is like a glamorous crackhead.


P.S. I have an old review of Half Nelson on here, but I have a phobia of pulling old stuff b/c I'm nervous to read it b/c I often get embarrassed by reading my own stuff after about a week... but if you searched for it, you could find it.

Fox said...

And also what Bill just said... he said it better, and pointed out the irritating asides to the camera that I had forgotten about. OY!

Greg said...

The thing Bill said sounds like it would bug me too, about Harvey Milk and George Moscone.

I know it would because I was one of the few people irritated beyond belief when Will Smith started talking about Bob Marley in I am Legend like he was a god of some sort. I'm sorry, I'm sure I'll piss off his fans and rest assured I like his music but no dumbass who avoids modern medicine because of his religion and therefore leaves his children fatherless is a hero to me. More of an ignorant jackass.

Of course, Smith doesn't mention that in his saintly homage to Bob. Doesn't mention that simply having his toe amputated after the cancer formed there after he broke it would have saved his life but Rastafarianism says no to amputations so his children lose their dad. I still get pissed off thinking about that.

Fox said...

Greg-

See... I didn't even know that about Bob Marley. I don't care for his music, so I've never really read up on the guy, but that's a good example of lazy Hollywood deification.

And you know what else, I never connected the fact he is playing Bob Marley's "Legend" in I Am Legend. Eek!

Greg said...

Or how about the five commercial for SHREK when the mother and kid show up? Man, I just wanted to punch the screen in at that point.

Greg said...

That should read five minute commercial for SHREK.

Fox said...

At least Alice Braga was in it... oh la la!

Pat said...

I've had a borrowed DVD of "Half Nelson" lying around for,oh, a year and a half or so now, and I still haven't watched it. Perhaps I haven't missed anythig.

Fox said...

Save it for round 2 of TOERIFC, Pat! :)

Jason Bellamy said...

Well, I don't have time for a full on debate, so I feel like I shouldn't even dip a toe here -- I don't like to hit and run. But ... since people are piling on Half Nelson, a few comments:

I think it's terrific. And just one of the reasons that I think it's terrific is because I don't think it's about what Bill and Fox have said it's about.

Half Nelson appeals to me on many levels, but most of all it blows me away with its multiple depictions of addiction. I'm sad to say that I've seen addiction up close. I'm not sure I've ever come across a film that understands addiction and its ripple effect as well as this film. Having said that, much of Half Nelson's brilliance in this department is subtle, inside-baseball stuff that if you haven't stared into the face of addiction, you probably wouldn't recognize.

I've seen Half Nelson at least five times now, and I don't think it makes a case that he's a tremendous teacher. I think it shows that he could be and sometimes is a tremendous teacher. But drugs rule his life. And so it goes.

My review of the film doesn't address these points as well as I would have liked (I remember being rushed back when I wrote it), but I provide it here anyway, just to offer a different perspective.

While I'm here ...

* My problem with Armond White at this point is that I don't think his singular voice is genuine anymore (assuming it once was). I think he sees himself as some Batman-esque hero/vigilante (though he'd vomit at that label).

At this point, he's an instigator not because his opinions instigate but because he looks to instigate and writes accordingly. The guy would have crucified the latest Indiana Jones flick if it was released under any name other than Spielberg's. But White has backed himself into such a corner that he likes the challenge of fighting his way out. And that makes for entertaining copy sometimes, but it isn't genuine, and that takes away the thrill for me when he makes arguments I agree with. He's become a caricature of himself. That's my take.

* I can't relate to getting so worked up over the celebration of Bob Marley in I Am Legend, which I hardly even remember. I have no quibbles with the criticisms offered of Marley. But the fact is that people do celebrate him. I'm not sure why that makes it a fault of Hollywood to have Smith's character have a fondness for the guy.

Greg said...

But the fact is that people do celebrate him. I'm not sure why that makes it a fault of Hollywood to have Smith's character have a fondness for the guy.

I agree Jason, I don't think it's a fault in general but in this movie I do. Mainly because 1) his character is a Dad who lost his daughter and 2) he's a scientist. So, Dad Scientist is celebrating, in a speech that really deifies Marley by the way, a guy who rejected science in favor of superstition and as a result abandoned his children. The whole thing seemed the absurd and naive ramblings of Baby Boomer fanboy screenwriters.

Fox said...

Hey Jason-

The guy would have crucified the latest Indiana Jones flick if it was released under any name other than Spielberg's....

Maybe. I have, at times - while reading one of his reviews - thought that White was just carrying water for a favorite director, but then he convincingly backs up his allegiance. I think he's genuine.

Does he have a bias? Sure, but we all do in specific areas.

It would be difficult to find a negative word he's said about Spielberg since... well, I don't know when... but I know he's gone after other hardcore personal faves like DePalma, or, even turned around and given high praise to someone he routinely slays (like Guy Maddin).

I don't find him to be an instigator, just a lone voice. I would agree that he can get unnecessarily nasty at times, but I don't think he's a calculated contrarian the way others do.