Saturday, February 08, 2014

Curb Your Plagiarism

The Plagiers were a simple people, living on a steady diet of rice and old shoes.  And other people's books... okay, I just made that up.  And copied it from Horse Feathers.  Somehow that seems worse than plagiarism.  God bless Wikipedia!  Why, they even have a small section on self-plagiarism, which I think we can all agree that Mr. Konigsberg... I mean, Woody Allen, is surely guilty of.
Let's leave his 2014 legal woes aside for a minute.  Allen's 2010 project is called You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.  In it, we have ... I lost count.  I think it's three couples going through the usual pains of couplehood.  Or, in Annie Hall terms, each couple has a dead shark on their hands.  Anthony Hopkins plays a character named Alfie (what's it all about?) who divorces his wife of 40-odd years, Helena, and hooks up with a girl with grandfather issues named Charmaine.  We see Hopkins pop a Viagra pill at one point, and he has to tell Charmaine, his very very young new wife "Just five more minutes."  Sheesh.  I wonder how Viagra feels about that?
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, we focus a bit on Helena's daughter, Sally, who's married to Roy, an ex-doctor turned... wait for it... WRITER!  The marriage of Sally and Roy has hit turbulent waters after having begun with a very sweet "meet cute" and much smooth sailing after Roy's successful first novel.  Alas, the work of writer is harder to tolerate than Sally had hoped.  To make matters worse, in a Rear Window-esque situation, Roy spies across the courtyard a younger, prettier girl to inspire him.
The gears of this machine grind out over the course of about 98 minutes... hmm!  It seems neither Woody or the Coens want to attempt a movie much longer than 2 hours!  I might be mistaken about that, at least when it comes to Woody... and No Country for Old Men, yes I know.  122 minutes.  Don't email me.  Anyway, the wheels turn and the kettle comes to a boil at the end just before the puzzle pieces settle in a semi-fresh configuration.  SPOILER ALERT: Sally's prospects aren't as rosy as she thought, at least in terms of finding new love.  Helena ends up with a like-minded partner, while we leave Alfie holding his head in his hands in grief at the huge mistake he's made.  And despite the shouting match that he missed, Roy ends up with his new muse Dia, played by the lovely young Frieda Pinto.  Maybe not Scarlett Johansson lovely, but close enough.  Roy and Helena find new happiness, but doesn't Roy deserve a few dark clouds on his horizon?  What's Woody trying to tell us here?  Get the divorce and find someone new?  What about the whole "love without lust" dilemma he once grappled with in his movies?  Is Woody trying to tell us to screw love, and get all the lust we can while we still can, Viagra-aided or otherwise?  In a slight twist on Jack and Sally in Husbands and Wives, no one decides to get back together with their old partners.
Anyway, I did like the guy who played the occult bookstore owner.  What a whimsical fellow.  He kinda doesn't fit in this movie somehow.  As for the narrator, well, I'm assuming Woody didn't get the narrator of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford.  That guy was pretty darn good.  Speaking of which, I've got an idea for Woody's 2015 pic!  Basically, it's a remake of Tall Dark Stranger, but the narration is taken from a nature documentary about gorillas!  You know, with Hopkins' character being the aging silverback chased out of the community by a younger alpha male gorilla on the make... that kinda crap.  A variation on What's Up, Tiger Lily?, if you will.  Like one of your earlier FUNNY movies, god damn it!... is that racist of me?  Probably, but at least I'm not getting into the sticky area of genetic "superiority."  Here, I'll balance it out thusly: what's the deal with American white supremacists?  They live in the forests of Idaho with sub-machine guns and no drivers' licenses.  You know, what superior people do.  And I don't see a lot of them on the cover of Vogue magazine, either.  Maybe the cover of American Toothless magazine, but that's about it.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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