Saturday, May 14, 2011


Gentle Readers,

I was the one who felt blue after watching today's movies.

The first, Country Strong, was fairly enjoyable for a while although I'm not a country music fan. I really like Gwyneth Paltrow, though, and she was pretty good as a country singing star fresh out of rehab -- too fresh out of rehab to go on tour.

Singer Kelly Canter and her manager husband James (Tim McGraw) are not in a good place, and I don't just mean the tour bus. James, as a manager, has no problem taking Kelly out of rehab a month early; taking her to Dallas, where she had a terrible experience, to perform; and issuing orders to her that are ultimately to his benefit. James is even poorer husband material. He's physically and emotionally unavailable, but blames Kelly's problems on everyone but himself. When he shares a brief moment of intimacy with Kelly, he quickly retreats to leave her wondering and wandering.

The conclusion of this movie is really a downer. What I guess is supposed to be a happy ending for two characters doesn't score very high on the pleasure scale because what comes immediately before it is too overwhelmingly sad. It almost completely spoils the movie.

McGraw is the only country singer in the movie, but he doesn't sing. That's fine. I don't know if he's good anyway. If you really love Paltrow or McGraw or country music, then you might want to see Country Strong, but I don't recommend it.

After getting down in the dumps with Country Strong, I watched Blue Valentine. Big mistake. I shouldn't watch two sad movies in a row.

Blue Valentine chronicles the burgeoning romance between Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling), intercut with the tale of their disintegrating marriage. At first I had trouble figuring out what was going on, but I caught on after a bit. It just didn't grab me, although I thought Williams and Gosling gave excellent performances.

Part of the time I was bored; part of the time I was depressed.

It seems that the director used some interesting techniques, however. For example, Williams and Gosling didn't know each other well, so first they filmed the scenes when Cindy and Dean meet. Then the two actors went off and lived together for about a month and did mundane stuff like going grocery shopping and picking fights with each other. Then they came back and shot their scenes as a married couple.

If I had listened to the DVD commentary, I might have liked this movie better, but I just didn't have the energy for it after watching two sad movies.

I hope Netflix sends me something upbeat later this week. I can appreciate a sad movie when the performances blow me away or the director shoots the film in some interesting and unusual way.

But I prefer happily ever after.

Infinities of love,


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