Thursday, December 22, 2005

"With all the folks at home"

In just a few short hours, I will begin my travel hell. Actually, the travel won't be bad...the fact that I will be doing it on less than 4 hours sleep (after a day of sheer exhaustion) will be bad. I suppose the likelihood is higher that I will sleep on the plane this way.

I think I am feeling a wee bit better today. No uncontrollable sobbing. I actually had my head turned by a lovely young mother today (is it legal for new mothers to look so good?), and in other ways have noticed a return of my libido. Also, I laughed genuinely and pulled myself enough out of my fog to be able to see what a fog I've been in. Small bits of progress.

On financial fronts, there's strong evidence that we are supposed to get a bonus at work sometime...let's all hope that it wasn't the $10 Starbuck's card that I was handed last week.

But now's the time not to be dissecting my life, but to be picking apart someone's cherished film project. And this week, I have none other than the Saint of Wiliness...Urban Fox. Have at it Foxy!

The worst film I have ever seen is British. It narrowly pipped the execrable 'Batman & Robin' to the no. 1 slot. I paid to see it at the cinema. It is... wait for it... the atrocious, the abominable, the appalling... 'Sliding Doors'! (Or, as it's called chez Fox, 'Sliding Bores'. A-hur-hur-hur. You see what I did there.)

Anyway, back to the review. Sliding Doors - yup, you got me - is about a woman who gets on a train, and also doesn't. We see her life unfold in two different ways: one way she is bored and has long hair, and in the other she goes out with John Hannah and has her hair cut short (into the most requested haircut of 1998, hair fact collectors). There's more to it, but not much more.

I thought I'd enjoy this film, as I'm obsessed with the concept of parallel universes and probability and multiple life options. I was also wrongly attracted by the fact that the storyline was nicked wholesale from Krzysztof Kieslowski's genius film 'Blind Chance'. Sadly, I spent the entire viewing cringing and lamenting the fact that I was British. It managed to epitomise everything that is WRONG about so many of Britain's parochial, twee films, without any charm or style whatsoever. I'd have had more fun staying in and defragmenting my hard drive.

Oh, how do I hate thee, 'Sliding Doors'? Let me count the ways. No wait, that'd take too long. OK, here are the top 5 things I hate most about it.

1. John Hannah. Everything about his performance irks me, from his nondescript face to his smug asymmetrical smirk. As a casting error, this one is glaring. For a
start, the idea that John Hannah could pull Gwyneth Paltrow at anything other than gunpoint is laughable. I'm not just talking about looks; the character's an irritating imbecile. Paltrow's character is two-dimensional and limp, but not punchable.

2. John Hannah reciting the Monty Python script verbatim in a pub while his friends laugh until their organs rupture. You can see what the idiot director (Peter Howitt, who played peroxide village idiot Joey Boswell in 'Bread', 80s Britcom fans) was thinking: "Hey, we're British. We have all this great comic heritage. Hey, you
know what? I could get my hero to quote Monty Python with his mates in the pub! That'd make him look cool and popular and hilarious!" No, Peter. As with all sentient beings, reciting Monty Python scripts in pubs makes a person look like the most eminently avoidable office geek-bore on the planet. ("I'm maaaaad me, totally ker-AZY! Sometimes I pour the milk in WITH the teabag still in the cup! WOO!")

3. Spurious references to the Beatles as a way of saying 'Hey, this film's Briddish, Yanks. You like us, remember? We used to be interesting. Tell all your friends this movie's great.' (see above) If I may quote directly: "Everybody's born knowing all the Beatles lyrics instinctively. They're passed into the fetus subconsciously along with all the amniotic stuff. Fact, they should be called 'The Fetals'." Yeah,
thanks for that. Zzzzzzzzz.

4. The sort of dialogue that leaves you chewing off your own fist in sheer
embarrassment for everyone involved in the making of this farrago (again, see above). An example: "I'm trying to be your girlfriend Gerry! I'm trying to win you back! I'm standing on the platform at Limbo Central with my heart and soul packed
in my suitcase waiting for the Gerry Fucking Express to roll in and tell me that my ticket is still valid and that I may reboard the train. Only the station announcer keeps coming on and telling me that my train has been delayed as the driver has suffered a major panic attack in Indecision City, "We suggest you take the bus"! That's what I have been trying to do, you cripple!"

5. Casual sexism dropped in by the scriptwriter - who is, you'll never guess, also the director - in the vain attempt to be witty. Witness this: "Gerry, I'm a woman! We don't say what we WANT! But we reserve the right to get pissed off if we don't get it. That's what makes us so fascinating! And not a little bit scary." Can you ever imagine a genuine real life woman saying something like that? No, because it sounds like the sort of laboured, artificial remark a lame-o scriptwriter might write if he had a rampant, vaguely misogynist ego and no ear for dialogue whatsoever. Bingo!

All in all, this film is marginally less entertaining than a coma. If you have a spare evening and someone offers to lend you this film, I suggest you pluck your eyebrows or something instead. Or defrag your hard drive. Don't give this celluloid atrocity two hours of your life.


I like numbered points! A passionate denunciation, if I've ever heard one. Can anyone muster up a defense as passionate?

Tomorrow I change time zones...


Aravis said...

I don't know about passionate, but I'll say that I liked it. I didn't have the same problems with it that Fox did. I enjoyed how they did the parallel universe, and I like John Hannah. He isn't classically handsome, no. But he has a quirky charm that I find appealing. I'd agree about that short hairdo, though. It did become quite popular. I didn't find the movie to be sexist, either. It's been a long time since I've seen it, but as I recall the woman who says those things was depicted as not a nice woman at all, and not to be taken seriously. I could be remembering wrongly, though. Unfortunately, I've known several women who have uttered like words however, so I could see why the director would mock. That type of person has it coming, I think, male or female.

Fox's other problems seem to be centered on how the film feeds into British stereotypes. I'm not the best person to argue that either way, so I won't. I can only assume you know yourselves best. :0)

So I liked the story and didn't particularly have a problem with the actors. I seem to recall that Paltrow's boyfriend had a hilarious friend that he'd meet at the pub. And I liked the way they brought the two storylines together in the end. I must admit it startled me at first. Yes, I've seen this film more than once. But Fox, you'll be glad to know it's almost unheard of here, so the damage was minimal. ;0)

But then, I'm fairly easy-going when it comes to movies. If you had asked about books, I could go on about how I hate Moby Dick until I was as tiresome as that pestilent novel itself was...

Mark said...

it's not, in principle a bad film, but yes, it has more faults than San Andreas

spinsterwitch said...

"more faults than San Andreas."

I like that (although, technically, the San Andreas is one very long fault...but I've only had 3 hours of sleep, so I'm a bit literal this a.m.).

LavaLady said...

Young mother's are delightful, I must agree. Hope your trip is pleasant and you get your sleep!

Mr-Mystic said...

I don't think it is a fabulous film, but defintely not as bad as its painted here.

How can you equate it with Batman and Robin? Two completely diferent genres. Batman and Robin was a kids film, Sliding doors is defintely not a kids film.

Ps as for John Hannah pulling Gwyneth Paltrow, she is not exactly super gorgeous herself. Having said that and having met her in person she does have an undeniable charm.

the urban fox said...

Oh, good lord. I don't "equate it with" Batman & Robin. I mention both films because I hate them, and I am pointing out that I hate Sliding Doors marginally more. What's genre got to do with Spin's 'Least Favourite Film' feature anyway?

Secondly, I said the Hannah/Paltrow mismatch was NOT just looks.

Thirdly, whateverrrrr. Heh.

Spinny, hope you're having a stress-free time today & that your luggage has turned up. Poor kitten. I have texted St Christopher to ask him to keep a closer eye on you, 'K?