Friday, June 1, 2007

Taking Inventory as of May 31

It was another slow month...since the last inventory, I have only seen three films.

Going Under; (2004) - Official Website
Waitress; (2007) - Official Website
The Prodigy; (2004) - Official Website

The Prodigy showed at the 2005 Hole in the Head but I didn't see it then. Dead Channels sponsored a director's cut at the Roxie last week.

Waitress is a sweet film from the late Adrienne Shelly which was fifth at the box office last week. I spoke a little about her death in the last post. The film is a small gem. I read a film review that said Waitress portended great things from Shelly. I don't necessarily agree with that statement but that shouldn't be interpreted as a negative opinion of the film.

The eponymous waitress is played by Keri Russell. She plays Jenna, a small-town waitress that is married to a lout and regretfully pregnant with his child. She impulsively jumps into a passionate affair with her obstetrician. As her pregnancy and ardor progress, Jenna becomes despondent as she faces her limited choices. Jenna's ultimate haven is baking pies. In voice-overs, she christens the pies with names like Abusive Husband Pie - start with bittersweet chocolate, crush it into the crust, etc. She also starts an open letter to her unborn child which makes clear her resentment of her baby because she is now permanently anchored to Earl, her possibly unstable husband. (Did I mention this film was a comedy?) I found the voice-overs to be mildly annoying but the rest of the audience seemed amused by them.

The strength of this movie is in the small scenes between the characters. In addition to Jenna (the reluctant mother-to-be), there are the two other waitress - Becky (married to an older invalid; vaguely slutty) and Dawn (Adrienne Shelly as the mousy blonde who finds true love with a nebbish neurotic). Andy Griffith plays the cantankerous restaurant owner with a heart of gold that serves as Jenna's mentor. Nathan Fillion plays the awkward OB/GYN. Jeremy Sisto, as the husband, gives a tour de force performance that commands attention every minute he is on screen. The interactions between these characters are funny, painful, endearing, & illuminating. This film is a slice of life (pun intended). If you are looking for quick thumbnail description, call it deep fried Like Water for Chocolate with a strong surface similarity to Alice.

Speaking of Hole in the Head. The 2007 festival kicked off tonight at the Roxie with Stagknight.

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