Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) is the local hermit in a small American town in the nineteen thirties. When another local hermit dies, she is inspired to hold his own funeral, only while he is still alive. He wants to hear what people have to say about him, but perhaps he has a more important story to tell.
I enjoyed a lot of this film – it’s one of those gentle films that just moseys along, dropping bits of information here and there. It does everything it should reliably and well, with strong performances, but without the spark that makes some stories amazing.
For the book review of Carrie by Stephen King, click here.
Another horror classic that me, being a total wuss, has avoided until this day. And another that, thanks to advances in technology and special effects, I found laughable rather than freaky. Although when Sissy Spacek has blood over her face and does those freaky eyes… I’ll probably have nightmares of that.
Carrie is a girl raised by a crazy religious nut who gets her first period in the showers during a strange and romantically film sequence. Not knowing what it is, she thinks she is dying. The other girls in her class throw sanitary pads and tampons at her, and are punished. One in particular, Chris, who refuses to complete the detention, is not allowed to go to prom and plans revenge, unaware that Carrie possesses telekinetic powers and will destroy them all.
It was possibly budget constraints that contained Carrie’s wave of destruction to the school dance rather than destroying the whole town. The concept of the book was true in the film, but the film didn’t work as well on several levels. First was the soundtrack that was, at times, completely appalling. I can forgive the special effects as they were limited by technology at the time, but to have the opening sequence in the showers like some soft porn/cheesy romance was awful. It’s worth watching for a laugh, but don’t expect to get freaked out. Now, if I can bring myself to watch the recent remake, perhaps I may freak out.
Carrie was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Sissy Spacek) and Best Actress in a Leading Role (Piper Laurie).
After leaving her abusive partner, Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) takes advice from her friend Glory (Frances McDormand) and gets work in the mine. But she finds that the small group of woman who work there are putting up with appalling sexual harassment, from simple comments through to violent acts. Eventually, she can take no more and must try to stand up for herself, but faces the violent anger of the men of the mine who are annoyed and angered by the presence of women in the workplace.
It’s based on a true story, and it is surely impossible to watch this film without becoming angry. So much of the harassment that takes place in the workplace during the film could be seen as just jokes that the women should just laugh off – and indeed, much of the time they do. But it is horrible to watch just how nasty and abusive the men get – and that they feel totally entitled to act like this against the women and have full support of management, right to the top. It’s a heartbreaker of a film with fabulous cast.
North Country was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Charlize Theron) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Frances McDormand).
Sissy Spacek plays Holly, a fifteen-year-old in 1958 whose mother has died and her father has moved her to South Dakota to get away from the sad memories. There, she meets Kit, Martin Sheen, who is ten years older than her and is a juvenile delinquent. He takes a shine to her and they begin spending time together. When her father finds out and tries to keep them apart, Kit shoots him dead, and the couple go on the run.
The film is frustrating in many ways. Both of the main characters are immature, and annoying. When hiding out in a rich man’s house, Kit spends time spouting wisdom into a dictaphone. It’s ridiculous that he can feel he has this wisdom to share, but it says so much about the character. Arrogant, but immature. Then there’s Holly. She commentates the film, and is coldly detached from all that goes on around her. Perhaps it is the shock of her mother’s death, or a lack of self-esteem; whatever, she is a fascinating character to watch.
Recently, director Terrence Malick directed Tree of Life, a film which I am still unsure if I like or respect. Badlands has much of the beautiful cinematography of Tree of Life, along with the feel of 1950s small town America. But Badlands definitely wins out for me because it has a story and character and, well, a point.