Wednesday, April 29, 2015

If you tell anyone, this empire collapses.

What you're reading right now - this is me. More than anything else, Two Dollar Cinema best represents who I am as a person. I'm no artist, not by any stretch, but sadly, this site distinctly expresses who I am. And as the hours add up (and the pageviews trend down), I find myself thinking more more about I much time I spend here, toiling away in obscurity.

Wouldn't it be great if the whole world could see my work? Of course it would. I would do anything for that kind of exposure. Even take your name off of it? Give the credit entirely to someone else?

Bullshit. Sure. I could live with that. The Hell I could. I just want to share what I do with the world. And bask in their adoration, you sonuvabitch.

Big Eyes, from director Tim Burton, recounts the tumultuous life of painter of Margaret Keane, who for years sat idly by as her husband took the credit for her work. Though the story is compelling and (quietly) infuriating, the film itself seems to be oddly similar to the children Keane so often painted: eerily lifeless.

Playing the aforementioned plaintiff and defendant husband and wife, is the capable duo of Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz. Clearly the strained chemistry is the point, but as the focal point of the film it can be a tough watch when the couple has this little on-screen chemistry. Have you ever seen your grandparents kiss? Well, that shit is about 900% hotter than any moment between these two passionate artists.

If you can get beyond the somehow lifeless pairing of two of the best actors working today, you may have an alright time. I think my wife enjoyed it much more than I did, but in an insane reversal of fortunes, I was the one falling asleep. Sad, I know.

We begin with Margaret getting the Hell out of Dodge, or wherever she was from, and heading to North Beach, California. Margaret is divorcing her husband, and in the process committing the ultimate sin of entering the workforce with a vagina. Potential employers look at her like a freak, as if a woman could actually have a job. Obviously, even after she meets and falls for Walter (Waltz), and he takes credit for her work, this trend of narrow-minded men expecting zero from a mere woman continues.

I like Adams, I do, but sometimes she looks as if she's playing dress up.
This systemic subjugation of women is powerful stuff, I'm quite positive, but these interesting themes never seem to really amount to much. It feels as if Burton and Co. are playing it impossibly safe. Sure, the story may not lend itself to any kind of grandstanding (as everyone involved appear fairly timid), but I find it hard to believe that there was any awards buzz around Big Eyes at all. It's all rather unoffensive, but it's hardly anything noteworthy either.

Speaking of a distinct lack of note, here are the Yays and Boos. They too long for the proper amount of credit for their life's work, but when they really don't contribute anything...but it's kind of hard to put a value on both jack and shit.

Terrifying? Without a doubt. Awesome? Yep. It's that too.
  • Early gigs. I'm pretty sure they don't make baby cribs like they used to. 
  • My homeland. Hawai'i kind of, well, always looks beautiful, but somehow they make it look even better (Hell, even the Jehovah's Witnesses are better there).
  • Put your hands together for that loveable gent, Jason Schwartzman, Here, he's playing the snarky gallery owner, Ruben.
  • Walter may have been a first-class dickhole, but I admire his ingenuity. Renting the walls in a club was a pretty bad ass idea, even for a guy routinely dressed as a homosexual Hamburgular.
  • Dan Cooke! Dan has been a local news reporter in Hawai'i for probably twenty years. And here? Well, he nails the role of Reporter #1 with Kamehameha-sized cajones. Bravo!
  • And finally, even though I thought it lacked the right amount of courtroom drama, I love the way this (mostly true?) story plays out. The judge is like f--k this. Let's paint.
Did you ever see that 'ghost' in Three Men and a Lady?
  • I've been showing Big Fish in class. When Tim Burton's name comes on screen, the kids shout (excitedly): that's the guy who made Alice in Wonderland. That's also the moment when my soul falls out of my ass.
  • You know that game at camp, the one where you spin around on a bat ten times and then try to run back to your teammates? Well, if you happened to that in the vicinity of this film, you would 100% believe that Kristen Wiig was the lead actress. No, really. Try it.
  • Wait, terrif was a word in the 50's? Really?
  • Were we really supposed to believe that Margaret's daughter didn't know what was going on the whole time? I mean, she kind of posed FOR ALL OF THESE.
  • I don't recall the scene, but I wrote that someone was an 'art critic/fork-stopping ninja'. Sounds like a Boo, right? Right?
  • And finally, I'm a Waltz fan, your a Waltz fan, Hell we all love this guy. That said, I'm pretty sure this is as close as I've ever seen him veering into the land of the unintentional comedy. Yikes.
When I wrote the rough draft of this post on paper, I wasn't concerned with getting credit for its creation. Then, when I typed it up, the last thing on my mind was endless praise and confirmation of a job well done. And as I compose these last few lines, I realize that I do this for one reason.

Because I love it.


  1. It's a shame that this movie turned out to be bad because Adams and Waltz have been on good movies recently. I don't think I'll be seeing this in the near future.

    1. Good call on passing on this one. You'd be better served to watch any other film either actor has been in, then spend two hours with both of them.

      At least here, anyway.

  2. The fork thing was when Waltz was furious and was trying to attack someone who gave him the bad review.

    The film was so bad. Waltz was beyond ridiculous - that courtroom scene was so awful - and Adams was bland, cannot believe she won a Globe for this. And that scene with matches was so unintentionally funny.

    1. Ha! Thank you very much for reminding me about the fork thing. Well, sort of. It's like a half-thanks.

      I recall you essentially hating it during a RF, but I don't know if I would go with 'so bad'. It wasn't good or anything, it was just harmless and uninspired. I still liked the story (the real one) enough to stay awake.

      (for the most part)

  3. I keep hearing that Waltz is revoking Oscar bad. I have this in my Netflix queue somewhere, so I'll see it, but my expectations will be low. Great review!

    1. I think they should take the Oscar back for a week, just so he knows that we're not f--king around.

      How low can you go?

  4. Waltz's Oscar should have been revoked when he refused to take on any role that wasn't a variation of the one he's famous for.

    I didn't hate this. It was good, not great, but certainly needed tempered expectations when viewing.

    I love that Alice in Wonderland makes you shit out your soul.

    1. Poor Waltz. It's funny how quick it can all go away. Maybe he should do another one of those roles where he's basically playing Quentin Tarantino. Those I like.

      I'm with you in this second part. Low expectations are a prerequisite. Very low.

      F--k me, I bought that movie. Like, I OWN THAT MOTHERF--KER.

    2. Time for a yard sale.

  5. "a guy routinely dressed as a homosexual Hamburgular." Thank you! That's the first time I've laughed out loud today. Clearly I need to spend less time on housework and more time ON YOUR BLOG. (Especially since spending a whole Sunday on housework makes my soul fall out of my ass.)

    I was underwhelmed by this movie too, but I thought Adams was quite good. I hated Waltz's performance, but after reading about the real-life Walter Keane, I began to wonder if the guy really was that ridiculously over-the-top. I now think I may have judged Waltz a bit too harshly, but I'm not sure. He needs to work with Tarantino again to get his mojo back.

    1. Yeah, Sunday is pretty much the same around these parts, too. So much so, I almost hate Sundays more than a weekday. Almost.

      'Underwhelmed' might be putting it mildly, but I think we're on the same page regardless. But, it's a good point you bring up. Maybe Keane was really that much of an a-hole and Waltz simply nailed it. That's honestly easier to believe than Waltz flat-out sucking, as it appears initially.


  6. Thank you. Waltz was unbelievably bad in this movie, despite the most fervent attempts by Adams to keep the whole enterprise afloat. It was kind of a "Twilight Zone" experience because he was SO DAMNED GOOD in "Inglorious Basterds" (the opening scene with the farmer is enough to send chills down your back) that I could scarcely believe it was him shitting all over this production. I mentioned Waltz's awful mugging to an online actor friend and he said Waltz was 'incredible.' Incredible? Incredibly turd-tastic, maybe :/

    I actually enjoyed "Alice in Wonderland" (although I will readily admit it's no classic) but I truly believe this was like, %100 times worse. Watching Waltz chew up the scenery in the courtroom scene was like stepping into a really strange, awful sitcom where all that's missing is the fake laugh-track. The scene where he's throwing matches at his wife was pretty funny. If they had gone for overt black comedy like the Martin Freeman hammer scene in my favorite TV show, "Fargo" ("are you going to hit me with that thing?") it would have been a lot better.

    1. I think 'turd-tastic' may have been the original title of this film. I'll check IMDB.

      So you're the one! I think we could argue till the end of time which flick in question is worse (Adams alone makes Big Eyes marginally better, as far as I'm concerned). But, I will agree with you on the laugh track bit. All we needed was a freeze-frame, a chorus of AWWWWW, and we'd have been golden. On the next episode of BIG EYES, Walter finds out...he's a dick!.

      *cue the laugh track*

      (or the crickets)

    2. LOL Can you believe I opted to see this catastrophe in the theater and reluctantly 'settled' for "Foxcatcher?"

    3. I managed to miss both of those theatrically. Which is good, because Big Eyes would have infuriated me, and Foxcatcher...likely would have sent me into a coma.

      I think it took two attempts at home. It sucks getting old.

    4. Really? :P I found "Foxcatcher" riveting. I swear everyone in the theater was dead quiet at the climactic murder scene at the end, Surprising performances all around.

    5. It was riveting, but you give me anything that quiet and I'm bound to at least consider sleeping.

      Yikes. I can imagine that ending in the theater though. Library quiet, for sure.