December 29th, 2009
Failure to Launch
Sometimes I like chick flicks. They can be relaxing, light, funny, charming… like some of Hugh Grant’s better ones: Love Actually, or that one with Julia Roberts in it. Notting Hill.
But I made the awful mistake of putting on Failure to Launch, a gruesome piece of crap starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker.
McConaughey is a 35-year-old nobody who still lives with his parents because he’s too lazy and stupid to think of doing anything else. Parker has forged a career for herself prying mama’s boys like McConaughey out of the basement. She does it by making them fall in love with her, and then she dumps them. She does this for money.
These two pathetic losers naturally fall in love with each other. I can’t even stand to tell you about it, it’s just too horrible. I watched the whole thing and it made me feel like I was a loser too.
The only thing good in this movie is the performance of Zooey Deschanel (Elf) as Parker’s neurotic roommate. She’s funny and likeable, and she steals every scene she’s in. But she can’t make this movie worth watching.
The Virgin Spring
To cleanse myself I needed a strong dose of existential angst, a bracing dash of black-and-white gloom from the Swedish master himself, Ingmar Bergman. Here there would be no smarmy muscle boys, no sinewy cougars, no boy-men bitten by chipmunks, and for the love of God, no paintball.
The Virgin Spring slaps you like a cold north wind. Two young women live as sisters on a 13th-century Swedish farm. They are the golden Karin, blonde and virginal, and the dark, slovenly Ingeri, who is unmarried and pregnant. Karin rides to take candles to church, and on the way she is raped and murdered by two goatherds. Ingeri hides in the forest and watches and a third goatherd, a young boy, also watches. By chance the men try to sell Karin’s beautiful gown to her parents, and her father Töre takes his revenge.
That’s it. A lot of the time there isn’t even any talking. Much of the tale is told by the expressions on the faces of the actors, the way they stand in the shadows and the light. It is a profound and moving document of love and grief and the human heart.
It worked for me. I loved this movie, and I am cleansed of the stain of watching Failure to Launch. Pardon me while I whip myself with these birch twigs.