Secret Pop

Feb 25, 2004


I have so many things to say about how disappointed I was in Mystic River that I almost can't compose my thoughts into a paragraph. I think I must have had a perplexed expression on my face for most of the movie, as I was continuously thinking, "Why is everyone raving about this picture?" There are some truly wonderful performances, yes. But there are also some glaringly horrible ones (that means you, Morpheus; and the over-the-top kid playing Sean Penn's character as a child -- someone, smother him with an oily rag), and the head who most clearly deserves a conk has to be screenwriter Brian Helgeland's for delivering some of the most unnatural, obvious, and clumsily expository dialogue I have heard outside of the Star Trek universe.

And there was way too much butter on the popcorn.

Again, I can only laud the actors who didn't suck, because the ones that didn't suck tipped the scales in the opposite direction. Tim Robbins has only further solidified himself in my eyes as an actor of the highest caliber. And Sean Penn's first big outburst nearly drew empathetic tears from me. But it's surprising how quickly your tears dry when you start rolling your eyes, which I did in disbelief when all those police were swarming on him. One of many maddeningly deliberate visuals in a two-hour parade of unconvincing happenstance. I thought there was going to be some big plot twist when it seemed that the "woman" calling Kevin Bacon throughout the movie had a moustache and the lipliner of a drag queen. But I didn't read the book.

But Sean Penn has great hair. And the sound of my frustrated fists pounding on the table in my brain is meant not for him but for Clint Eastwood. Show. Don't tell. Right? George Lucas and I share a birthday, but when he converted from being the evangelist of the hero's journey to the new church of inspid chatterbox moviemaking, we parted ways. Has Clint Eastwood ever dated Linda Ronstadt? Because she may be the secret link to all this ruination. I just saw Jerry Brown on television the other night, and he looks awful. Coneheadedly bald and pinched and haggard. This may be something worth investigating.

I don't want to overdo my panning, but I noticed a lot of people applauding Clint for having composed the music for the film. I didn't pay very much attention to it, but some of it was bare piano that was about as complex as that annoying little etude from Eyes Wide Shut. Who cares?

In a nutshell: Disappointed in the writing. Too much butter on the popcorn. Sean Penn is hot. Go, ye, into the world and do with this information as you please. Tomorrow, I will be seeing The Passion of the Christ, and I suspect I will have a bit to say about that, too.

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