The Artist (For Helen and Dennicka)

Saw no reason to see it unless you were dating someone or had forgotten your wife’s birthday.  As far as I could tell, there wasn’t going to be any car chases,  explosions, or gratuitous shots of naked women in strip bars.  So why see it?  At best it would be ‘artistic’.  Blah!  At worst, it would ‘a unique movie experience’.  Barf.

I mean, come-on, it’s a movie in BLACK AND WHITE with no frigging sound!

It didn’t matter that most of my female friends had seen it and LOVED it.  I pointed out that their husbands/boyfriends had not gone with them, all being suspiciously sick that day, working or ‘caught in a hurricane’.   In fact, the more they said how great it was, the more I was convinced I would rather shoot heroin into my eyeball.

But I owed my friend, Helen.  She had endured Thor with me.  So, with nothing else to see but a truly nightmarish movie about teenagers having super powers and realizing they could rule the world, or some lame movie about a commune or  some absurd movie about an epic party, dude, a really, like totally epic party, I decided to give it a shot.

Sure enough, the movie theater was filled with young teenage couples.

NOT!

No, it was filled with a lot of women and a few couples, all of whom had likely received the senior’s discount.  Now, seeing a movie at 4 in the afternoon, that demographic is not, perhaps, odd but it certainly didn’t bode well in my mind for a good bit of rousing cinema.

But, you know what?  It wasn’t a totally, completely, utterly terrible movie.

Not at all.

In fact, it was pretty g..

Gahh.

Gooooe

Good.

That’s right, I said it.  Good.  Really good.

Excellent, even.

Yes, really.

The movie was clever and funny and had perhaps the most beautiful woman I had even seen on screen but it also had heart.  Somehow, they made a silent movie, complete with all the melodrama and excesses of the genre into something magical.

They started out brilliantly by having the hero shouting silently at the audience, the caption reading, “I will not talk!”   Captured by dark-hearted villains, he refuses to speak, to tell them anything, not now, not ever.

That set up the whole movie.  That made me think, ok, sure it’s in black and white and has no sound but these guys know their sh*t.

But for me the movie succeeded precisely why silent movies failed in the end.  The characters on screen even tell you this.  In the silent movies, they had to overact, to react to things with a ZOMG-WTF-ZOINKS look of astonishment.  It actually carried well into the talkies but with modern cinema, the close-up is king.  Great actors, great scenes, great moments have all been created by saying nothing (or very little) and letting the actor’s face show everything.

This movie did this more than any other.  It kinda had to.

So, guys, if you’ve done something wrong and need to atone, this movie will do it.  Say, “Hey, honey, why don’t we watch that movie you wanted to see?”  It’s a small price to pay.  You may even enjoy it.  I did.  Just don’t ever admit it.

And women, let them do it.   You’ll have company for a movie you’d otherwise never get him to see.

It’s the ultimate win-win.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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3 Responses to The Artist (For Helen and Dennicka)

  1. Silk says:

    Oh Joe Joe Joe! What a brave soul, going to a ladies’ movie. Now for a full and happy life, you must get in touch with ALL the chemicals in your body … not just adrenalin! I’m looking forward to seeing this one myself. But then, I would, wouldn’t I? Being a lady and all.

  2. bevcooke says:

    Loved this review, Joe. Made me smile, chuckle and want to see the movie – and I don’t generally like the “women’s” movies. Even though I am of the female persuasion.

  3. Michael says:

    I know I’ll like it, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe today, even. I think it’s just a bit sad that movies with some subtlety that focus on human relationships and real emotions have come to be labelled women’s movies.

    Oh, Joe, Joe, my blindly optimistic brother. I can’t believe your ability to convince yourself that any current CGI-driven blockbuster, or even action movie, will be one worth watching. You go and are disappointed nine times out of ten. In so many other areas of life you’ve got the Cummings pessimism: how did you miss it when it comes to movies? You were the genius that once said that not only do we Cummings think the glass is half full, but the beer has certainly gone flat and warm, and someone has probably peed into it. I hope I don’t sound pompous, but I think I’ll soon dig out my old John Carters (still have them somewhere boxed away with most of my fantasy books), make a large bowl of some latte substitute (I’m off coffee for Lent), and have half an afternoon reading on the deck.

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