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Tag: phillip seymour hoffman


Last night I headed down to the new Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane location, since movie tickets were two bucks during this week’s soft open of the theater. It’s way out of the way for us, particularly coming from work, but seems reasonably convenient for South Austin peeps. Take Mopac south to the first traffic light and turn right, then immediate left. It took twenty minutes flat to come home at 12:30 AM. Kind of late? Well, cheap movies, so I caught a pair of them. Oh look, the title of this post is a bad joke. Look, they were both set in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it’d be way amusing to watch a motion captured Andy Serkis in an Oakland A’s uniform.

Moneyball was pretty good even if it was a touch fictionalized. Pitt was great, as was Hoffman in a nice supporting role. The one scene where Jonah Hill is desperately keeping up with Pitt and Hoffman is totally worth the price of admission. I’d love to know what Soderbergh would have made of it but I am totally content with what we got. Also, that was an entirely funny caricature of John Henry.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was kind of conflicted. The first hour or so is a pretty rough drama about the horrors of animal experimentation plus a really good performance by John Lithgow. Then there’s this magical point where my disbelief ceased to hover lightly in the air, and I’ll even spoil it, because it’s awesome. Caesar is in primate jail, and he’s having trouble adjusting. You know what it’s like being the new kid on the cellblock. So he gets kicked around a bit, and when he’s brooding back in his cell, he looks up at the orangutan across the way. Lo! Maurice the orangutan signs, “Hurt bad?”

Caesar is shocked, because whoa, another ape knows sign language! So he signs, “You know signs?” I’m wondering exactly the same thing. Maurice signs back, calmly, “Circus orangutan.” Clears it all up: everyone knows that circus animals are always taught ASL. Me and the shards of my disbelief will be over here snickering wildly. The movie doesn’t get any more believable from there on in. It stays enjoyable, though! It’s just a different movie in the second half.

The Savages

One hour and twenty-three minutes into The Savages, someone does something kind for no reason other than to be kind. No guilt is involved. It’s a simple act of kindness. It’s the first time that happens in the movie, and it’s close to the last time.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance here. The category was Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy. His fellow nominees included John C. Reilly in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

The trailer is not exactly an accurate depiction of the movie.

Hollywood marketing is weird.

All that said, it’s an interesting movie. The structure — it’s minimalistic and it’s not innovative or new. Alienation and the aging process suck; there’s only so much you can say about that. The right thing to do is to get actors of the caliber of Linney and Hoffman and put them in a more or less predictable script. That works, because it’s worth watching two hours of those two painfully not bonding over the mortality of their father.

It’s also worth watching Philip Bosco as the father, mind you. He doesn’t have a lot of physical mobility to work with, and in fact I think he’s in bed for most of his screen time. He still conveys the frustrated intelligence of a man who’s fading away and knows it. The sequence in which he and Linney fly from Arizona to Buffalo is intensely painful: nobody talks to him. He’s treated like furniture, by everyone, including his daughter, and it’s humilating; all the more so because he isn’t sure he’d remember if someone did tell him where he was going.

Until the final ten minutes or so, I was going to give Tamara Jenkins credit for not using the tragedy as an excuse to solve the problems of the siblings. Then the siblings break through both their emotional barriers and move on with their lives in appropriate fashions. Plus a dog’s life is saved, which is more schmaltz than I think the movie needs to support. So partial points for omitting all the heartwarming scenes where Linney and Hoffman cooperate to take care of Dad, because that never happens; big deductions for the nice bow that ties it all together at the end.

It’s still not any kind of a comedy, no matter what the Golden Globes say.