Monday, April 7, 2008

Movie Review Roundup

Bug is an incredibly interesting film about paranoia and what it does to people. I am still not sure what I think about this film over all. The film is based upon an off-broadway play by the same name that was written by Tracy Letts who also wrote the screenplay for this movie. The entire film takes place, basically, in a hotel room. Ashley Judd plays Agnes, an emotionally scarred and battered women. Harry Connick, Jr. plays her abusive ex-husband who has recently gotten out of jail and is still emotionally and physically abusing her throughout the movie. Finally, Michael Shannon plays Peter, a paranoid schizophrenic, who meets and eventually befriends Agnes. Most of the movie the only two people shown are Agnes and Peter. We see Agnes descend along with Peter into his paranoia of the invasion of bugs into his body and their hotel room. This is an amazing performance by both actors. I was amazed at how believable both Judd and Shannon are as two people who at first glance appear to be stable individuals and even ones who are creating a realtionship which will help both of them. We then watch them fall apart both physically and mentally and descend into a destructive spiral that consumes both of them. Harry Connick, Jr. performance as the abusive boyfriend is also amazing. He is not on the screen that much, but he does help to feed much of Agnes's paranoia and when he is on the screen, he is an intense and overpowering man. Although, we only see him hit Agnes once, we see that he still has much of an emotional hold on her. This is an awesome film about paranoia and two people's descent into their own private hell.

But I'm a Cheerleader is a 180 degree change from Bug. This film is a comedy about a young girl, Meagan played by Natasha Lyonne, whose parents think she is a lesbian so they send her to a "deprogramming" camp to get rid of her homosexual tendencies. Cathy Moriarty plays the camp director along with an out-of-drag RuPaul Charles as her male counterpart that helps the gay boys to get over their tendencies. This film is hilarious and makes me wonder if these deprogramming camps really do seem this incompetent. I am sure the real thing is much more religiously based and the whole Jesus can heal me thing, which in the movie is missing, thanks be to the Spaghetti Monster. But it does seem to be slightly contrary to take a bunch of hormonal homosexual teens and then put them into a same-sex camp bunk with no real supervision. I am sure this is totally opposite of what happens in real life, but in the movie this creates very funny consequences. There are also some great scenes of perpetuating the gender stereotypes like all the girls are taught to do is clean, while the boys are taught football, to chop wood and to work on cars. Sure the characters are all a bit stereotypically gay, but that is part of the whole cheesy appeal of this movie. There is also some great cameos by Richard Moll and Wesley Mann as a gay couple who are trying to provide the teens as an alternative to the deprogramming, basically being themselves and accepting their own sexuality. This is another of those really funny movies that I am not sure everyone has seen and yet, I think everyone should see, yes even those fundamentalists. May be they would realize that their delusions of trying to change a person are stupid and we should learn to just accept ourselves and those around us for the person they are.

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