Diamonds in the Rough


Every once in a while, I come across a really decent movie. What do I mean by decent? Well, it might be predictable and cliché, but can still be well-acted and have moments which redeem the whole film to me.

This last trip to the library I picked up a movie called Orphan. And it had a few diamonds in its rough.

Yes, it was predictable and cliché. Yes, they went ahead with the OTTBF, as all Hollywood movies seem to. And yes, there was that crappy, stupid, formulaic “Oh the killer’s not quite dead and makes one more lunge for the femme fatale!” moment at the end. And those things DID hurt the story, in my opinion.

But it also had a brilliantly scripted and acted scene in which a mother tells her deaf daughter a bedtime story in ASL. And the beauty of that moment, with a great subtle score and excellent cinematography made for a fantastic bit of celluloid (though I saw it on DVD so there wasn’t any celluloid to rate).

The rest of the movie was set off by bits – the creepy little actress’s performance was good, the tension building over the course of the movie, things like that – but it also fell down a lot. The way the parents fell apart didn’t fly in my book at ALL, and the disagreements they had were less than believable.

But there was that one bit, that one scene, which made the movie worth watching and enjoyable. It immediately endeared the audience to the characters and left them in position to root for the right people.

Another tidbit this weekend was called They Came Back. I picked it up thinking it was a French zombie film. What I found instead was something which held me in rapt attention all the way through.

I kept waiting for the chomp moment, for the horrific gore to spill over the screen, and instead I found a movie which told an interesting story about grief and loss and dealing with it. Very good stuff.

I also watched District 9, which, despite the ridiculous “oppression” statements, turned out to be pretty good, and just a touch sad. Well worth a watch despite the occasional gratuitous gore shot. The actors carried the day on this one.

Just little nuggets of good things found in what might otherwise look like a dung heap. And on that note, because I know how Hollywood is about everything, I am so skeptical about the American remake of Let the Right One In (called Let Me In) due out in October. The OTTBF especially frightens me.

Hope y’all have a great weekend.

-JDT-

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8 thoughts on “Diamonds in the Rough

  1. Yeah, District 9 was a pretty good movie.

    I was surprised how good. The mix of documentary style and cinematic style was sort of weird. I wish they could’ve found some way to stick with documentary style, really, but then you end up with something like Quarantine probably. Oh well. I was glad I saw it. 🙂

  2. I don’t like movies like Orphan.

    The funny part is, I generally don’t either. I wanted to see a couple of recent horror movies, but this wasn’t one of ’em. I picked it up strictly to kill time because I’d seen most of the other stuff at the library already. But it won me over with that one scene long enough to see the rest of it open-minded to the possibilities.

  3. I wish I knew what OTTBF was…I’m sure I knew at one time, but my skull contains mashed potatoes today instead of brains.

    Well, potato-head, it’s the Over-The-Top-Big-Finish, remember? Like Stephen King and Dean Koontz do. And ALL Hollywood movies do for the most part.

    I enjoyed District 9, although after the third time an alien exploded onto the camera lens, I just started laughing. That was gore for the sake of gore.

    Yeah, and honestly, I didn’t see the need for the gratuitous gore, either. The story was strong enough to justify leaving it out. Why lower the movie with that garbage? Still turned out all right though. 🙂

  4. Yeah, OTTBF has been bugging me all morning. What does it mean?
    Does it mean Only The Tired Breed Fish?
    Does it mean Once The Trilobyte Bought Food?
    Does it mean Omens That Track Bingo Frauds?
    Does it mean One Terrible Title Begets Foolishness?
    Does it mean Orangutans That Throw Back Feces?
    (Okay, that one’s my favourite.)
    Mine too, hands down.
    Does it mean Orange Trials Tomorrow, Bring Fruit?
    Does it mean Ooga Tooga Tooga Booga Fooga?
    Does it mean Ogre Tits That Breast Feed?
    This one’s not bad either.

    It’s “Over-The-Top Big Finish” officially, but I may just start using Orang-Utans That Throw Back Feces, because it sums up the idea quite nicely. QUITE nicely. Well done.

  5. I started watching this one day, but a tween was in the house and when we got to the parents in the kitchen scene, I decided to turn it off. But thanks for your recommendation; I’ll try again.

    Not entirely appropriate for all audiences indeed, but I thought it was okay (to a point) for grown-ups. Or supposed grown-ups. 😉 Let me know what you think.

  6. District 9 was a great movie, I was really surprised by it, the marketing for it was excellent, too. I hate when they give too much away. I love going in wondering “what the hell is this about?” and walking out thinking “d’amn!”

    It was all right, yeah. Not too shabby. I had fun. 🙂

  7. I will never watch Orphan. A friend of mine who is way tougher than me when it comes to horror movies said she had to watch it minimized on her laptop in a little tiny window because it was too scary in full-screen mode. Although, to be fair, she’s scared of mice (stand-on-a-chair-and-scream scared) and I’m not, so maybe I’m tougher. I mean, I don’t enjoy a mouse infestation, but when I was forced to live with mice, they were an irritant more than anything else.

    I have an adventure in which I screamed and jumped on high objects due to slathering, blood-thirsty, ravening mice. See this post for details.

  8. I have Orphan and District 9 in my Netflix Q, but I haven’t heard of They Came Back. I’ll have to make sure I get to them sometime in the near future.

    Honestly, I’m not surprised you haven’t heard of They Came Back. It’s a French film, so unless you follow foreign cinema, it probably didn’t make it onto your radar. Also, I don’t know what year it was made (and didn’t bother researching it); but if you do find it on NetFlix, it’s pretty good. Well … I thought so. But in part because it DIDN’T do what I expected. For others it might just be boring because it DOESN’T “go there”, I guess.

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