Friday, August 30, 2002

movie review - one hour photo - spoilers!!!

one of skippy's staff saw one hour photo recently. here are his thoughts: (warning, this review contains major spoilers, not only for one hour photo, but also the upcoming hannibal lecter film, red dragon).

not a great film, but, not a complete waste of time, either. however, at the end, i felt a little wanting. there just wasn't a great deal to it. you could pretty much guess every single move and plot point just from seeing the trailer. robin williams (who was good, by the way, understated and believable) played the guy who developed your film at a local discount store. he was obviously nuts, because he loved to make extra prints of one particular family's photos, and he papered the walls of his apartment with them. the other actors were good, too (eric la salle from er in a nice turn as a cop),

but, in the end, the question remained, why did i spend two hours watching this movie? the tension was palpable, the cinematography imaginative, the acting good all around, the sound track very intense; but, ultimately, there was no pay off. you knew robin's character would go off the deep end eventually. he did, with absolutely no surprises involved. and worse, he didn't even do anything really bad (except force people to simulate sex for pictures at knife point. ok, ok, that's bad, but there was no blood on the floor, if you get my drift).

it was as if the movie psycho was all about janet leight checking into the bates motel, with an hour of getting ready for a shower, then anthony perkins comes in, waves a knife at her, and breaks down crying "my mom was really really mean to me." then ted knight takes him away to the nut house (look it up, it was ted knight, the guy from mary tyler moore, in the police station scene at the end!)

big bad plot hole: one hour photo goes out of its way to let us know robin's been making copies of this family's pictures for 9 opened with the boy getting pics of his 9th birthday party developed. then, later, we see robin's smuggled snapshots of the pregnant woman, then of the little boy's baby pictures, birthdays, etc. but the trigger event that pushed robin over the edge was getting fired, because his inventory for film stock didn't add up. as gary cole (that's mr. brady to you), who played his boss, was ragging on robin, i wanted to shout out "dude! it's been 9 freakin' years! you just now checking the books? you should work for arthur andersen!"

one other thing that bothered me, from the first that i heard about this flick. the premise is totally stolen from the plot of red dragon, the book by thomas harris, where hannibal lecter makes his first appearance, and which is the basis for the upcoming movie of the same name, and the great michael mann flick called manhunter, starring william petersen, now gil grissom on csi. the nut-case killer in that story (not lecter, a different guy, there's plenty of nut-case killers in this one) is, get this, a guy who develops pictures and then stalks families based on the snapshots he finds. the only difference between this story and robin's movie is, this guy has the balls to kill people. now, that's entertainment!

looking forward to the new red dragon flick, although it takes place in time years before silence of the lambs and hannibal, so they'll have to do a fantastic make up job on anthony hopkins to make him look like a young man. and it will have to be incredible to beat out the 1986 michael mann version, which is full of tension and atmosphere, and actually has a pay off, unlike one hour photo.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

report on reno-mcbride-jones debate

from our correspondent in florida:

Reporting on the first and only Florida Gubernatorial debate between Daryl Jones, Bill McBride and Janet Reno, let me first dispense with a gratuitous sexual comment: Daryl Jones would be the hunkiest hottie governor of any of the 50 states!

Actually, Mr. Jones did very well in this debate, often outshining the other two candidates in the specifics of his plan for Florida, as well as his energy, enthusiasm and legislative experience (12 years in the Florida legislature). Unfortunately, I think he’s polling at fewer than 15%, but we can dream, can’t we?

Janet Reno, bless her heart, is so sincere about helping “the children,” but I don’t think she has a chance since she’s such a polarizing figure in this state. One word: Elian. But she did say, “No matter who wins the Democratic primary, we (the Dems) are united!” I am happy to hear this because the goal is to be Bush-free come November.

Then there was Bill McBride, who has been collecting endorsements from all over the state, from the state Democratic machinery on down to almost every major local newspaper, plus the teacher’s union and the AFL-CIO. I think maybe Janet Reno has the South Beach dance party endorsement locked up, but McBride is kicking her ass in this department. Mr. McBride has an impressive résumé himself: successful lawyer, decorated U.S. Marine, philanthropist and community activist who was not born with a silver Bush spoon in his mouth. And his two kids attend public school and haven’t been caught illegally drinking or taking prescription drugs!!

The centerpiece of this debate for all three candidates was education, which in my opinion, should be at the top of the list. Jeb Bush has done a horrible job with education. His main achievement has been to initiate the same ridiculous testing plan that his brother did in Texas, which basically has no benefit except to enrich the private firms who administer and grade the tests. He also brags about his unconstitutional vouchers for private schools – the only private schools accepting vouchers are so mediocre, no one wants to attend anyway.

I thought McBride stressed the educational issue the most and seems to have a strong, detailed plan for it. He actually mentioned it at the expense of other issues, but maybe he really could be the education governor in action rather than using it as a public relations slogan as the current governor does. He mentioned the real ways to improve education: reducing class size, stressing K-3 education to even the playing field for all children, and increasing teacher salaries to retain the best and the brightest. He said he was “not at all daunted by the funding issues” for education, even as he proposed a $1 billion (with a B) investment. Reno spoke in more sweeping terms about the importance of education, and Jones incorporated it into his call for a better-educated workforce to attract businesses and increase our economy beyond tourism and agriculture. Overall, any of these three candidates can whoop Bush’s candy ass on education (FYI: before Jeb and family moved to Tallahassee in 1998, his children attended a $13,000 a year private school in Miami – one that doesn’t take his crappy vouchers).

On the topic of seniors, Janet Reno made the point that in 20 years, 26% of Florida’s citizens will be over 65. Even though Medicare is a federal program, she pointed out that often the impetus for the U.S. Congress to take action comes from the states, and she promised to fight for a Medicare prescription plan. McBride said he supports Florida Senator Bob Graham’s Medicare prescription plan, one of three that did not make it through the U.S. Senate this summer. (The phone rang at this point, so I missed Jones’ stance on the senior issue).

Water seemed to dominate the environmental discussion, which is becoming an increasingly important issue here in Florida and the nation. Mr. Jones identified water as the “main environmental concern in Florida’s future.” I guess he should know -- he is chair of a committee in the Florida Senate on the Everglades. My ears always perk up these days when I hear about water because if Jeb Bush had it his way, this state would be privatizing water using an Enron subsidiary. Can you imagine privatized water? The rich people get nice clean purified crystal spring water, but the poor people get chlorine-enhanced worm juice. Maybe we’ll even go back to segregated drinking fountains. Those good ol’ boys up in the Panhandle would love that!

I think all three candidates presented themselves well, and certainly each one is more sincere, compassionate, intelligent and qualified than Governor Jeb Bush. Janet Reno’s speech is not as polished as it used to be, but that is probably due to the Parkinson’s. If I didn’t know the quality of McBride’s credentials, I might not have been too impressed by him. Not that he did poorly, he just seemed very rehearsed. And Mr. Jones is a high-energy, experienced speaker filled with lots of facts and passion. I predict one of these candidates who loses in the primary will be the winner’s lieutenant governor on the ballot in November, which will be an excellent synergy no matter which combination emerges (there’s 6 possibilities, by the way).

Over and out,
Kathie K. in South Miami