About a half an hour into Solitary Man, Michael Douglas’s character does something unforgivable. He is suffering from manpain ™, we cannot begin to fathom how difficult his life is as a rich straight white guy, and clearly we should feel great sympathy as his world collapses around him. Except, he’s an asshole bringing shit down on himself, and I don’t really care *what* happens to him. His motivation is bullshit. Clearly not all the movies are made for me. More’s the pity.
It does have quite the supporting cast, including Susan Sarandon as his exwife, Mary-Louise Parker* as his current-ish fling, Danny DeVito as an old friend who is far too kind to him, Jesse Eisenberg** as an impressionable young college student, and Jenna Fischer as his far-too-patient daughter. Which was enough to keep me from just leaving, so there you go. But I probably would have been better served just going home and watching Wonder Boys instead.
The surprise movie at Wednesday’s SIFF volunteer appreciation party, The Hedgehog, was a slight disappointment because it’s showing as part of Best of SIFF this weekend, and I bought a pass for that. I had been hoping for Get Low, since the year before they showed the closing night film***.
On the other hand, it might be nice not watching three films in a row Friday night, and Wednesday was a fine evening for morbid (& creative!) French pre-teens, crotchety apartment managers, and adorable Japanese gentlemen. I quite enjoyed it, and can see why, with its rich cast of quirky-but-not-too-quirky characters, it won the audience award this year.
It’s beautifully shot; the action takes place almost entirely within the confines of a five unit luxury apartment building, and a chunk of it is filmed ostensibly by Paloma, an 11 year old girl who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday, and is passing the time until then by recording all the goings-on around her, on film and through other fabulous creative pursuits.
* Dear creative team: MLP is thin as a rail and smokin’ hot, and trying to insinuate that she might be “thick”, I believe the term was, or in any other way physically less attractive than some fit coed is cue for me to PUNCH YOU IN THE NOSE. Beware.
** I suspect that Jesse Eisenberg is always basically Jesse Eisenberg, but I would definitely rather watch him be that than watch Michael Cera be Michael Cera.
*** OSS-117: Lost in Rio, and BY THE WAY I do not understand how someone *cough*Roger Ebert*cough* thinks that IT is offensive, but stuff like Hot Tub Time Machine is perfectly acceptable. I have no experience with the early non-satire films or the pre-Bond books upon which they are based, and while it is true that there is a lot of offensive stuff in the new OSS movies, they are indiscriminate, being offensive to pretty much every population, and! Furthermore! The joke is *always* on Hubert for being so ignorant in the first place, and for being oblivious whenever his companion is horrified by him. Whereas in HTTM, if it’s a satire, it’s a failed one. We’re expected to *identify* with the leads, while they are in the throes of gay panic and/or delivering endless rape jokes. Um. No. Also, not funny.