July 11th, 2005

Pushing Daisies - Make This Stuff Up

The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival movie 1

Saturday night I went to see The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green. The listing from the festival site is here.

Okay. It was fun, but very light. I've never read the original comic strip, though I'd heard of it (it's one of those continuing strips, so if you aren't reading it regularly it's hard to follow and I'd only occasionally spot it in the Philadelphia Gay News...which I only got to see every so often when I'd happen to be in the city).

So, I went in not knowing the story or the characters. There were some surprises as far as some of the people that were in it: Meredith Baxter as Ethan's mother was a scream. The characters "The Hat Sisters" were strange yet funny and wise.

However, while I think Daniel Letterle is absolutely adorable and while I'm sure it's not his fault that he was directed in this manor, his over-the-top mincing was a little too much to bear. Alright, we get it. He's gay. But, does he have to flounce through the whole thing? None of the other gay characters were portrayed this way and I didn't get it.

I initially gave it a "very good" simply because it's hard to rate that first film you see. You don't want to be too harsh and you don't want to be too easy on it either. I knew that it didn't rate a "great", but probably SHOULD have gone with just "good".

EDIT: after seeing the stinking pile of poo that was "Say Uncle", I'd have to say that I'm glad I gave this a "Very Good".

Unless it's really cheap (under $10.00) or has an extraordinary amount of extras (it'd have to have nearly as many as those extended "Lord of the Rings" movies to sway me at this point), I don't foresee myself adding this DVD to my collection.
Friends - Phoebe - Thank You My Babies

Happy Endings - (Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival movie 2)

Last night I went to see Happy Endings. The listing from the festival page is here. Don't go to the offical website...too many major plot twists are revealed there!

Headlined by an incredible ensemble cast and helmed by director Don Roos, this is a wonderful movie. While some of the humor was reminiscent of "The Opposite of Sex" (Mr. Roos' directorial debut), the intertwining of the seemingly unrelated storylines and the darker subject matter reminded a little of Magnolia.

The on-screen narrator (word cards similar to a silent movie) is still snarky, much in the same way DeDee Truitt is throughout "The Opposite of Sex". Maggie Gyllenhaal's character, Jude, also seemed to me like a slightly more mature, perhaps world-weary version of DeDee.

The three interwined storylines each have their stand out performances: Lisa Kudrow and Jesse Bradford are both wonderful as Mamie and her blackmailer, Nicky. Maggie Gyllenhaal (who does her own singing throughout the soundtrack and is wonderful) and Tom Arnold are great as a mismatched couple. The third storyline, for me, wasn't nearly as engaging, but Laura Dern gave her usual incredible performance. Why don't we see her on screen more often?

Without giving away the surprises there is also an amazing screen moment only about a minute into the picture. The story doesn't let up from that moment, keeping all of these characters balanced quite delicately.

And, yes, true to the title, all the characters, in their own way, have happy endings.

Without a second thought, I immediately gave it a "great" rating. I don't regret it.

While I would prefer at least a commentary (and hell, deleted scenes, etc.), I'd buy this one completely bare-bones on DVD if that were the only way I could get it.