I made mention of Paul Giamatti yesterday, and how, he is a rather average looking sad sack. He is also brilliant. Barney's Version is his shining moment. The film follows his character through 30 years, several marriages, death, despair, infidelity, illness and any other pertinent life experiences we all go through. Marriage and love are as much a protagonist as Barney himself. Mental note, go see the Farrelly Brothers' new movie should you want to keep it light. This film is, at times, a heavy downer.
Giamatti plays a film producer with a penchant for bad timing. He is in Rome socializes with artists and writers. He impregnates one of them and tries to do the right thing by marrying her. Bad move and ill timed at best. It does not end well.
He is set up with his second wife and precedes to fall in love with someone else at their wedding. REAL bad move. Or is it? Minnie Driver plays his second wife, and does an admirable job. The object of his true affection, Miriam (Rosamund Pike) dominates his brain adn heart. His persistence and passion for her culminates with marriage. And what have we learned about marriage?? It is far from easy. Children and infidelity and work and general chaos tend to blur the line. When you begin looking at life through complacent eyes danger is never far behind. As Miriam, Ms. Pike is striking and soft spoken. But pared with the lion that is Giamatti at times she seems lost and overwhelmed. Giamatti soars whether he is illiciting laughs, or tears, or rage. In a pivotal scene late in the 3rd act, he comes clean and pleads for Miriam to stay with him. I fail to remember a more genuine and believable performance in recent history. He captures all the pain, and longing, you feel as life is passing you by.
Dustin Hoffman has a nice turn as Barney's ex-cop dad. And Scott Speedman does a nice job as Boogie, Barney's troubled writer friend. This is a well crafted, well written gem of a movie. It will pack a punch and have you reaching for the Kleenex. But take the trip, you will not be disappointed.
A few things regarding the night... 1st, every time we go to Chatham's Roberts Cinema we are the youngest ones there by 30 years. That might be an exaggaration, but folks under 50 are not in love with "Art" films round here. Was curious why a couple decided to sit right next to us when the row behind us had NO ONE in it. Personal space is a big thing with me and they violated the movie etiquette. I was on the aisle so I guess I was not bothered that much. But for at least 3 or 4 minutes I felt bad for the Mrs.
And do we really need to see the animated piece telling us they have popcorn and soda and candy??? I just walked right the fuck by the stand!! I can smell. I can see. And, judging buy the demographic here, everyone here is at least 80 (save for me)!!!!! We know how movies work. Either have your wife bring in goodies in her enormous purse (we fit N in her purse the 1st few years of her life.) Or, you purchase overpriced goodies at theatre. Typically an underqualified teenager can help you with this transaction. And what of the trailers??? Why do we need so many of them these days? I can understand showing 2 or 3 clips of upcoming films. But the last time I went to Clearview there were 6 trailers. What really bothers me is they start the trailers at the movie's start time. Now, I have to watch commercials for Pepsi and AT&T prior to start time, then the trailers, then the movie. Excuse me, I paid a nice amount to get in here, play the fucking movie! Unless of course you want to help me pay the babysitter. I know I should be enjoying my time and the art that awaits. But, there are times I boil at the fact I am paying $12 bucks an hour to be watching commercials. I get it... loosen up and stop being a tightwad. Easy to do unless you make less than the babysitter. :-(
Must mention Trap Rock Brewery and Restuarant before I forget. We stopped in for a drink and some food after the show. Now, a more pretentious place you will not find. No hats at the bar please!! The last time I was there I was reprimanded for cursing, twice. Fucking douchebags. They do make good beer though. And last night was no exception. I sampled the Triple and had a few Porters. Outstanding. Should I have driven after that? Probably not. Should I have driven to another bar to have more drinks??? No fucking way. But, as my old sociology prof used to tell me, how else ya gonna get home? He did countless studies on drunk driving and more often than not most folks would list that as their reason. "How else did you expect me to get home? Do you think I want the hassle of getting my car tomorrow? Do I really want to pay for a cab when my car is right outside?"
Not really an endorsement for MADD, right? I still remember the night I drove home after bartending one night back in Pennsylvania. I am sure we closed up around midnight and pounded til 2 or 3. Ample doses of weed were clearly in the mix. Somewhere over the Susquehanna River, at around 60, 65mph, I vomited all over the steering wheel, dashboard, vents, you name it. T was probably working/drinking late too because I remember her walking into the apartment to find me in the tub cleaning all my clothes. I cannot imagine the image she saw. Made sense to me. I did not want to wake up to vomit smell in the apartment. Figured I would have enough of that in the car, which I did, for months.
She walked in and screamed in alarm. "What Happened??? Did you kill someone???"
Funny that was the first thing she thought of. "Yes dear, someone looked at me funny and I cut the fucker."
Not quite. Isn't it more plausible I was so drunk and out of control I got sick driving home??? Guess I have not really shaken some of these bad habits. I think I have matured enough that mainly I vomit watching dissarming movies. But, concert tonight in NYC. I will be driving.
Bowery Ballroom promises to be a good time. Headed out with some friends who have had their share of marital woes. Typical boy meets girl. Girl is worn down by boy. Boy gets good job. Girl leaves great career to start family. Twin girls appear. Boy carries on affair with co-worker while Girl is pregnant. Boy moves out. Girl takes boy back. Boy leaves job. And we all rock out to White Rabbits!!!