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Notes from the back row

Human condition vs. the Monster Squad

"Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in." American Beauty. (1999).

Any movie with a line like that in it is my type of film. Sure, explosions, sex, blah, blah, it’s all very "special", and don’t forget, very marketable. But just like all other things that make the big bucks, it lacks meaning. But not this film, it’s jammed packed with the human condition. A brilliant screenplay, written by Alan Ball, that brings to life his vision of the world’s beauty that is overlooked by the common eye. The goal of the film was to get people to "look closer." I know I did.

American Beauty, which was Sam Mendes’s directing debut, won five Academy Awards in 1999, including best picture. Annette Bening superbly plays the role of Carolyn, a woman blindly trapped by her lifestyle alongside Kevin Spacey, her husband, who is struggling to find to a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Spacey starts to find humour in the world again, and begins to take control of his existence. Totally punk rock if you ask me. The scene when he quits his job, superb! I’m not going to get too into it, because apparently I’m not writing an editorial, but it makes you think a bit harder about dwelling on all the little things that ail you. Somewhat of a reality-check, even if it is just a movie.

I feel like I have no idea what to write about, you know, everyone is a critic, especially Whistler! All you artists and athletes and free souls. Jeez, get a real job why don’t you, you vagabonds. Oh yeah, you’re living the dream. I get it. Nice Work.

So I will write whatever the heck I want. Because Feet Banks will be back next week, and you won’t have to hear from me again, until he decides to go freak out in the desert again.

Back to the film review. Donnie Darko (2001). Yes, a personal favourite. I know, it played at Lost Lake this summer, but if you really care put down this paper. And if you love the film like I do, then you’ll read it. Donnie Darko. Apparently it’s a "classic psychological thriller," whatever that means. A story unlike any one I have ever encountered. Director and writer, Richard Kelly, takes you on a journey though the eyes of a "troubled" 17-year-old Donnie, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal, by the way, should star in every movie, all the time. And no, that is not favouritism. It’s being obsessive. All I can say is demonic rabbits, time travel and Patrick Swayze. I don’t know if that makes it sound good or horrible. But it has Joy Division in the soundtrack, so it rules. This film will make you question, well everything.

Another great pick for all you beautiful people out there, would be The Monster Squad (1987). Basically Count Dracula himself, along with Wolfman, Gillman (a sea creature lizard man) a mummy and Frankenstein are all on a mission to retrieve an ancient amulet from none other than, yes, you guessed it, The Monster Squad. These kids are badass. I wish I was hunting monsters when I was little. Kids are never that cool, are they? If you’re a kid reading this, form a monster squad right now. I’ll be the president. Call me.

When was the last time you watch UHF (1989)? Come on, you’ve all seen it. I’ve watched it 87 times, and counting. Our old pal Weird Al Yankovic plays a hyperactive daydreamer who can’t hold down a "real job." Sound familiar? Along with Michael Richards (Kramer, from Seinfeld) and Fran Drescher (the annoying voice chick from The Nanny) they run a UHF television station, and have to raise a ton of money to save it before it gets bought out by the big bad networks. If I watched TV, it would be this channel. Hey all you Whistler Cable boys, if you start producing shows like Conan that Librarian and Wheel of Fish. Pick up the phone.

You, me and The Monster Squad will do lunch.

At Village 8 Sept. 10-16: Before Sunset; Cellular; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Wicker Park; Vanity Fair; Collateral; Without a Paddle; Bourne Supremacy; Hero.

At Rainbow Theatre Sept. 10-16: Spiderman 2.