Notes From The Back Row 

Weird, creepy and violent, give thanks

Since this is the time of year we’re supposed to be thankful, I want to give a shout out to the Village 8 theatres. Anyone who remembers when we were a one-movie-screen town can attest that the good old Village 8 was like a gift from God when they opened up a couple years back, and since there’s jack shit else to do these slow-season days, I suggest everyone spend a bit more time sitting in the dark, not talking to your date, and working on the infamous Popcorn Trick.

Speaking of dates, every chick in the universe is really excited about Elizabethtown the newest screwball-comedy-meets-romantic-tear-jerker from director Cameron Crowe. Of -the-moment boy Orlando Bloom plays a down-and-out running shoe designer who’s just about to kill himself with a knife and an exercise bike when he learns his father has passed away and that he must bring dad’s favorite blue suit to Elizabethtown, Kentucky and help deal with the remains. En route he meets a bubbly, sweet airline stewardess, played by Kirsten Dunst. Their romance blossoms and Crowe’s crafted rock soundtrack telegraphs the emotions to us all as we learn about how, when you least expect it, you can find what you weren’t looking for but always needed.

Crowe does fill his film with sharp dialogue and zany characters but he also recycles from his earlier work (protagonist falls from grace à la Jerry Maguire , neurotic mom and hot, blonde, immature love interest à la Almost Famous) and nearly the entire plot is lifted from Zac Braff’s romantic hit Garden State , which was a better movie. Still though, Cameron Crowe is a master and while he stumbles here, you can’t not give him a second chance, even if Elizabethtown is just an excuse to sit in the back row with a cute girl and try to pull the infamous Popcorn Trick. (Editor’s note: Feet has been trying to divulge the details of the infamous Popcorn Trick for almost two years now. Lets just say it’s sexual, dirty and totally exemplified by Mickey Rouke in the movie Diner , available on DVD.)

Speaking of dirty and sexual, there’s a king-hell doozy of a box-chowing scene in A History of Violence , the newest from Canadian master of the creepy, weird and unhinged David Cronenburg. History is a tale of an everyman with a secret and is Cronenburg’s comment on the violence that resides deep in everyone, particularly America. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a quiet man running a quiet diner in a quiet town. When two psychopaths attempt to rape one of his customers Tom snaps and kills them both, quiet easily in fact. He’s touted as a hero and sensationalized by newspapers all over the country. End of story, or is it? Suddenly a creepy mobster from Philly (Ed Harris) shows up claiming Tom is actually a guy named Joey and that they have a score itching to be settled.

Quiet and guarded, Mortensen proves he’s an A-list actor here. So does Maria Bello as the (perfect) wife, and while Cronenburg’s everyday American landscape seems a tad creepy from the start A History of Violence , originally a graphic novel, is a stellar comment on perception vs. reality, dualism and secrecy and the brutal animal instinct in all of us. One of the year’s best movies, without a doubt.

Not one of the year’s best, but awesome anyhow, is The Fog a remake of John Carpenter’s 1980 ghost story classic. Carpenter, who made the original with "$2 million and a couple fog machines" is producing this time and, with Halloween approaching, this is the perfect Popcorn Trick movie. I’m so thankful.

AT VILLAGE 8 Oct. 14-20: A History of Violence; The Fog; Elizabethtown; Greatest Game Ever Played; Corpse Bride; 2 For the Money; Flight Plan; Wallace and Gromit; In Her Shoes. On Tuesday, Oct. 18: Broken Flowers.

AT RAINBOW THEATRE Oct. 14-20: Wedding Crashers.

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