Momma's Man Reviews
September 8, 2008
Boring and pretentious.
June 1, 2009
A truly odd movie that annoyed me but was good enough not to hate. I read a lot of good things about this movie but didn't really feel like there was anything to gain from this film.
February 19, 2010
I didnt start getting into this film until after I found out why the guy was really staying with his parents & then.......Wow
November 15, 2008
See! Slow pans of an apartment full of stuff.
Hear! A man slowly apply shaving cream, followed by a splash of water.
Thrill! To the cat's brutal stare, which alone accounts for two stars of my rating.
July 22, 2013
I walked out of this movie, in front of cast and crew at Sundance, which was less embarrassing than everything I had to do in front of them to keep my eyes open. Perhaps a true cinema connoisseur may find appeal in this but people who want to be entertained, or even mildly intrigued, will just find themselves thinking "the protagonist is an idiot and this movie feels like it's been playing for six hours."
January 22, 2013
This indie film is very subtle and slow. The slow pacing is due to the narrative focusing on stasis rather than action, focusing on Mikey's re-adolescence making this somewhat of a re-coming of age film in a way. The cinematography is really interesting, telling the emotional story through imagery and editing techniques, complimented with sparse dialogue. Overall it is a quiet, quirky film that is at times cold and at others poignant. The main character Mikey oscillates between being pathetic and sympathetic. Much like other indie films and European cinema this film plays on emotional ambiguity, failing to explicitly explore character motives and drives and instead uses the medium to imply rather than state, and thus is more authentic, if somewhat unsatisfying.
November 27, 2009
A little bit tough to parse out what is causing the changes happening on screen, but it is still involving.
November 10, 2009
When a film is powerfull enough to make you identify with the main character, to feel as though you've walked in his shoes, as though you are looking at yourself on screen, it has accomplished what it had set out to achieve.
July 31, 2009
Ye gods...what did people see to like in this film? I found it to be a complete and utter bore, lending "banality" new credence. Don't waste your time!
May 19, 2009
A Challenging Little indie flick that tugs more at the nerves than at the emotions. Some good scenes, but few and far between very boring parts of the film.
October 6, 2008
After a brief business trip combined with a visit to his parents' cluttered Manhattan loft, 30-ish Mikey heads to JFK for the flight back home to his wife and baby in Los Angeles. He looks a bit anxious on the subway; I thought it was because the woman sitting next to him sounds as if she has bird flu, but the next thing you know, he's back at his parents' house going on about mechanical problems and overbooking and probable lengthy delays. No use trying to fight the system; he might as well just fly home tomorrow.
Tomorrow brings Mikey's doting mom brewing his morning coffee and slicing fruit for his cereal and whipping up some nice pasta for his lunch. Mikey's wife, stuck at home with their whining baby, seems slightly annoyed when he calls to tell her of his delay. Hassles with the airline -- you know how it is. A friend at work gets a similar story and promises to cover for him.
Mikey spends the day laying in his childhood room, the walls still festooned with glow in the dark stars, sifting thru his old boxes of stuff. He's particularly intrigued by a vitriolic letter from a high school girlfriend who'd apparently grown to hate him for reasons unknown. He digs out his old guitar and plays a profanity-laced song he'd written to her in response. His father asks him to keep it down. Just like old times.
Days pass and Mikey still doesn't leave. He tells his office that his mother is in the hospital. He tells his parents that he's upset because his wife is cheating on him. He stops answering calls from his wife altogether.
He visits a childhood friend who just got out of somewhere (a mental hospital? prison? rehab?) and is back living with his own mom. He meets with the now-married high school girlfriend to apologize for whatever he did at the time to cause her to hate him, even though neither of them can quite remember what it was. He lies in bed for hours reading comic books and bouncing a rubber ball off the wall.
For a while, Mikey appears to have developed agoraphobia, that thing where you're afraid to leave your own house. He tries to go out several times but winds up just standing frozen at the top of the stairs before eventually giving up and heading back inside. (Of course, it's also possible that his problem is actually climacophobia, the fear of falling down the stairs.)
So what's wrong with Mikey? Why won't he go home?
Who knows. His mother asks him what's going on several times, but when he won't answer, she simply drops the subject and offers to prepare him every sort of food and beverage she can think of. His wild-haired father mostly just squints at him suspiciously. This doesn't seem like the most warm and nurturing of childhoods to suddenly want to regress into.
I liked [i]Momma's Man[/i] (except for the title, which sounds so embarrassingly close to [i]Big Momma's House [/i]that when someone asked me what movie I'd seen last night, I pretended that I'd forgotten its name) but I had a hard time relating to Mikey, mainly because he never really lets on what he's thinking or feeling and we're not really given enough information to piece things together on our own.
I probably expended way too much energy trying to get a grasp on things that really didn't matter, since so little in this movie is ever made clear. For instance, the parents live in a virtually unfurnished loft that's so crammed from floor to ceiling with [i]stuff -- [/i]including hundreds of wind-up toys and other tchotchkes -- that at first I thought it was some sort of thrift store, and yet no one ever even mentions it. Are they artists? Are they crazed pack rats? How can they live like this? And why would Mikey want to join them?
Though the movie doesn't offer up much in the way of explanation as to what set Mikey off, it's pretty easy to empathize with his desire to stop having to act like a responsible grown-up for a while. I pretty much do it all the time. It's called "being single".
June 10, 2008
[color=black]I caught a few advanced screenings whilst in New York (two via the ND/NF festival, one via some weird theme night at the IFC Center), so finally these reviews of mine may have a shred of importance. [/color]
[color=black][b]Momma's Man [/b][i]THINKFilm [/i]opening August 22, 2008[/color]
[color=black]If you've felt that independent film has gone downhill in the past decade (perhaps too many are pandering to crowdpleasedness, so they can be bought out by Fox Searchlight and released near Oscar Season?) "Momma's Man" has come to the rescue. It's a film that has no name actors (unless you consider Richard Edson a "name," and even though I do, I realize I represent maybe 0.001% of the moviegoing public), no claymation, no time-lapse photography, no Shins songs--really, just a damn good story and damn good performances. It reminded me of the Sundance of the mid-90s, where films like "Swingers," "Spanking the Monkey," and "In the Company of Men" could take compelling concepts and take them seriously, without any of the frills. Most people will bill "Momma's Man" as a comedy, but it really does pack an emotional wallop that stays with you for days. Seek this one out.[/color]
[color=black][b]Ballast [/b][i]IFC First Take [/i]opening September 5, 2008[/color]
[color=black]I saw "Ballast" the day after "Momma's Man," and maybe it suffered a tad from the comparison. To give it it's due credit, "Ballast" is a solid character study. The able, non-professional actors deliver their improv-filtered lines believably, and the perpetually grayness of the Mississippi Delta compliments a fairly gray story: three people trying to recuperate after a suicide. Narrative-wise, it's a tad clunky--nothing is really spelled out for the audience, which I like, but, in the end, it leaves us on a weird, anti-denouement. Ultimately, while "Ballast" has a lot going for it, (and I mean a lot, though this review is coming across as negative), it's not as memorable as, say, "Chop Shop," a similar film with non-actors in an interesting setting, and a free-form narrative structure.[/color]
[color=black][b]Fear(s) of the Dark [/b][i]IFC First Take [/i]opening October 31, 2008[/color]
[color=black]"Fear(s) of the Dark" is one of those ever-popular anthology films, this one from comic book artists around the world, telling their own creepy story (primarily in black and white). The sequence by Charles Burns, of "Black Hole" fame, was the most anticipated and the biggest letdown. In stills, his animation is beautiful. When moving, it's creepy and lifeless, much like that movie "Renaissance." The film is framed by a penciled animation from Blutch that's visibly appealing, but not really scary in any way; and an abstract, weird shapes thing from Pierre Disciullo, overlayed with a woman calmly listing her irrational fears. It's outside-thinking, yes, but jarring when juxtaposed with the more traditional horror-shorts. Like most of these anthology films, it's framed in an arbitrary fashion, and I kind of wish they'd just show these films uninterrupted. However, it's well worth it for the last short, by Richard McGuire. It's by far the creepiest story--a burglar traipsing through a haunted house--with the best use of its simplistic black-and-white. All-in-all, "Fear(s) of the Dark" is a nice showcase for animation, with a few show-stopping moments, but little else.[/color]