Happy Birthday, Wanda June Reviews

  • Nov 13, 2007

    great wicked satire!

    great wicked satire!

  • Aug 13, 2007

    1) I'm really glad I got to see this. Hopefully it gets a DVD release. I wasn't even aware Vonnegut had ever penned a screenplay. 2) In the vein of Edward Albee-like theater of the absurd, with more straight comedy so it's nowhere near as oppressive as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Vonnegut lets the gags take over, and while he does the tension between Penelope Ryan and the returned Harold Ryan is significantly more compelling than during the final twenty minutes, when the gags mostly drop and it focuses in on Harold and Penelope. The final climactic condemnation of Harold Ryan--"You're a clown! That's what you are! A clown!"--kind of misses whatever mark it was aiming for, since up until that point, everyone in the movie is a clown except for Penelope. 3) Wanda June's monologue is the most inspired thing in the whole movie. "Don't feel bad about killing someone, because they're in Heaven now and they're happy you killed them." Sort of the opposite of the running South Park gag where everyone who is dead is in Hell--which always seemed to be a dig at the Evangelical belief that everyone who isn't born again is going to Hell--here the joke seems to be more about the very idea of an afterlife at all, or at least the idea that moving on to an afterlife is just like moving to a new place you can only get to by dying. 4) William Hickey was hilarious as Looseleaf Harper. Too bad it looks like he mostly had small roles in movies around this time. Never heard of him before. 5) The other funniest thing in the movie was the at once obvious and subtle joke when the Baron stands outside the bar in Heaven and takes a leak, followed by a cut to Harold and his son standing on a balcony, where it suddenly starts to rain.

    1) I'm really glad I got to see this. Hopefully it gets a DVD release. I wasn't even aware Vonnegut had ever penned a screenplay. 2) In the vein of Edward Albee-like theater of the absurd, with more straight comedy so it's nowhere near as oppressive as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Vonnegut lets the gags take over, and while he does the tension between Penelope Ryan and the returned Harold Ryan is significantly more compelling than during the final twenty minutes, when the gags mostly drop and it focuses in on Harold and Penelope. The final climactic condemnation of Harold Ryan--"You're a clown! That's what you are! A clown!"--kind of misses whatever mark it was aiming for, since up until that point, everyone in the movie is a clown except for Penelope. 3) Wanda June's monologue is the most inspired thing in the whole movie. "Don't feel bad about killing someone, because they're in Heaven now and they're happy you killed them." Sort of the opposite of the running South Park gag where everyone who is dead is in Hell--which always seemed to be a dig at the Evangelical belief that everyone who isn't born again is going to Hell--here the joke seems to be more about the very idea of an afterlife at all, or at least the idea that moving on to an afterlife is just like moving to a new place you can only get to by dying. 4) William Hickey was hilarious as Looseleaf Harper. Too bad it looks like he mostly had small roles in movies around this time. Never heard of him before. 5) The other funniest thing in the movie was the at once obvious and subtle joke when the Baron stands outside the bar in Heaven and takes a leak, followed by a cut to Harold and his son standing on a balcony, where it suddenly starts to rain.