Bad Boys for Life
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The only reason I gave this 1/2 star is because I couldnt give it zero.
This was one of the absolute worst films I have ever seen in my 54 years on this planet, and Ive work in film for 20 years. The accolades this thing has gotten are utterly bewildering to me.
Generally, even the worst films can get a chuckle or perhaps an approving sort of noise from me at at least one point. Not so "Love Streams."
Everything from the script to the acting to the setting to the scenes to the music was atrocious. There was absolutely nothing whatsoever redeeming about this film. I've never been able to say that about a film that's gotten more than two stars before, but here we are.
Utter garbage. Avoid with all your might.
My first Cassavetes, and I feel that I'm already familiar with his style!
From the expressionistic framing, and fancy camera angles to memorable use of music, and multilayered audiovisual imagery, it's not hard at all to tell that John Cassavetes has a major influence on Paul Thomas Anderson's cinematic style and filming techniques.
Almost every single frame keeps pushing the story forward, and adds something new while somehow develops the characters in it.
The camera movements and the transitions, whether between a scene to another or in the scene itself, can reveal something that change your perspective on how you introduced to the sequence for the first time. But all these things happen both brilliantly quickly so they have a great subliminal impact on the viewer, and also that make them far from being flashy and ostentatious as they usually seem.
That said, there are also many things concern Cassavetes's directing style that seemed fresh to me. The thing that I was impressed with the most is how he keeps the tone so dark and serious despite how strange and bizarre the characters are, and how lunatic and bonkers their actions seem. Unlike, PTA who is often lets the whimsical behavior of the his characters give a quirky touch to the movie, there is nothing funny or comical about Cassavetes's characters' weird doings and wacky sudden reactions!
As an actor, Cassavetes gave a commanding performance as the pleasure-seeking writer Robert Harmon, although I wasn't invested in his character, and his story, not even a tiny bit! What makes the things worse is that the movie focuses on Robert Harmon's life for most of its runtime. Actually, the second act is almost only about him, and I was lost for the most part. On the other hand, I found Sarah Lawson's story quite interesting. Adding to that, Gena Rowlands mesmerized me with her soulful and moving performance. I feel so ashamed of myself because this is the first movie I watch for her. I really can't wait to watch A Woman Under the Influence, another Cassavetes's film that Rowlands arguably gave in the best performance in her career, nay one of the best performances by an actress in a leading role ever!
The third act is by far the best part of the movie. The visual and allegorical imagery in it is one of the best I've seen in film. Some scenes reminded me of Lynch, but of course they are not this disturbing! The allegories used in this act are so subtle and genius, yet so easy to be understood, and can directly make you related to the characters, feel their emotions, and think of what they are thinking about, and that's definitely a proof that the main characters are well-rounded and established so well throughout the movie. That being said, there are some exposition to make the allegories more clear, which I found completely unnecessary as long as I already understand what's displayed on screen.
I applaud what he was trying to do but I didn't buy any of it. Perhaps losing a solid half hour to and hour of this movie would have made it less odious but then again it's just a movie about fucked up people fucking up. I wish there had been any more insight to the how's and whys of these siblings, as opposed to only the juxtaposition of their existences. I also just found them to be closer to caricatures than believable but at the same time Cassavetes at least never makes them laughable.
You'll do a lot of sighing and looking at your watch while watching this movie, and in a lot of ways I think that's the point-but it's just not my idea of a point worth making.
Gena Rowlands' "I bet I can make you laugh in 1 minute or less" scene is the funniest scene I have seen in a movie in a long time.
Love Streams is a fine film about kooky characters that mostly convey a natural wisdom when they aren't just punch-drunk mad.
John Cassavetes' beautifully shot and acted penultimate (essentially his final "proper") film is an essay on cynicism, responsibility and the nature of love as a binding agent in human relationships - among other things, depending on your state of mind when you watch it. Cassavetes and his real-life wife, Gena Rowlands, don't so much portray siblings, each with their own serious issues, as they completely inhabit and breathe the air of these characters. The cinematography is sublime. Arguably Cinéma Vérité by definition, Cassavetes' direction, pacing and atmosphere invite us to view this film as a window into one brief moment of the lives of these characters, and as such the film, like most of Cassavetes' work as director, eschews standard film making conventions such as foreground scoring and traditional plot development. The atmosphere is steeped in the bewildering, appalling and at times comic behaviour and experiences of the characters. This isn't entertainment delivered in three courses, it's a challenging, provocative and ultimately rewarding exploration of the lives of two characters, filmed with an incredible mastery of natural light and composition. A truly remarkable film.
It has been a long time since a movie effected me in such an emotional way. What's more, it didn't make me emotional during the film but hours later. As I mulled over the film the full emotional weight of what I'd just watched hit me. This is Cassavetes most confounding work but it also may be his most emotional. As always, Rowlands and himself give masterful performances as two emotionally wounded siblings who find themselves in major crises. Cassavetes doesn't let us even know they are siblings until Rowlands' Sarah has been with Cassavetes for some time. Plus, by films end, I'm not sure if either were in a better or clearer place. Still, Love Streams is about the action. It's about the things we do, sometimes desperate, for love and for the ones we love. In that instance, it's a classic Cassavetes film and a classic Cassavetes theme. "Do you believe love is a constant stream?"
While it might not be the best of John Cassavetes' work, there is something really extraordinary about "Love Streams." It is unexpected to see him attempt a movie that plays around so much with 'style' and more than a little Surrealism. It sometimes feels like much of the "avant-garde" is mix of intention and budget limitations. This might be his most experimental film.
Some times this movie soars, other times it stumbles. The thrills and flaws are equally interesting to watch. Cassavetes's "Robert" is a bit of cliche. A street smart "ladies man" who is out to work every angle to his advantage. Robert's interesting flaw is that he is aware that he has become a cliche and a train wreck. When his estranged sister arrives at his door with a car full of luggage that seems to never end. Robert's sister, Sarah, has a lot of baggage. Fighting to save her dead marriage and secure custody of her daughter she is more of a mess than her brother.
As was often the case, Gena Rowland is the magic core of the movie. She plays this character with a desperate and sometimes manic energy. We are never sure if "Sarah" is sane or more than a little crazy. But we do come to understand something about her that is essential.
Among a cast of "lost" characters who form her family, she might be the most "eccentric" and "unhinged" --- she contains a truth of identity, family and life: She understand the all importance of "love." As she says during one of her desperate rants to save her family she tells us that "love streams." It just streams and we need to follow it's current. In another magical scene she desperately tries to crack a smile from her annoyed daughter and frustrated soon-to-be ex-husband.
Robert and Sarah are lost, but not without hope. Hope offered by the possibility of love. Of course, this was always Cassavetes career-long theme: Characters seeking, needing and demanding love.
In the world of "Love Streams" love may not be attainable, but no one has a choice but to reach for it. As Cassavetes leads us to a truly "operatic" crescendo, we can't help but be entranced.
It may not qualify as a true cinematic masterpiece, but this is an important film. Most especially for those of us who love John Cassavetes and his muse, Gena Rowlands, -- this movie is essential Film Art.
It was wonderful seeing John Cassavetes and wife Gena Rowlands play brother and sister, each with serious sanity issues, in 'Love Streams' (I had only previously seen them together in the stellar 'Opening Night', my favourite Cassavetes film), from a script he co-wrote with the author of the 1980 stage play, Ted Allan (Cassavetes' character, Robert Harmon, was originally played by Jon Voight on stage). While his earliest film, 'Shadows', is least pleasing to me simply because I don't feel his cast there was of the quality necessary to handle that large degree of spontaneity and improvisation, by two decades later, he had refined (and perhaps perfected) his approach, and it's a great day for the two stars as well as stock company mainstay Seymour Cassel, who's always a treat to see. I strongly urge that if you have a sibling you love but currently have problems relating with, to take the time, watch the film with them, and learn something about yourself. This is probably the finest moment of Golan-Globus Films as well...
O que distingue John Cassavetes tem tudo a ver com a tremenda coragem que o realizador aplica na sua análise dos mais complexos sentimentos humanos (amor, afecto, a procura de estabilidade). Na s mais delicadas zonas do drama, onde tantos outros realizadores hesitaram (por vezes até para nos protegerem do desconforto que é vermo-nos a nós próprios), Cassavetes avançou recorrendo a quantidades semelhantes de atrevimento, sensibilidade e vontade de retratar as pessoas como seres frágeis e não como super-humanos (conforme acontece numa indústria que ele próprio abominava). "Love Streams", derradeiro projecto de Cassavetes filmado com dinheiro da Cannon (?!), representa portanto o culminar de toda a experiência e sabedoria acumuladas por um autor que desde cedo se comprometeu com o cinema essencialmente focado na dimensão emocional das pessoas. Escrito com base numa peça de teatro e condensado em 140 minutos, "Love Streams" dificilmente conseguiria um melhor sumário das principais marcas de Cassavetes: há o habitual passeio pela vida aos trambolhões por parte dos que não se adaptaram à rotina familiar, há ecos fortes de "Faces" (talvez o seu melhor filme), há a imagem das "escadas" como símbolo para a flutuação inevitável nas relações entre homem e mulher, pais e filhos. Há também uma sequência de sonho que por si só coloca Gena Rowlands num panteão só dela. Assim que termina "Love Streams", e depois de todo o percurso Cassavetes que o antecedeu, a sensação é a de que mudámos. E filmes que provocam esse tipo de mudança é coisa muito rara.