The Good Place
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I was actually acquainted with Margaret and Walter Keane at the height of their fame in 1963, when their daughter was a school friend and we were often in their home. I was naturally looking forward to this movie, and though there is much to be admired, there is so much more that is missing. The flaw begins with the writing and acting of the two principals, who have been drained of their interest and eccentricities. Margaret in reality is a lovely, fragile woman, given to magical thinking and was something of a "flower child" before the term was coined. As played by Amy Adams, however, she is a blank-faced cypher, dutifully painting waifs under her husband's tyrannical direction. No hint is given as to the haunted woman within, who is compelled to paint this same sad-eyed face, over and over and over again in various costumes and settings. Likewise, Christopher Waltz plays Walter as a loud-mouthed, self-promoting buffoon, giving a sort of Dick Van Dyke performance throughout. In reality, though Keane was smarmy and abrasive. Only one scary scene hints at the horrors of that household. (After a dinner party now-famous among my friends, our car stalled in the Keane driveway and we overheard a fight more horrific than anything in the movie.) An attempt is made to turn Margaret into a feminist hero when she at last stands up forself, but even that is passive. The Keane fad was strange, sudden, everywhere at once, and this film also fails to capture that Finally, the most famous scene in their story was the court trial where they were both directed by a judge to produce a Keane painting to determine which of them was the true artist. Too much this is taken up with Christopher Waltz doing a comic routine playing his own defense lawyer. As it turs out, the most dramatic moment of their lives appears to have been Margaret passively painting yet another sad eyed waif
This just isn't very good. A few film clips interrupted by period songs and Sharon Stone in various glamorous outfits give us the barest outline of Harlow's career. Any Hollywood film buff already knows her story, and there is not enough here to interest newcomers. Sharon Stone was obviously chosen to host because she was at the peak of her own career as the then-current "blonde bombshell", which did not necessarily make her a qualified narrator of Hollywood history.
This is a strange, sad movie, notable mostly for its historical significance. Poorly filmed and recorded, the all-Black cast enacts a sort of religious allegory featuring a woman of sin and fantasy sequences featuring such things as poorly-costumed angels and the figure of a plastic Jesus speaking from the cross. It's jumbled and incoherent, and there is much gospel singing that comes and goes without purpose. This film has been praised for accurately capturing the rituals of Southern Black religious services, so there's that. It depressed me because it came from Hollywood's golden age. and yet looks impoverished and cheap, demonstrating once again how little Black filmmakers had to work with at the time.
I thought this was a juvenile farce. Destroying the food and ripping up the decorations at a pretentious wedding is a child's fantasy. For the young at brain.
This is awful, predictable and illogical at every point. The adolescent boys speak stilted, awkward dialogue of the "hurry up!" and "hold on!" variety, never sounding the least bit natural. Awful, pointless plot. Annoying, blaring score of dancey pop numbers out in the wilderness, as if Kevin Bacon was expected to break into a "Footloose" number at some point. In the not-very-exciting climax, one boy is left alone with injured Kevin Bacon while the others go to find help. Not content to stay in a safe place where they can be found, boy takes Kevin on a reckless canoe trip where they nearly drown. Happily, the search helicopter finds them easily where the movie abruptly ends. Yawn.