Tuesday 18 January 2011


If it was a DVD, you'd turn it off, because life is too short. But when you're in the cinema you work harder. And bad movies make you work harder, because you have to make a lot of decisions in order to stay interested.

Henry's crime begins with Keanu Reeves being an accidental accomplice at a bank robbery, he goes to jail and he meets James Caan, who talks for ten minutes about the meaning of life and prison and he throws in some movie cliches and reworks what we loved about Shawshank Redemption into something far more trivial. As a viewer, you notice the trickery, you know it's just a setup and a bunch of character information they're trying to force feed you. But you stick with it because Caan is a joy to watch, he's a real pro.

And then Keanu is out of jail and he can rebuild his life. But he decides to rob the bank he was accidentally caught up in last time. He does it for two reasons; 1) he heard a cliche in jail about how if you did the time you may as well have done the crime, and b) because while he was peeing he saw an old newspaper pinned up on the wall about how, 80 years ago, there was a tunnel between the bank and the theatre across the road.

Vera Farmiga runs over Keanu with her car. Luckily she's the lead actress in the theatre play, and luckily when he casually says during a date "I'm robbing the bank," she's pretty chilled about it and decides to sleep with him.

So you're sitting there in the cinema and you know the script is a hack job and you know that the film isn't carrying you along so you need to do your own work to keep you from walking out. After so many bad films, you know what to do-- you latch onto things you like and you excuse all of the major holes in the plot. It helps when you get a little scene where characters share their feelings that 'life is tough when you go legit' because it gives you that little bit of empathy for the characters. But really you're relating to the part of yourself that says 'life sucks' because you can't relate to Keanu in that way because he was written badly. He has no motivation for robbing the bank other than what he told us, that he realised he could change life by making a decision. But the viewer doesn't buy it because we can't see why he didn't just get a new haircut or go and study Greek history.

So Keanu is fucking Vera Farmiga on a regular basis, and know he's starring in the play at the theatre (so that they can access the secret tunnel). Vera knows they're robbing the bank by digging through the theatre, and she knows the play will be ruined: but she's not asking for a slice of the deal, and she's not planning to run away with Keanu or marry him. So she's just casually sleeping with him whilst he plots to rob a bank and disappear forever. It makes no sense, in fact nothing about her story makes sense apart from the fact she's a disgruntled actor, which was probably not a stretch given the film she was making. But Vera is also a way in and a way of staying interested because not only is she extremely beautiful but she makes everything believable. Even during the insane ending that was seemingly written by a pre-school drama club, we believed her, we felt something for her. How many actors can make you momentarily forget how bad a movie is? Not many, but Vera can. Keanu isn't so bad either. He gets a lot of criticism but he's alright, he puts in a shift and does what's required.

Bad movies are strange. Most people love them which leaves you scratching your head, feeling lonely and confused. Other people hate on them and bitch about them for eternity. But after a while you need a different angle otherwise you'll never love movies again and you'll bore everyone you meet because you'll sound like a bitter film student. Instead you need to find your way in to the movie. Find that one thing that makes it real for you and hold onto it until you're safely outside of the movie theater, wondering why there's a heap of popcorn stuck to your shirt.

Care to share?


  1. Ben Affleck (sp)? lasted movie... ugh... extremely poor script, probably the worst I've seen in a while...

    but when I hear it is bad... makes want to see what everyone is talking about (kind of)


  2. Can totally relate to the loneliness and confusion of being the only one hating a particular film. :)

  3. Yes. This was a terrible movie. But then Vera drove in. She lit her role on up. And she made Keanu stop his "Dead Man Acting" thing he was doing. I wanted to slap him he was so irritating. The ending was...well, there are no words. But, the focus was on Vera and Keanu. So whatever. It was fine. Saw that Keanu can actually act; in the play. Stuck with it and it was worth it.