|A present drawn present drawn by a friend.|
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'The Favor The Watch And The Very Big Fish'
i watched it for the first time, the other night- and I have to say; if it's at all possible to fall in love with a movie, I think I kinda have.
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Bob Hoskins is his usual brilliance. (I thought his character, Louie (a.k.a Zalman)- with the batty sister, who; every time she makes food; puts all the ingredients through a grinder first- was cute, in an intentionally awkward sort of way.)
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Jeff Goldblum …well …what else can I say apart from the words 'complete and total perfection'? In fact; you Goldblum-aficionados here may know it. (It's the one where his character- more often than not- is referred to as 'the pianist' because he never ever gives his real name.)
This, for me; is one of the more moving Goldblum roles. Bollocks to what the critics said, about him being 'too weird to carry a movie'! They were just blind fools who didn't know true talent when they saw it.
It's such a sad story, about a man who is so mixed up and lonely after his beloved mother's death, that first; -he begins to lust after a woman, who ultimately winds up getting him three years in prison (hard labor) because she has the nerve to flirt, the day before they're about to make love for the first time, in front of him- in the very same restaurant where he plays piano, and is just beginning to become successful- with another man, who he flips out on- in a jealous rage- and nearly kills
-cut to three years later; he comes out of prison. He's homeless, and starving. Wondering why that same woman, who promised she'd visit, never did. (It's revealed he's also mourning his musical abilities.) And then, somehow; he winds up coming into more money than he's had in a long while- when he is roped into becoming the key subject in Louie's ridiculous 'Jesus Christ, Our Lord And Savior' photo-shoot. (Weirdly enough; you put long hair, a long beard and a white robe on Jeff Goldblum, and he does resemble the typical artist's rendering you even seem to get on all the crucifixes.) Soon after; people recognize him, and- through a series of encounters with nuns and a little blind boy in a park, etc; his building delusional state accelerates to the point where he believes he really is what people tell him- which ultimately leads to him doing something to himself that even he can't undo.
His character's relationship with Hoskins' is so sweet! Y'know how, sometimes, you get characters who everybody else picks on and treats like shit (Louie, in this case) and then one day; that character meets and becomes close friends with someone who helps him stand up to the bullies? (Now I think about it; it's actually Louie who is there for him in the end- telling him just what he needs to hear: "I've got to admire your dedication. I mean, I've got my doubts. I'm not totally convinced about God. If he's there, he's there. If he's not, he's not. In fact, if he is there at least I can say I've done more for him than he's done for me. He's performed no miracles for me, my friend. "Cast thy bread upon the waters and it shall be returned to you a thousand-fold." But what can you do with a thousand loaves of wet bread?") That's why- as far as I'm concerned- the pianist is what the film's all about (the others just serve as an almost twistedly darkly humorous subplot).
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Natasha Richardson …I didn't care for. At all. In fact hers is the one character in the whole movie that causes so much bad to happen for so many others- while being able to maintain a 'poor, innocent, little girl, butter wouldn't melt' façade.
There's an awful bit at the end, when Hoskins is holding a container with the pianist's ashes in them- planning to scatter them over a river …until the Richardson character comes along, sees it, and asks "What's that?"
Hoskins says: "It's a friend of mine …it's all that's left of him."
Then she- never mind 'Oh, I'm sorry for your loss, what was his name?'- SMILES a little, tells him "Never mind." (whereupon she pulls him into a kiss, that makes him drop the tin, and -woosh!- scatters the ashes ALL OVER THE FUCKING PAVEMENT! (That's a hell of a way to see a friend sent off, ain't it? I swear to god, the poor pianist deserved a better one than that!)
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