This week: a good movie and a delightfully bad one.
Get Low (2010)
Robert Duvall stars as a mysterious, widely-feared hermit who decides to have a funeral party while he's still alive and invite the entire town to come tell stories about him. Bill Murray co-stars as the money-hungry owner of a funeral home who decides to take on the task, since the town's been a bit low on folks dying lately. The premise sounds very screwball, and the movie is funny, but it's not a comedy. It's a solid drama with some funny characters.
A lot of the runtime is devoted to funny character moments, but the film goes serious as it approaches the central tragedy that has kept the hermit, Bush, sequestered alone in his cabin for decades. The shift in tone is effective and not unexpected.
It's easy to categorize this type of movie as Oscarbait, but Get Low is a little tougher than the usual fare of that kind. Still digestible, but not the mush we're usually served when it comes to Hollywood dramas.
Piranha 3D (2010)
"The slough-to-tit ratio was very high." --Max
When you hear a title like Piranha 3D, you form certain expectations. Piranha 3D took those expectations and turned them into a delicious smoothie made from the shredded flesh of insufferable douchebags. I like to think I have a fairly strong stomach these days, but there were parts of this movie that made me genuinely nauseous. It's kind of surprising that it managed to get an R. Was the ratings board asleep? Blind? I'm not sure I have ever seen this much human carnage in a film. Ever. I don't think I'll be able to eat meat for a few days.
There's also a lot of nudity. Sexualized nudity. This is a classic teenage horror movie in that sense--you get your T&A, and then you get your blood 'n' guts. It's knowingly ridiculous and cartoony, but it definitely plays to phobias. There is at least one kill that will really bother you if you've ever had long hair.
The 3D is so-so. Post-conversion (rather than filming in 3D) shows its weakness whenever they try to show a chain-link fence or tall blades of grass. Still, I think it's essential to see it in 3D. When it works, it really works--and the cheesiness is to the benefit of this kind of movie.
I know I said in the intro that this movie is "delightfully bad." That's not quite right. It's very good at hitting what it's aiming for. It's not a serious movie. It is, at points, scary and uncomfortable, and the rest of the time it's fun. That's how horror movies should work.