Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Bad News Bears, Sex y Lucia + Micmacs

The Bad News Bears. No matter how many times I re-watch the 1976 comedy The Bad News Bears, it never fails to strike me as one of the all-time great movies. That's right, I said it. The film is absolutely note for note perfect and is funny, dark, scrappy underdogs battling on the field (literally) and full of so many wonderful little moments that add up to a timeless "baseball" film. One of my favorite things about it is the let it all loose '70s vibe it has--racial epitaphs, a drunken coach cursing out players and supplying beer to kids--and was scrubbed clean for "modern" audiences with a woeful and insulting remake a few years ago. I'm still in a rage over that one. This is really an adult oriented film even though I saw it when I was seven and loved it even then. Search for it in the archives and you'll find a list of my favorite baseball movies--this ranks as number one.

Sex y Lucia. When this film by Julio Medem came out in 2001 I was really into his films after loving Lovers of the Arctic Circle and Vacas. I loved Sex y Lucia too but re-watching it a decade later it hasn't held up as well as I'd hoped. It's got all the things I recall--attractive Spaniards taking off their clothes a lot (Paz Vega among others), a non-linear story about all of Medem's favorite topics such as fate, romance and sex. This time around the story was just too disjointed and didn't really hook me in emotionally. It's just a lot of beautiful people in beautiful locations either lusting or longing for one another. Still enjoyable but not as great as I wanted it to be from my memories.

Micmacs. Jean Pierre Jeunet could never make another film and he's already delivered one of the most charming movies ever made in Amelie. But, lucky for us, he keeps on giving us enchanting and quirky films and Micmacs is his latest. Immediately recognizable as a Jeunet movie--his films just have a certain look and flair regarding production design that is unmissable--Micmacs is an overdose on whimsy as it tells the story of a lovable guy who survives a random shooting that has him take a bullet in the "brain box." He joins up with a group of eccentric misfits (this is a Jeunet film after all) and the group attempt to teach the weapon industry who made the bullet (and lots of other nastier guns/bombs) a lesson that might change their ethics. I'm not sold on Jeunet trying to have a film with a message--a heavy handed one a little too blunt for my liking--but that's what he's done here. The villains are cartoonish (it's Jeunet!), the direction is over the top and the film is okay but not one of Jeunet's best. Worth seeing for his creative zeal though as Jeunet's style is very unique in the world of current cinema.

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