Over break, I saw a lot of movies in the theatre. Here they are in the order I saw them:
1. Stuck on You
3. In America
4. Faces of Death 4
5. 21 Grams
6. Big Fish
7. The Station Agent
Yesterday was a double-bill of "Big Fish" and "The Station Agent."
For the fourth time in a row, Tim Burton has disappointed me with one of his most recent movies. It's sort of bummer considering that he was my favorite director as a young lad (age 9-15). To its credit, "Big Fish" had about two or three really great sequences, but all in all, I had to sit through a lot of trite, mismatched junk to get to it. Ah, well. Another childhood hero gone to waste. Tim Burton, meet your new friends: Ryne Sandberg and Senator Paul Tsongas.
Then I went to "The Station Agent," which was excellent. So excellent, in fact, that it's currently fighting for the #1 position on my Top Movies of 2003 list. Once this list is finalized, it will be printed in my nationally-syndicated column "Nuts for Bolts: The Whimsical World of Paul Rust."
Why was "The Station Agent" so great? Well, lots of reasons, but mainly... it was simple (i.e. not GODDAMN OVERWROUGHT). Seriously. I am so tired of "BIG MESSAGES" and "GRAND EMOTIONS" and "STUPID SHIT" in so-called "important" movies. "Big Fish," "In America" and "21 Grams" all fell apart underneath their own self-imposed dramatic weight. I don't need magic or mysticism or a "clever" narrative structure to get me to like your movie. I just need an idea and a little insight. Strip away the bells and whistles of "21 Grams" and all you got is a 2nd-rate soap opera melodrama.
"The Station Agent," on the other hand, observed 5 characters - in small strokes and quiet moments. And I left the movie with a greater understanding of human behavior than all your grams combined.
Shut up, loud movies.