Saturday, March 04, 2006

A History of Wanting My Money Back

This post is a little off-topic considering this is a science blog. However, seeing as the Oscars are tomorrow, I thought I would dust off a critique (actually, a warning) I wrote to friends and family after seeing the film "A History of Violence". Since it's up for 'Best Screenplay' (which I can understand, because it must be better when read) and is on every critic's 2005 top ten list, I wanted to let anyone who may want to go rent it know what they are in for.

Enjoy, and remember - THIS MOVIE IS BAD:

Just wanted to write a quick note and let you all know that we saw "A History of Violence" last night and it's one of the worst movies I have ever seen. As some of you may know, I enjoy bad movies a great deal. However, this is less a movie and more a train wreck caught on film. The only difference is that train wrecks don't leave you feeling cheated and empty inside.

Please don't let this intrigue you as to why the movie is so bad, that is not my intention. This movie must be allowed to die quickly before it steals anyone else's money. If they had done it properly, it could have been a decent movie-but it doesn't even come close. I really tried to give it every chance to pull out some kind of justification for its existence but it failed at every turn.

To summarize:

Beginning was slow, couldn't really tell how bad it was going to suck.

Middle: Ranged from dull to confusing to incredibly graphically violent (even this didn't help it) to odd to confusing to pointless. It also contains two of the most uncomfortable sex scenes that I have ever witnessed.

End: Was there an ending? I don't remember it ending, I just remember crap and then credits.

Again, please do not let this intrigue you. This is a movie that no one could possibly enjoy. I can't overstate this. Me, Deanna and her Dad all have different tastes in movies and we all agreed that it was horrible.

I beg you, for your own well-being, do not see this "movie".

Thank you for your time.

There you have it. As true as when it was written. I should point out that Ed Harris was very good because Ed Harris is always very good. It was like watching Olivier acting with several piles of steaming dog $#!+.

So, remember tomorrow when "A History of Violence" wins the Oscar (and it WILL win, I guarantee you) sometimes bad films slip throught the cracks. They can't all be gay cowboy movies.

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I have read through one history
Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

"And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

"When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

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