American Beauty

“Decision made for me due to the fact that I had gone a little Sharpie happy and had marked this DVD as blogged. That is one doodle that can’t be un-did, home skillet.

This film is controversial as a Best Picture winner, mostly because it’s often thought of as one of the lesser winners. To be fair, it wasn’t a strong year. The Green Mile and Sixth Sense are incredible films, but just their inclusion on the list of nominees is as progressive as the Academy would get that year. The film is also rather polarizing. Some people do really love it. Others are thoroughly unimpressed.

I liked it better on second viewing that on the first. I don’t think it’s a bad film, but it is a kind of pretentiously obvious Best Picture winner. Like they were trying to look cool without really trying.

Oh hey there Allison Janney I did not know you were in this movie. Cast wise this movie is just full of awesome. Not the least of which is Kevin Spacey in an Oscar winning role. Annette Benning, Scott Bakula, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari, Thora Birch, and this is the film that first gave us Wes Bentley.

Okay, I take back everything negative I was saying about this earlier. I started writing at the beginning of the film, got absorbed midway thru, and now have an entirely new opinion.

I’ve seen this movie three times now I think (there may have been another one). The first time, as was the case with a lot of the movies I’ve been revisiting these past few weeks, I clearly wasn’t ready for it. I just did not get it at all. I thought it was boring and weird and I was hung up on the creep factor of the Spacey/Suvari relationship. The second time I saw it, I appreciated how dark it was. I was more drawn to Wes Bentley, and was growing familiar with director Sam Mendes’ work. I kept an eye on Spacey’s performance. Today, something just clicked partway thru and I was hooked. Absolutely absorbed and drawn in by all the pieces of it. I couldn’t remember how it ended, so I was frustrated (in a good way, if that’s possible) by all the teases. Even more drawn to Bentley and his relationship with Birch. Fascinated with Benning and Cooper’s performances, and still Spacey’s of course.

I still think that some of it is a bit pretentious when trying to place it and figure out the point that Mendes is trying to get across. But the on the surface story is so engaging, with such committed performances. I just love the dark and somber mood it left me in. I originally planned to follow it up with some lighter fare that’s sitting in my new DVD pile, but now I’m thankful I did finally cave and get my own Netflix subscription. I think I can find something there that fits my mood a bit better.”

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