Saturday, February 18, 2006

McCabe & Mrs. Miller/ Junebug/ Zombie Honeymoon

McCabe & Mrs. Miller:
Since Robert Altman is receiving an honorary oscar this year, I thought I'd watch a few more of his movies. And since Roger Ebert called McCabe & Mrs. Miller a perfect film, I started with that one. It stars Julie Christie and Warren Beatty as owners of a brothel in a small northwest town in the late 1800's. And according to Roger Ebert it has one of the saddest deaths in a Western. And he's right. It's really, really sad.
I can only stand a Robert Altman film about once a year, but man, when I see them, I really enjoy them. (I've also seen Nashville, Popeye, The Player and Gosford Park. Before the Oscars I hope to see California Split and The Long Goodbye.) I give it 3.5 out of 4 stars.

Junebug: I loved this movie. It might be my favorite movie I've seen in a long time. My favorite parts are when the husband tries to tape the documentary on Meerkats and also when the three guys sing, "Softly and Tenderly." I wish the Mormons had that song in the hymn book. 4 out of 4.

Zombie Honeymoon: My absolute favorite kind of movie is a horror comedy that doesn't ham it up. That doesn't wink and nudge you every second. That plays it straight and lets all of the laughs come from the situation. The humans act like humans would act and the monsters act like monsters. The best examples are Bubba Ho-tep, Shaun of the Dead, and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
While Zombie Honeymoon tries, it doesn't quite make it. The problem is the humans aren't quite believable. When the bride finds her husband eating a guys intestines in their vacation home bathroom, she runs outside screaming and crying. So far so good. The husband runs after her shouting, "This is not what it looks like" and "I'm so sorry," which again rings true. Of course it's exactly what it looks like, what else could it be? But that's the kind of thing that a flesh eating zombie would shout when he's caught in the act. The problem is that the wife doesn't take that much coaxing to say, "I guess my mom always said that you should stand by the ones you love." Which I don't think any newlywed would say right away. Her husband would have to do a lot better explaining the situation. It makes the heroine a lot less likeable. At least I didn't root for her when she helped the husband clean up the gore. And I didn't cry with her later when she realized that her husband probably wasn't going to get better. She should have gone to the police.
Compare that to Bubba-Hotep, where the geriatric Elvis realizes that he's lead a wastrel life and that he's always wanted to be a real hero and to atone he decides to fight the nursing home mummy. That's something that invests me in a movie. I can get behind that goal.

But I'm being too hard on the Zombie Honeymoon and it's unfair to compare any movie with Bubba Ho-tep. Zombie Honeymoon was pretty fun and it was a good first movie.
And seeing a zombie covered in blood and snapping at his wife, "Look, I'm trying to kill the least amount of people before we fly to Portugal," (C'mon lady, get off his back) gives a pleasure that you don't find in a Merchant Ivory movie.
2.5 out 4 stars.


Blogger Jordan said...

I've tried to rent McCabe and Mrs. Miller from Orem Library several times and last month I found the reason for my failings, they had lost their copy. Altman is Paul Thomas Anderson's favorite film-maker and you can see it in his films.
I also loved Junebug.
And am quite curious about Zombie Honeymoon and Bubba Ho-Tep.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Bryan Summers said...

Bubba Ho-tep is great. I'll loan you my copy if you want.

I'm less enchanted with Zombie Honeymoon after just seeing Dead and Breakfast which was a lot more entertaining. I guess if you have the choice between Bubba Ho-tep and Zombie Honeymoon I'd go with Bubba Ho-tep.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Bryan = i'd love to borrow your copy of Bubba Ho-tep. Sounds pretty funny.
I didn't mean to type (=) up above.

11:36 PM  

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