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Anders

Laurel Canyon

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Caught this one on dvd this afternoon. I actually thought it was quite good. I'm wondering what Peter (I saw it on your journal) and anyone else who saw it thought?

It seemed to me interesting, partly because I find the whole "rock 'n roll lifestyle" somewhat appealling, yet against the things which I claim to stand for. I found the Alex (Kate Beckinsale) character's increasing facination with the whole "scene" believable, yet I watched with horror as events transpired that I would hope I would never participate in.

I guess what I liked best about this movie is that I still found my sympathies with the straight arrow, neurotic, confused Sam (Christian Bale), despite understanding Alex's motivations.

[spoiler ALERT]

I also liked the fact that despite admitting his failings Sam doesn't go through with sleeping with Sarah. I liked that he, despite his obvious failings and psychological problems, took the "moral high road." Which, I guess is why I didn't find the film entirely great. I didn't like the last scene of the movie, which is somewhat ambiguous as to what Sam will do. Perhaps though this is merely my falling victim to that whole reader response thing which I've complained about in the past. I think it's good that Sam is a character and not a "role model."

[END SPOILERS]

Overall, though I think it was a good movie and was actually worth the nearly two hours I spent watching it. Christian Bale is an underrated actor, and Frances McDormand is always good, and alway so able to re-invent herself from role to role.

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Oh yeah, I also really like Southern California as an area. Looking forward to going down there. biggrin.gif

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Oh well. Can't find that thread in the archives.

I did like the film quite a bit. The setting was very engaging as you say. The story was simple but emotionally complex. And all of these complexities were brilliantly captured by the cast. McDormand really shoulders the bulk of the film. Her performance is so carefully nuanced and so far away from anything she has done that I think I like the film so much primarily because of her.

Actually...just found the thread:

http://www.novogate.com/board/3322/Archive...3/148185-1.html

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I am confounded.

Leaving LAUREL CANYON, I thought "Aha! Now I understand the reaction of all my F&S friends who despised AMERICAN BEAUTY. For me, Lester Burnham's moral decision near the end of the film (or at least, his decision not to be any more immoral than he'd already been) was powerful, good, a tiny step but at least a step in the absolute right direction: for others, it was way too little, far too late. But I'm having their response to this movie: I know I'm supposed to applaud as a Great Moral Awakening the character's decision not to indulge in that particular orgy late in the movie, but really, they're so far from any Moral High Ground already it doesn't seem like much of a victory. 'Sure I sacrifice children to Moloch, but at least I don't sacrifice small children! And don't torture them excessively: five or ten minutes at the most, not days and days like SOME immoral people...'"

Then LAUREL CANYON comes up in the forum, and there's not a problem with "Sure I'll sleep with whoever I want, but I draw the line at sleeping with my own family! What do you take me for?!"

As confused as I am, it is reassuring for once to be the Designated Prude in these parts. (Well, okay, Anders is pruding along with me, though I guess I'd say I didn't find any Moral Ground here that I would describe as anything like "High.")

(Still, I definitely agree that there was something beguiling about the rock and roll lifestyle - groovy cognitive dissonance there, for me. And Franny McD was wonderful, as usual. "It is a film that feels like a coming-of-age story except no one grows up, probably because they are all already old" - well put, MLeary, and well observed! Loved the soundtrack, as well. And that Kate girl sure is cute.)

Ron

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Good comments. I recall having the same reaction. Feeling dirty there towards the end for watching this, but it was such a groovy Hollywood Hills dirty that I barely noticed it.

Doesn't Christian Bale's character break this cycle by remaining faithful (for the most part). But then he seems fine with the situation at the end of the film.

So it is almost that Cholodenko is not saying that orgiastic intergender relationships are bad, but that they must have thier proper context. Which pretty much is: mother-in-laws are out of the question. She really doesn't have much to say when you put it that way.

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