The Merry Gentleman

It’s hard to select a movie by the ads any more.  Wasn’t there a time when a large ad with rave quotations from movie reviewers meant that a film was actually GOOD, or have my tastes just changed?    No longer do Dearly Beloved and I see a full-page ad with all these Must See. . . Unforgettable. . . Brilliant. . . comments and head for the nearest theatre.  We used to consider ourselves movie lovers, but either we’ve raised our standards or movie makers have lowered theirs.

There are many actors I enjoy in a good film but very, very few I want to see in a bad one.   When actors head out for the talk shows to do their Pimp My Movie bit, I’m skeptical.

We’ve found that most of our favorite movies these days are independent films.  Often they’re foreign-made, complete with subtitles,  but that doesn’t bother us if it’s a good one.  They are engrossing in any language.

I love oddball comedies, but rarely find a big studio comedy that is funny. They usually have the same tired innuendoes and coarse humor. Maybe there will be a line or two that’s amusing, but when we add our ticket price plus popcorn and shared Diet Coke and divide it by the number of laughs, we come up with Lee entertainment enjoyment/fee (LEEF) rating…well, you get the idea.  It may have had a cute moment or two, but a $5 chuckle?  Usually not.

When I was younger, I loved sad movies but I no longer like to pay someone to make me cry.  DB likes the big epic dramas more than I do, but I’ll go with him and usually like it once I’m there.  He’s a sweetheart about letting me choose, so he sees some he wouldn’t have selected on his own.  Good dramas are hard to find.

I grew up buying my popcorn and saving it until the main feature began.  If DB still has popcorn past the movie credits, it’s only because we arrived late.  Sharing popcorn with him puts more pressure on the movie.  I mean, if I still had popcorn in a bad movie, I could amuse myself by picking out the fat kernels or something.

Recently we saw The Brothers Bloom, which I chose on the basis of reviews I’d read.  DB didn’t like it. . . I did, but using my movie cost vs. enjoyment ratio formula, I’m not sure I made a good choice.   I DID, however, redeem myself with the one we saw earlier this week:  The Merry Gentleman.

Remember Michael Keaton as Mr. Mom?  He’s definitely not Mr. Mom in this one, but DB and I are still talking about exactly who he IS.  My husband sees nuances, larger meanings,  hidden meanings, metaphors, and other layers I never even think about in movies.   I spend the first ten minutes wondering if I fed the dog, diagnosing whether or not the sound is too loud,  mentally guessing where it was filmed.

We both came out of this one with questions, not because we thought we missed something, but because that’s the kind of movie it was.  We’ve agreed that we’d like to see it again,  not because we expect to find answers but because we know that we’ll notice things we overlooked the first time.

Kelly Macdonald is wonderful in this and Michael Keaton’s direction and acting are dark and pitch-perfect.

I saw a woman enter alone, after we did, and when we left, she was standing by the outer door as if hesitant to leave.  I had the feeling she was hoping to talk to someone and sure enough, when we approached she said, “Was that what they call  film noir“?” The three of us walked out together, discussing the movie.

Film noir?  That and more.  The LEEF standard gives it a very high rating–worth it even if you factor in a box of Reese’s Pieces to munch on after the popcorn is gone.

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4 thoughts on “The Merry Gentleman

  1. I’m a British series freak and it seems the movies now days are just too foul mouthed and violent for my taste so I would rather read! Really huh? LOL

  2. cw

    The LEEF rating/review – move over siskel or is it just ebert now? – we’ve got some new kids in town and they’re good!:)

  3. raletourn50

    Great post as usual and I agree 100%. But I just saw The Brothers Bloom and really enjoyed it…a story inside a story inside a story. Plus Adrien Brody such a face. I look forward to The Merry Gentleman.

    1. Glad to hear you liked BB. At some point in there I felt yanked around a little, but it was quite a tale. . . or tales, I guess. I also saw Away We Go. Do let me know what you think of Merry Gentleman.

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