Alexander Payne

Getting worse and worse, this guy.

Really Like It Election (1999) -- Perhaps the only movie set in a high school with high school kids that isn't made for teenagers.  Matthew Broderick in short sleeves and a tie provides the appropriate visual tone for this movie.  It's a pretty smart movie, and really funny and different. Reece Witherspoon's best role too.

Like It About Schmidt (2002) -- A very literary movie, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing.  Enough of a good thing to keep the movie pretty entertaining throughout.

Hate It Sideways (2004) -- Sometimes I like to read other reviews to see what I'm missing.  The All Movie review says, the movie has a "soulful humanity best expressed in a phenomenal scene in which Miles and Maya... take turns explaining why they love wine.  It's a simple scene rendered transcendent by gorgeously believable dialogue and the conviction of two superb actors playing at their best."  Yeah, this is the scene where I had enough and had to walk out of the theater.  The main character cheats on his wife, mourns her loss as if its her fault, steals money from his mother, has a best friend who's creepier than he is, and the only thing he knows how to talk about is wine... and now he's in this scene comparing himself to a grape that has to be nurtured and understood.  No thanks.  I'm all for characters with imperfections and all that boring bullshit that everyone seems to care about, but the only thing this guy had going for him was that he was played by naturally-loveable Paul Giamatti.  Sorry, folks.

Indifferent Paris, Je T'aime (2006) -- Directed with Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Jr., Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant.  Eighteen five-minute shorts set in (and named after) different areas of Paris, all created by different directors.  Most of directors apparently don't know how to deal with the short form and use the same pacing as a feature-length movie, not telling any real story in the process or setting us up for a story that we'll never get to see.  The ones that stand out to me are the films by the Coen Brothers (which actually use some kinetic camerawork to wake us up), Christopher Doyle (another wake up), Alexander Payne (which is a mix of offensive and almost-touching), and Sylvain Chomet (with a mime).  The rest are either average or make you say "Well, at least it was short."  (See individual directors for a review of their short.)

Indifferent 14ème Arrondissement (2006) -- From Paris, Je T'aime, this short film is narrated by in badly-pronounced French by a lonely, overweight American woman.  Most of the five minutes is offensive, since it's really seen from the point of view of someone who stereotypes average Americans while deifying the French, though it's trying to be touching--and the emotion that it's going for certainly does seep up through the cracks in spite of itself.  In spite of its faults, it's one of the standouts of this average omnibus and is a good closer to the movie.

Copyright (c) Dec 2004 - May 2008 by Rusty Likes Movies