Loved his first and second movie, but the third began him going the route of everyone else (more or less).
In the Company of Men (1997) -- A sharp, excellent movie. Every little scene counts. Funny in a way that makes you hang your mouth open and gasp, and also really sad.
Your Friends and Neighbors (1998) -- Neil LaBute movies seem to make me sad. This one did too. Just like when I watched the previous one, this one gave me insomnia for a while: sad little insomnia. So that's saying something.
Nurse Betty (2000) -- A piece of poop. I watched it thinking it might be some goofy Farellyesque something to laugh at ha ha, and I was only partially right, since it hopped from that to Pulp Fiction to Sleepless in Seattle to Tootsie to everything else, and it did none of them particularly well. Somewhere in someone's head was a clever piece of mixed-genre black comedy, but -- again -- it came out as poop.
Possession (2002) -- An academic romantic detective story in the tradition of, oh I don't know, Flaubert's Parrot, and a movie that's only kind of mediocre. I wouldn't have watched it if it didn't have Neil LaBute's name attached, and I'm realizing he just needs to get back to his own stuff, since that's where his brilliance is.
The Shape of Things (2003) -- Yay, a Neil LaBute movie. This is sort of the female companion to In the Company of Men, since it shows the evilness of women this time. Not quite as perfect as that first movie, but he's back in the good ol' game.
The Wicker Man (2006) -- The 1974 version of The Wicker Man is, to this day, one-of-a-kind. In the 00s, people began remaking lots of 1970s horror movies, and at first glance it might seem like that's what's being done here (though the original Wicker Man is barely a horror movie--or at least not just a horror movie). But Neil LaBute, luckily, had something up his sleeve and his own reasons for rewriting and reshooting this cult classic. The major change is making everyone on the island (everyone with power, that is) a woman. So he gets to put some of his trademark male/female stuff on the screen, first of all. He also adds more humor and more true horror, often back to back, where the humor comes from the reaction of Nicholas Cage to the horror he's just experienced. Even the climax -- which was nothing but horrific in the original -- is pretty funny here. LaBute also, unfortunately, adds some things that don't make sense, like the opening car accident and the continual flashbacks to it. And, of course, he loses the musical aspect of the first film. In the end, this one probably won't be a classic, cult or otherwise, but it is a fun and "wicked" movie that's a nice expansion for LaBute.
Copyright (c) Nov 2001 - Sep 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies