Mystic River

Like usually in movies I look at actors act and think that acting looks pretty easy. I mean movie actors get 20 takes. And if they screwup a line over and over eventually they gotta say it right... Right? And as for the crying thing isn't that like done with drops or whatever probably? And when I hear stories about like Daniel Day Dickhead walking around the set of Gangs of New York all in character the whole time. Thru lunch with the crew and everything... I just roll my eyes. Uch. Of course acting isn't easy. I know it's not. But when you've seen a lifetime of Keanus or a Harrisons or Costners of Benaflecks it's hard not to look at the screen and say, 'How friggin hard can it be? I can do that! ' 

But after Sean Penn in this flick I can honestly say, 'I can't do that...'

Mystic River is one of the handful of books I've read in the last few years and I liked it a whole lot. (lent it to a friend. never saw it again. still pissed). And this movie stayed truer to a book more than any movie I've ever seen. It stars Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, and Sean (This is U.S. History, I see the globe right there) Penn. All of them are really good but Sean (Hey man, just be glad I had fast reflexes) Penn really comes across as the Man. When Tim Robbins first came on screen I saw Tim Robbins sitting on Larry King. When Kevin Bacon walked on screen I saw gotta cut loose.. footloose. They shook it off pretty quick. But when Sean (Learning about Cuba, and having some food) Penn came on screen he snapped to that character immediately to the point where I was like, 'Wow.' The actresses come thru too with the Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney all knocking it out.. Actingwise I don't think I could have personally done any of the roles as well as they did. Especially the chick roles.

The basic story is you take three childhood friends. Something bad happens to one of them as a kid. Flash forward 30 years or whatever and throw in a murder. Then we sort through it all as they sort through it all. The main reason this movie rocks quietly is because of the original novel by Dennis Lehane. It's seamless and has heart. The story doesn't have stupid stuff where you say, 'That's stupid stuff! I hate stupid stuff like that! Damn that stupid stuff!' There's none of that. It is what it is. They are what they are. They've become what they've become. And there's no going back. 

Then on top of that you got your Clint Eastwood. What the hell with this guy? 73!? That's excellent. And he wrote the music? WTF? (I didn't notice the music much but I remember it didn't bother me which is always good cause music pisses me off sometimes if it sucks or inappropriate.) If Clint didn't do what he's done over the last 20 years I'd peg this guy as a straight out dope. But he ain't no dope. He's a guy who's a friggin inspiring dude being his age and not only directing a film that puts a mood on you like a paperbag over your head (not sure what that means either)-  but he seemed to use a patience that I doubt could be present in some young whippersnap director. 

Alright enough with all the kissass praiseness. After Kill Bill and Chainsaw it was refreshing to have one dead body be a centerpiece. I did fade out a few times because it does all move relatively slowly and never 'flies'. It stays grounded the whole time as it should- but that doesn't mean I won't slip out and get sorta snoozy. But even during the down times it wasn't too hard to sit thru em. Because you knew Best Actor Sean (Hey your ripping my card) Penn was coming back and every 15 minutes or so he'd say something that would give me a friggin chill. Whether by the words.. or the way he said them. 

Three Good Things About This Movie

- The story held together so well that it's going to make me more critical of other flicks that leave holes and gaps like it's the norm.
- Some scenes are so deadon. You could practically smell em.
- 'Is that my daughter in there?! .... IS THAT MY DAUGHTER IN THERE?!'

Three Bad Things About This Movie

- It started off stagey and took like 15 minutes before I adjusted out of watching this as a 'movie'
- Sometimes the slow paced slowed to too slow of a slowness.
- You walk out feeling heavy and having to think about stuff and stuff.

Just go see this movie. It sort feels like you could be watching it all unfold from one of the rickety porches right across the street. And at this point there's so many crap movies that pass as acceptable it's nice to sit and watch a story that doesn't distract itself from itself by the things wrong with itself. It's just a great story done in a true way. And when you're done watching it you kind take a deep breath, shake your head, and wander up the street.