Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Dahlia and the Bitch

I had a lousy day at work yesterday, and it was my one year anniversary at the job. Symbolically it doesn't bode well, but since bad days are so rare, I'm not going to give it that kind of weight. (Except that I just did. Sigh.) I'd had a really good, productive morning, managing to catch up on a lot and reorganize myself for the next busy period, and then had a bad phone conversation with a colleague who appears to be (either intentionally or not - she could just be looking out for herself) stabbing me in the back over a joint project. I don't want to dwell on it. I woke up at 2 am, and it wouldn't leave my brain, so I lay in bed miserable until 3:30. I blame her.

I'm not a happy camper this morning.

Although, I'm not ever a happy camper. I hate camping. We used to go all the time as kids, and some of my family still spends time each summer in a tent or similar rustic setting, cooking and sleeping outdoors. Not me.

* * *

"The Black Dahlia." Not sure where to even start. I'd read the book, after reading and really enjoying "L.A. Confidential." But the film is just overdone. Overacted. Over the top background music, trying too hard to set a mood. Overcomplicated plot with overly obtuse ending. Some things I liked - it was very pretty, everything brown and tan, almost as if it's sepia-toned. Except, notably, Scarlett Johanssen's red lips. I like a lot of the actors, too, usually, but there is a cringe-inducing scene where Aaron Eckhart, watching a piece of film, starts freaking out with the most ridiculous facial expressions I've seen on the screen in a long time. The audience I was with laughed at this, as they did at several other spots that were clearly not supposed to be funny. Like when two characters stare longingly at each other and then the man dramatically reaches over and sweeps everything off the set dinner table, and throws her forcibly against it. If there's a big book of movie cliches, that scene would have its own chapter.

I don't have much of an opinion about Josh Hartnett, as he was pretty forgettable compared to most of the other scene-chewers. I also didn't buy the whole conceit that Hilary Swank's character is supposed to be a dead ringer for the murdered Betty Short (played in one of the movie's decent performances by Mia Kirshner), because other than dark hair and pleasant features, they don't look alike. I would have preferred that they cast one actress in both parts; then we could understand the obsession Swank's character had with the dead girl, and the resulting pieces of the plot would have a bit more logic behind them.

Now I want to read the book, if only to see if the mystery plays out in the same way. (I don't remember, but I am positive it made more sense.)

* * *

I am running late to work.


Blogger Pynchon said...

Good review of "The Black Dahlia". I wouldn't disagree with a word of that.

11:36 AM  

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