Month: November 2004

A Love Song For Bobby Long (2004), Shainee Gabel, D-

On the cusp of being insufferable. Somehow I stayed just slightly interested, but was it because I truly wanted to know what the “secret” was (which, I should say, is pretty damned obvious) or because I hoped Scarlett Johansson would put on a more sexy outfit? This movie is poor and what’s more it’s a disgrace to all the lonely, alcoholic Southern literature professors out there. Travolta wants his Oscar so bad he is willing to cry drunkenly in the bathroom after urinating blood. Sorry, pal. . .you were more believable is “Staying Alive.” Not everyone can pull a Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold.” If you want the against-type brave anti- hero Oscar you have to, um, actually act. . .not just pout on screen. Stop this director before he/she (name is vague on gender) directs...

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You Got Chicken On My Waffles!

If the actual menu of the Harlem soul food restaurant has photos of Sharpton, Floyd Flake, Ashford & Simpson, Farrakhan and Bill and Hillary, then you know it is the real deal. Amy Ruth’s on West 116th is a friendly, unpretentious exploration into the hardcore delicacies of southern-style cuisine. Perhaps the best collared greens or candied yams I’ve ever had. So close to the 2 and 3 train. Lemme know if you wanna go up there some time. (Note: the menu has Kool-Aid of the...

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The Emporer Waltz (1948), Billy Wilder, C

Bing Crosby, Joan Fontaine and their two dogs fall in love in pre-WWI Austria. This movie starts out strong, but becomes boilerplate about 30 minutes in. You get the feeling Wilder and Brackett were phoning their script in; there’s little of their trademark wit. If it weren’t for Bing (and the occasional song, though this is hardly a “musical”) this would totally...

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Sofa Sogood

Ann & I received our sofa today. We’ve only lived here for 7 weeks. Hey. . .the good things are worth waiting for. We already watched a movie on it and took naps. Now I’ll be singing two Frank Zappa songs. First this: I am the heaven I am the water Ich bin der Dreck unter deinen Walzen (Oh no, whip it on me, honey!) Ich bin dein geheimer Schmutz Und verlorenes Metallgeld (Metallgeld) Ich bin deine Ritze Ich bin deine Ritze und Schlitze I am the clouds I am embroidered Ich bin der Autor aller Felgen Und Damast Paspeln Ich bin der Chrome Dinette Ich bin der Chrome Dinette Ich bin Eier aller Arten Ich bin alle Tage und Nachte Ich bin alle Tage und Nachte Ich bin hier (AIEE-AH!) Und du bist mein Sofa Ich bin hier (AIEE-AH!) Und du bist mein Sofa Ich bin hier (AIEE-AH!) Und du bist mein Sofa Yeah-ha-ha-ay Yah-ha Yeah, my Sofa Yeah-ha-hey Then this: Joe: Fick mich, du Miserabler hurensohn Du miserabler hurensohn Fick mich, du Miserabler hurensohn Streck ihn aus Streck aus deinen Heissen gelockten Streck ihn aus Streck aus deinen Heissen gelockten Streck ihn aus Streck aus deinen Heissen gelockten Schwanz Ah-ee-ahee-ahhhhh! Mach es sehr schnell Rein und raus Magisches schwein Mach es sehr schnell Rein und raus Magisches schwein Bis es spritzt, spritzt, Spritzt, spritzt Feuer! Bis es...

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Notre Musique (2004), Jean-Luc Godard, B+

Howard Hawks’ famous recipe for a good picture: three great scenes, no bad scenes. JLG acheives this with “Notre Musique” but does it on his own terms — we have three great themes, three moments, three concepts, three philosophical aha!s that float by in this river of many aha!s, none of them “bad.” There’s the exchange between the altruistic Israeli journalist and Palestinian intellectual who informs her (and us) that the only reason the world has any interest in the plight of the Palestinians is because their enemy is Israel. There’s the revelation there will only be equality in life when there is no more death. . .an afterworld perhaps, but if there is nothing to achieve, why will anyone want to live? And there is the notion that perhaps death need not only be the currency of war — and perhaps death can be an expression of peace. . .a concept floated a little bit in “Sophie’s Choice,” or maybe it was General Westmoreland destroying a village so he could save it? Obviously this is a heavy movie. But there are a couple of laughs if you can pick out the jokes. (The militant Native Americans wandering around the ruins of Sarajevo is comedy — not mocking comedy, but, inexplicably, comedy.) I liked this movie a great deal, but that’s just me. Sometimes the best art can’t be...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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