I really enjoyed watching The LadyKillers last night. It was very amusing to see Tom Hanks playing the bad guy for a change. To me, Hanks has always been the sympathetic, naïve Forest Gump kind of guy! This movie though showed a different side of him.
I addition to Hanks’ change of persona, the camera work in this flick was really impressive so was the dialogue.
We watched the movie while munching on some disastrous brownies I made last night! It was my first attempt at making brownies and the result was mediocre. They tasted more like chocolate cake than brownies! Ah well, they were still edible and we enjoyed them.
I have to weigh in this having both seen the original version of “The Ladykillers” and having partaken of the much maligned brownies.
‘Tis true the brownies did not emerge as expected. We think the recipe and its mention of baking powder may have made them rise more than they should have and made them more cake than brownie. My analysis to the wife is that brownies occupy a happy middle ground between fudge and cake. Other cooks can proffer their own opinion. Perhaps someone can offer another brownie recipe.
The real deal when its comes to all things chocolate will always be Mom T’s “Secret Cake.” That’s what is going on to the “To make” desert recipe list as the new number one.
Regarding “The Ladykillers,” I enjoyed. But even though it was probably 15 years ago or so that I saw the original in the theater at JMU for a film appreciation class, I still remember Alec Guinness in the lead. I’ve never been a huge Hanks fan. But a few things have softened my view of him. That shift began with “The Green Mile” and then, strangely, “Cast Away,” left a mark on me. “Road to Perdition” pushing the case for him still further. Here, I’m not so sure. He’s trying his best to be affected, much as Nick Cage did for the Coen’s in “Raising Arizona,” and more closely to the affected nature of Alec Guinness originally. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes it is just a bit annoying. But it must be said, few will ever scale Guinness’ heights and those that do attempt must be applauded for their bravery and effort.
The Coen’s do seem to have had an all things Southern itch that they had to scratch. The script is tight and curious as ever. And somehow, they manage to capture things about the South that makes it all convincing. This tale of Mississippi river boat gambling and the fate it lays upon those near about is curious. The old woman, played by Irma Hall, really is spot on. Sniffing around IMDB I was surprised to see a list of credits longer than my arm. But then I remembered Moses, whom I’d met on a film set once and found out he’s been in David Lynch’s wonderful “Blue Velvet,” playing a blind guy. Found out he did these little bit parts all the time and had for years. Never made any big money or fame but enjoyed it. I’m guessing Mrs. Hall is the same. She really got the sense of things in this just right balancing the tremendously off-center portrayal by Hanks.
I think likely the Coen’s led Hanks astray. They like things to be a bit odd and I think they really believe things down South are like that on the everyday, when they aren’t at all. It’s things up North that are screwy. They likely advised Hanks to take things a few degrees South of sane and he embraced the chance to do what many had done before (such as Clooney and friends in “O Brother Where Art Thou“). But the characterization in the final analysis just doesn’t work.
The film does somehow. It does manage towards the end to tighten things up and it has some amazing moments, as it dances along the periphery of Gothic horror and all things Poe. The garbage scow is surely one of the most inspired moments I’ve seen recently. I understand this film didn’t go over that well for the Coen’s and I can see why. It doesn’t fit together like some successes such as “Fargo.” The language of “hippity hopper” Wayans and the dulcet tones Hanks cultivates along with the rest of the oddball crew, it just doesn’t dovetail as it should. But as the film nears its close it does tighten up and produce more than a few chuckles.
Dad, I think you’ll like it. But it’s not another “Oh Brother…” It’s another Coen attempt at absurdity that hits the funny bone about where “The Big Lebowski” did. That’s not calling it bad by any means but it’s not their best work.
On another note, we saw “Bad Santa,” only a week previous, mentioned here because the Coen’s had a finger in it. I have to say that was quite an experience. I read somewhere it was the anti- “Elf.” Having seen “Elf” and really enjoyed it, I have to say that it being anti-Elf just barely covers it. “Santa” is dark and really gritty with foul language to a degree rarely heard on screen. Sometimes it’s so cruel it’s like watching a car wreck — you keep looking but only out of the corner of your eye. Billy Bob doesn’t disappoint. His work with the Coens’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” (a film the wife and I enjoyed on a rainy night in London’s Leicester Square) certainly involved more “acting” than this. But he clearly had fun in “Bad Santa” and that makes the film a guilty pleasure. It’s also the last piece of cinema from the late, great John Ritter.
I’ve wondered about seeing The Ladykillers. Now I’ll put it on our list. The previews looked clever.
The cooking news sounds very good. We’ll have to try you out when you visit! ANyway, y’all sound great, keep it up!