Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You know, you'd like to think you're both in all this pain.

An anecdote from a moment in my life the past week --

A couple of nights ago, I curled up in bed with my cat. The husband was out meeting friends, and I excitedly turned on Netflix and settled in for a movie called Broken English. The film has been on my radar for a long time because Netflix said I would enjoy it, it had something to do with France, and it stars two actors I really like - Justin Theroux and Parker Posey.

And I was enjoying it - I really was. It opens in New York and I recognized so many blocks I've walked, eateries and bars I'd been to, and a movie theater (of course). Parker Posey's character was developing well and I laughed and sympathized with her. We would be friends, I'm sure of it, I told Pee Wee as he watched on with me. Posey's suitor in the film, a French dude, was a bit too-good-to-be-true, but I let that slide (I often do for romantic comedies, so why not in this indie romance?).

The story moves to Paris, and like most films that involve Paris, I was whisked into the romantic-whimsical feelings of that place I've never visited. I enjoyed the moments Posey's character had with her married best friend and travel companion, played by Drea de Matteo, and I relished in her solo experiences in a foreign city.


And then the ending hit, a few minutes after a moment of true revelation to Posey's character, and I almost threw the remote control at my television. Firstly, because it should have ended at said revelatous moment (I'm so angry I'm making up WORDS! And, also, I don't want to be spoilery.) and secondly, BECAUSE IT STOLE ONE OF MY FAVOURTIE FILM'S ENDING.

Literally, the last two lines of Broken English (2007) are NEAR EXACT to the last two lines in Before Sunset (2004). Those last two lines are perhaps my favourite ending lines in any movie, ever. Richard Linklater's closing scene is beautifully filmed, and I remember the cuts, the slow zoom-in, the looks on the actors' faces. The Oscar-nominated script for Before Sunset was written by those actors Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, as well as director Linklater. Those last two lines run through my head at least ONCE a week.

You know when you have those moments where you get so frustrated and you just want to drop everything, run outside and scream, or let go of all communications to anyone and run away, or just set out somewhere with no idea why - just that you want an adventure because your life seems so far from adventurous right then? In the aftermath of those moments, that's when I repeat those last two lines because they embody some sort of calming beauty to me. (I realize it may be just me.)

The last ten minutes of Broken English indeed left me incredulous, especially since every minute leading up to those last were pretty good. Not great, but good. That ending ruined it. And it ruined it in a much sadder way than The Town's ending ruined the whole (...I pondered to myself after calmly turning off the tv, setting down my remote, and turning off the light to sleep). I thought, perhaps, regarding The Town, I had been too harsh the first time around. But then I watched the movie again. Only to find more examples of craptitude, and I sadly must dismiss that movie's story/writing as well.

Back to me laying in bed on Monday night, eyes wide open, still angry. I rarely read movie reviews before seeing a film, so as not to cloud my head with expectations, and so on Monday night I grabbed my iPhone in the dark and quickly searched "Ebert - Broken English." And I skimmed it for the most part, but here, too, I rested on his last two lines:
There is a very good movie named Before Sunset that begins more or less where this one ends. Which tells you something right there.
Ebert knows.

I believe I can forgive most of Broken English because it was good to a point, and it was only the debut effort of director/writer Zoe Cassavetes (yes, of those Cassavetes). Though I truly have no desire to see it again. And! I can only recommend to any one who wants to see it to NOT waste their time and just watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I forgive Netflix, too, because what else do you suggest to the American girl who has either seen or queued every single French movie you have to offer?

In similar news, if you like Louis CK, go see Hilarious. If the internet, psychology, and making BFFs on the internet are in any way interesting to you, see Catfish (though personally I'd have waited for DVD). If you like comedies that are smart, funny, not corny, and not afraid to be risque, I'd recommend the good jokes in Easy A. And finally, if you enjoy not-of-this-world (but delicious) dialogue, dark and hypnotic directing, and can get past the fact that the story revolves around the very website you may have come to this post from - I'd recommend The Social Network. But, for the most part, just don't see Broken English.

So, how was your week?


  1. I saw The Social Network on Monday. Loved it. Also? Loved the music (well done, Trent Reznor!)

  2. I love, love, love, love, love the ending of Before Sunset. I was stunned by how perfect it felt to watch that film ten years after first seeing Before Sunrise. Achingly perfect. I would have thrown my remote at the TV too.

  3. God, I love Before Sunset and though I haven't seen this film, it makes me ridiculously angry that someone would steal such a perfect ending.

    Now I need to go home and watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Now.

  4. Dangit. I had plans to watch my first episode of Veronica Mars tonight (my husband started watching it without me--the jerk! ;) ,but now I'm going to have to watch Before Sunrise/set. They are two of the best movies ever. I've recommended them to so many people and none of them have been able to appreciate them. Crazy, CRAZY people, I tell ya!

  5. I've never seen Before Sunset, now I'm intrigued :) Excited to see The Social Network though!

  6. I felt that way just this evening. I have spent the last 3 days reading Wicked, and was liking it, a lot actually, because even though it was much darker than the musical, it was (obviously, being a book) far more developed, the characters are quite believable and likable...and then it ended. And I was SO MAD. So very upset. I was reading on a kindle, and I just kept hitting next page, through all the maps, and the discussion guide, hoping against all hope that I was wrong and that there was going to be a page like "surprise! just kidding! it didn't really end like that." ...and there wasn't. such a disappointment.

  7. Hillary - yes, the music was super great in The Social Network!!

    Zan - it's like, how dare someone think they can somehow recreate that perfect scene?! Ugh!

    Amy - right?! I love how everyone is now going to go watch the movies. Ha.

    Lyndsey - don't put off watching VMars! If necessary I will write a ranting post about that show getting canceled! Haha. Enjoy it!! (And who are these people that can't get into Before Sunrise/Sunset? I don't wish to know them. They probably lack passion.)

    Erica - watch Before Sunrise, Before Sunset. They are phenomenal films.

    Luna - disappointments are the worst when it comes to books and movies. Sorry lady.

  8. I remember hearing about Broken English but I didn't see it. Will have to check it out. What did you think about Catfish? Friends asked me and I had NO idea how to explain it w/o giving it away. Agree on waiting for it on DVD.

  9. I just watched Broken English. I really enjoyed the movie until the end. Not only did it steal the last two lines of Before Sunset but something just wasn't right about it. So I agree with you.

  10. i need to revisit before sunset and it's partner (is it after sunset or after sunrise? i can never remember). i remember loving that movie so much. thanks for reminding me!