Dubby’s dvdiscussion : Tragic Characters and Comedy Routines

Dubby Bhagat


Four movies that explore the American nightmare and the American dream and have us going from tragedy to pure unadulterated fun.The Assassination of Richard Nixon has Sean Penn in a character driven role where he descends into desperation and violence and answers the question why dreams and ideals and the people who have them are destroyed.

Based on the true story of Sam Bicke an ordinary American who loses his wife and children, leaves his job and writes letters explaining why he is going to kill Nixon, to musician Bernstein because the composers music is the only pure thing in a world full of lies. Sean Penn was fascinated by the subject but it took until now to do the film because of the way he wants to kill the president. If lies were the reasons for violence in Assassination then sadness prompts a young man called Leland to kill in the film United States of Leland. The central character a disturbed but wise teen provides us with a unique take on contemporary good and evil. Don Cheadle acts as a teacher in the prison into which Leland (Ryan Gosling) is confined and is the catalyst who makes Leland tell his story.

Leland’s father is played by Kevin Spacey who is an author wanting to write yet another bestseller out of his sons story. Don Cheadle also wants to write a book. What happens is best summed up by critic Kathleen C. Fennessy who says, “Writer Director Hoge doesn’t provide any easy answers in his compelling complicated look at teenage depression.”

Everyone has seen Hitch, which is about a Date Doctor who helps men to get, the women of their dream fall in love with them. Hitch is played effortlessly by Will Smith and he is seen helping a meek accountant to woo a glamorous celebrity. The accountant called Albert is played by Kevin James who is fat, clumsy and so good he almost steals the movie from Will Smith. Said Director Andy Tennant, “I thought it was cool a romance from the guys point of view.” Tennant directed the truly great, Ever After, which was a remake of the Cinderella, story. While Will Smith is successful in helping Kevin James his own love life needs doctoring but as critic Ali Jaffar says that Hitch “Allows the fat guy to get the girl and lets the cast break-dance into the sunset.”

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has a fantastic cast headed by Bill Murray and includes Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson. Directed by wonder boy Wes Anderson, this is a satire on oceanography and characters you meet in almost every adventure film you see.

Bill Murray is the scheming but absent-minded, dedicated undersea explorer, Anjelica Huston is his rich bitch wife who is also the brains behind Murrays latest escaped to find a shark that ate his best friend. Owen Wilson is Murrays long lost son and Cate Blanchett is a pregnant reporter who both father and son like. There are pirates, stormy scenes, love, death, a search and lots of fun. Says critic Tom Brook “This adventure is cinematically adventurous with its set design and stop-go animation and there are references to other movies.” To Anjelica Huston goes the last word, “For anyone who really knows cinema or has an idea of the history of cinema, they’ll see many references that are very fascinating in this film. I would say it’s not a film for dumb people.”