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Donít Worry, He Wonít Get Far on Foot

Something Spanish · 1 · 336

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Something Spanish

  • The Meeting with the Goddess
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    • Posts: 351
on: August 20, 2018, 11:06:16 AM

One of the more impressive feats of films is when they successfully manage to  perfect a balance between polar opposite feelings, mainly tragedy and humor. It's one of the more difficult tightrope acts to pull off. How can people find humor in tragic situations and not make it schmaltzy, damn near impossible. Remember that Julia Roberts/Susan Sarandon movie Stepmom of 20 years past? Or that Roberto Benigni Holocaust comedy of 20 years past? Those didn't fare so well (in my eyes, that is. Stepmom made over 100 mil and Life Is Beautiful won hella Oscars). Miraculously, with the help of Joaquin Phoenix's uber dexterity, Gus Van Sant has managed to achieve this graceful balance. I'm really impressed with how Van Sant handles the material, especially in the first chunk, jumping back and forth in time without explicitly detailing the timeline. This is that rare feel-good movie where the feel good actually feels right.

I found myself wholly absorbed with John Callahan's life and the cast of characters inhabiting it. The ensemble is so damn good, some of them, like Jack Black, actually reminding you why you admired their skills to begin with. Even microscopic performances, like Mark Webber's, leave their mark. Interspersing and animating Callahan's comic strips throughout brought much needed relief to the heaviness of the subject, a double downer of paralysis and alcoholism. I kind of forgot how good a filmmaker Van Sant is, especially with the 10 year gap between  films of his I loved (Milk and Paranoid Park are the last ones, couldn't even sit through the entirety of Sea of Trees), Don't Worry...is just the reminder I needed to recognize the immensity of the trifecta of Gerry, Elephant, and Last Days. Or the pefection of Drugstore Cowboy.

It goes without saying that Phoenix carries the movie with the utmost of dedication to the role, as always. The guy is one of the best things going on in movies. His performance here displays more range than he's usually afforded. All the performances felt so real. I do like seeing stars like Jonah Hill and Black play character parts without needing to show off.

While some of the AA material may come off preachy, it rings true, striking perfect chords of admonishment and epiphany; showing the horrors of not controlling your boozing and the serenity attained in abstaining.

I just really liked this movie, no qualms about it. Wish Callahan himself had lived to see it.