Friday, October 06, 2006
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #39

The Departed

starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Sir Alec Guinness, John Barrymore, John Wilkes Booth, Bill Shakespeare

directed by Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Raging Bull... oh, you know. It's fucking Scorsese)

It's been a while since I've done this, not since Snakes on a Plane ended the sumer with a dramatic, whimpering slow hiss, only not a hiss like snakes hissing, but more of a hiss like the air slowly being drained from my interest in all things pop culture as the news was all hijacked by pedophilia and child murder. Or a balloon.

But now the fall Oscar build-up season is upon us and it's time for me to be jealous of people who can go to the movies again.

I think you can see by the cast list that this movie is something special. Super nerdy dork-types will make sure they point out to you that The Departed is remake of some goddamn foreign movie that was supposed to be all good and whatnot. It's supposed to be a classic, but let me ask you this: did Scorsese direct that one? No? Then ours is better. We win, America-hating film nerd.

The only down-side of this cast, to my mind, is that Leonardo DiCaprio is both a) at the top, in a primary role and further, b) in it at all.

People have been telling me what a great actor Mr. DiCaprio is ever since he first graced us with his presence, but frankly, I still don't see it. Maybe there's something subtle going on that I'm not sophisticated enough to realize, but really, I've never been impressed. Not once. Maybe it's because he still looks and sounds EXACTLY like he did fifteen years ago when he was the Growing Pains version of Cousin Oliver. The same voice, the same build, the same hair, the same expressionless, totally immobile eyebrows...

OK, fine, it's probably jealousy. Dude is all of six months younger than me, but if we were to stand next to each other he'd look like Leonardo DiCaprio and I'd look like Walter Matthau. Not Odd Couple Matthau either, I mean like awful, Odd Couple II Matthau. And just as contrived and implausible.

The only other quibble I have with the cast... total sausagefest. What, not one slice of cheesecake? All these criminals and not one hooker with a heart of gold? Come on, Desperate Housewives can't be taking up THAT much of Eva Longoria's time. As exciting as this movie seems like it should be, I'm little worried that it's going to veer off into gay territory unexpectedly. And that I might love it.

But that's a common theme in my movie-watching decisions. It was for that very reason I didn't see any of the Lethal Weapon movies for a really long time. Sadly, as I learned via HBO, my suspicions were right on there. I mean, right in the beginning of the first one, Danny Glover drags Mel Gibson off somewhere private so he can stick a "gun barrel" in his mouth. Not very well hidden imagery there. By the time they got to the metaphorical three way with Joe Pesci (hmm, always in the "back seat"), I was out.

Barely sublimated gay panic aside, The Departed looks great. I'd actually forgotten how great Scorsese was until they started showing Age of Innocence on cable again a month or so ago. No goombahs, no violence, no f-bombs... just high-level production value and astounding actors doing astounding things. He even made the animatronic Winona Ryder look competent next to Daniel Day-Lewis. He's clearly a genius.

I want very much to see The Departed, but even on the off chance I could get away from the house to see it, Mrs. Pops has already lodged her official objections. One scene in a trailer with blood shooting out of a guy's head like a water sprinkler and she gets all queasy on me. And to think, after I sat through The Age of Innocence with her. Ingrate.

However, I remain undaunted in my determination to be frustrated at not being able to see this one.


Three (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.



I know I promised puppies, but it's a half-day (again) for my kids, which means I don't have the five minutes it would take to do what I wanted. Instead, I offer you this very funny clip from the latest "Weird Al" Yankovic album. I'm an unabashed (OK, maybe SLIGHTLY abashed) Weird Al supporter. Not really of the buy-the-album caliber, but I do like things that are genuinely funny and this is.

Look out for Seth Green, Judy Tenuta and (especially) Donny Osmond. And then try to get the bastard thing out of your head. You will fail.


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