Comfortable and Furious

Bandits (2001)

This movie got lot of positive reviews. That is totally baffling to me. I read some and I can only conclude that… fuck. I don’t know. My girlfriend is sitting here laughing her ass off, but to me this movie isn’t funny, entertaining, dramatic or interesting. Kenneth Turan’s a great critic, but what in God’s name is he talking about when he says Bandits “droll?” I know what ‘droll’ means, and I’ve seen the film, but I don’t see  a connection between the two.

Thornton won some award for this performance, I think the Golden Globe. Christ on cock! He was good, but nothing special. He’s just a smart, dorky guy to Willis’ impulsive, womanizing guy. It’s a pretty obvious performance. The hypochondriac thing is funnier when Woody does it. They should at least have avoided using the same ailment (brain tumor) that Woody uses in Hannah and Her Sisters.

Is the film so “droll” that I didn’t get it? I don’t think so because A) It was directed by Barry Levinson and B) none of the reviews that I read offered examples of “funny” points in the movie that I had missed. I chuckled a few times, but I think a typical Andy Rooney segment has more drollness than this whole film. Yeah, I laughed when Terry was asked for his opinion on snakeskin boots, and says, “very life like.” Sounds like one of my mom’s better jokes. The rest of the material sounds like it was rejected from somewhere else. Kate says her husband is a bad kisser and talks about their first kiss. He opened his mouth so wide she has to “adjust to the kiss size.” Mildly amusing, but it sounds like it was rejected from “Seinfeld.” Let me put it this way: Evolution is funnier.

This is also one of the most boring films of the year. Something can be clichéd, like K-Pax or Don’t Say a Word, stupid, like Evolution or utterly superficial like Charlies Angels, and still not actually be unpleasant to watch. Levinson’s film doesn’t have most of those demerits, but it has very little going for it. The characters aren’t real enough to be involving, the jokes aren’t funny enough to carry the film, the story is uninteresting, especially since the conclusion is revealed at the beginning. That works if the conclusion puts the characters in a really odd situation and you spend the rest of the film learning about all of the twists and turns that lead to the situation. It doesn’t work with a straightforward story about bank robbers who are successful, then get involved in a love triangle, then get caught. There is a twist that is clever and had me fooled, and I won’t ruin it for you, but by the time the twist finally showed up, I had spent over an hour not caring about the events leading up to it. Consequently, I actually found the film so boring as to be unpleasant at times, particularly when it was trying to be dramatic. Those numbers on my DVD player just couldn’t change quickly enough.

I think it comes down to the fact that I just don’t connect to Levinson’s work, which has to do with my subjective feelings about movies that are overrated crap. I didn’t like Rainman or Good Morning Vietnam half as much as most people, but only because they were overrated crap. It seems like all of Levinson’s movies aspire to be both dramatically effective and funny, but instead you get material and characters who aren’t real enough for effective drama and aren’t funny enough for effective, sustained comedy. I loved his TV show, “Homicide” though, probably because it didn’t try to be half comedy.

P.S. I’m getting sick and feel nauseous anyway. I might have unduly blamed the film for this sensation on some level. Maybe it deserves to be a 3.5.

Ruthless Ratings

  • Film, Overall – 3
  • Extras 3
  • Story – 3
  • Acting – 5
  • Direction – 3
  • Rewatchability – 1

Ruthless Reviews Special Ratings

  • Number of Times Movie was Paused to do Something Else – Once, over night. This one drove me to bed early.
  • Number of Times you Wished you Were Watching a Carrot Top Movie – 3
  • Number of Times you Thought you Were Watching a Tarantino Picture – None. This is the film QT would make if he were castrated and lobotomized.
  • Number of times you found yourself enjoying the movie- 5 or 6. The problem is the long, boring stretches in between.
Fun Fact!- Cate Blanchett’s hands are bigger than my feet.