22 January 2011

22 Jan- "You know, I bring out the best in the men who fuck me"

 Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
dir. Mike Figgis

Nicolas Cage (The Wicker Man, 2006)
Elizabeth Shue (Back to the Future II, 1989)
Julian Sands (Arachnophobia, 1990)
Richard Lewis (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, 1993)
French Stewart (Stargate, 1994)
Mariska Hartigay (Lake Placid, 1999)
Laurie Metcalf (Toy Story 3 (voice), 2010)
Danny Huston (Children of Men, 2006)

I'd like to recommend this movie as one NOT to watch when you're feeling a little blue. I tried to watch The Exorcist for the first time last night. But I couldn't even get past the title menu - too spooky. The funny thing is that I'll bet it's not even THAT scary. I mean, it was made in the 70s and I think I've got at least a lot of that jadedness towards cinematic horror that the old folks are always complaining about. So I started Leaving Las Vegas and I finished the last forty minutes or so this morning and, damn, I think it's going to be one of those days where I stay in my pajamas and don't wash any of the dishes. It was depressing.

If you're unfamiliar, it's about a man who travels to Las Vegas with the intention of drinking himself to death. He hires a prostitute to stay with him on his first night there, and they fall in love, but he makes her promise that she won't interfere with his agenda, which is to be drunk until he's dead.

It reminds me of a line by Kurt Vonnegut, from the preface of Welcome to the Monkey House, he says something to the effect that he smokes. and he thinks that may other people smoke for the same reason, because, "smoking is a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide." Do you think that might count for drinking as well? Here's another line: "Death will be an awfully big adventure." That's Peter Pan. The whole time you're watching this movie it's like nothing matters. Because he's still going to die at the end, and nothing is going to change that and you sort of get mad at Elizabeth Shue's character for putting up with his ridiculousness, for not trying to stop him and not leaving him either, she just tolerates it and he's dying and she's not doing anything about it. And you know before it ends that the finale is going to be very sad.

Which makes me wonder if he really loved her all that much. Since he didn't love her enough to stop drinking. But I think I'm misinterpreting. I suppose the point is that two flawed individuals (she's engaged in her own willfully self-destructive profession) were able to accept each other for exactly what they were for a brief period of time. I guess the romance is that Elizabeth Shue was able to love Nicolas Cage even though she knew it was going to end in tragedy. Although the he was kind of a dick to her when she was heading out to work, and she kicks him out after he brings home another prostitute. They make up in the end though.

I always like movies about Las Vegas because they never fail to take advantage of that contrast between the falsity and opulence of the Strip and the beautiful starkness of the desert. A silly example I always think of Fools Rush In, with Matthew Perry and Salma Hayak. That movie could have been really good, but poor Matthew Perry always takes down the classiness a few notches. All the same: deserts. I should get out to one of those someday.

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