Film Review: The Book Next Door (or: Broadway Spotted: Kristen Chenoweth Shows Up in a Pixie Cut)
The weather has been kind of shit in New York this week – meaning my favorite kind of shit because aside from my laziness after work or yoga, it’s a lovely “excuse” to stay in and do nothing. And watch shitty movies on HBOGo! Last night’s shitty movie was The Boy Next Door, another infamously shitty JLo movie. (The most epically shitty and epically-amazing-because-of-how-shitty-it-is will always be Enough.)
The film was shit – totally flawed eye-rolling film filth. There’s no reason why anyone should ever watch this. Ever. (Promise me you won’t, okay?) It’s 90 minutes of cliche lines and an unbelievable bullshit plot that would probably never in a hundred years happen. #escapism
But who is JLo’s co-star? Kristin Chenoweth! I had absolutely no idea she was in this and I bet she wishes she hadn’t been (unless she just had to pay her mortgage, then whatever, I get it). She plays the principal of the school that JLo teachers literature and she also happens to be her bff. She also happens to have a horrendous pixie cut. Who put her in that awful wig? Spoiler alert: KChen dies and her dead body falls JLo when she arrives and starts looking for her bff.
Sidenote: Luckily though, her adorable cat, who is really in the movie for no reason at all other than to perpetuate the theme of Unmarried Cat Lady, goes unharmed. The cat is also in the room when KChen is tied up and screaming. Give me a break. That cat, any cat, would’ve been out of there so fucking fast. This is probably the most unbelievable part of the movie.
Conclusion: Unless you want to see Kristin Chenoweth say shitty lines in a pixie cut, never watch this movie. Ever.
I missed this on opening weekend but got around to seeing it last Saturday. I went to the AMC on West 84th Street for the first time since they renovated a year or so ago and the seats are now all basically leather recliners. It’s a little nuts. I really love the original Cloverfield and although I suspected this one had very little, i.e. nothing, to do with the first one, I love John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. so I was excited to see 10 Cloverfield Lane.
The movie opens up to the main character, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), racing in her car down an empty road somewhere in the midwest probably while looking intermittently down at texts from her (now ex-)fiance asking her to please come back and not run away because she apparently always runs away when things get hard. When she turns on the radio, we hear about a massive blackout across much of the country (aliens?) and eventually she is driven off the road. When she wakes up, her leg is injured and she is chained to the wall of a steel vault with a mattress to sleep on.
John Goodman appears after she’s had a few minutes to freak out, bringing her food, telling her he saved her life, and the questions begin. John Gallagher Jr. is introduced shortly thereafter. Goodman also saved his life and he now sleeps on a cot behind some food racks. He needs a shave.
I walked out of the theatre a little perplexed. I wasn’t sure what to make of what I had just seen. Was John Goodman a good guy or a bad guy? There are probably 3 times that we’re lead to believe that he’s the good guy, with equally as many strikes against him where we’re left thinking he’s a total psychopath. Did he save them from something outside? Is the air really unbreatheable outside? Did he kill a girl? Why is he keeping them down there? I think he was probably really a psychopath but there obviously was something outside so was it just giving him a good excuse to abduct people? So many questions.
I need to read up on analyses written about 10 Cloverfield Lane, but I enjoyed it. There was lots of tension and suspense, and unlike Cloverfield, they actually didn’t show the monster until the very end.
Last Tuesday I was invited to see Misery, the new stage adaptation of the film by the same name, starring Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf. I’ve seen Laurie Metcalf onstage a couple of times and she’s always great. I wasn’t sure about Bruce though. Could he really act? No one could be sure.
For those who aren’t familiar with the film: it’s about a writer who’s “saved” from a car accident in a remote town in the mountains by the person who claims to be his number one fan. She doesn’t like the ending to his latest “Misery” book and demands he writes another book and she’s not letting him go until he does.
There are great prosthetics and excellent lighting and helpful scoring playing in the background. It never becomes quite as thrilling or scary as I assume the film does, but it does the trick.
Metcalf is perfect and carries the show, as I’m told her character does in the movie too, and Willis does his damnedest with the material he’s given (which is not much as he is in a bed or wheel chair most of the time, but he has his moments). Leon Addison Brown plays the cop who comes by from time to time to ask if Metcalf has seen anything and he did his job well.
Misery is one play that will make you far from miserable.
Among other things I watched The Haunting when it came on the movie channels at my parents house this weekend. I saw The Haunting back in theatres in 1999 and loved it then, and apparently still love it now. It’s lacking gratuitous gore and torture porn of many modern day horror movies, and it’s a completely psychological mindfuck.
This is the perfect movie for a rainy Friday or Saturday night, especially around Halloween. I highly recommend you find it on Netflix or in a not-yet-shuttered Blockbuster ASAP.