Motto Place Holder (rohmie) wrote in cinemapileup,
Motto Place Holder

After Lebowski

Well, I finally saw Burn After Reading. I had heard from many people that it was decent, but not as good as The Big Lebowski. Perhaps this was the power of suggestion, but I came away with the same impression.

But then I realized something:

That's exactly how I first felt about The Big Lebowski - that it was merely decent. I thought, "Yeah, this is a cute, quirky little film, but I probably won't go out of my way to see it again." As a result, I was a bit mystified when I heard about the first Lebowskifest. Several Lebowskifests later, I gave it another look to see if I missed anything.

Yeah, I did.

From that point forward, I learned that it improved with each viewing. I now own a copy on DVD. On reflection, I suspect that the same will hold true for Burn After Reading - and for the same reasons. Like Lebowski, Burn has a complex plot with lots of unexpected twists. And as a result, repeated viewings reveals new things. Both films have very textured characters. There is a subtle, cartoonist's fish-eye lens sensibility that magnifies the realism. Knowing what happens next allows you to focus on the characters. There are a lot of nuances that you miss the first time because they are hiding beneath the broad caricatures. I'm looking forward to re-watching it.

I may even do so before I return it tomorrow morning.

In other movie news, I had rented Bon Voyage and The City of Lost Children. Bon Voyage was also a comedy with lots of plot twists and vivid characters. It is excellent, rent it. And after re-watching Lost Children to see if it held up, I was blown away enough to buy it. Like wine and The Big Lebowski, it also improves with time. The French are taking over my modest movie collection. I already own The Triplets of Belleville and Joyeux Noel and I will probably buy Bon Voyage as well. But for now, I just bought Lost Children and Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters, which is also incredible.

Finally, I rented two documentaries: McLibel, about the two British environmental activists who were sued by McDonald's and Left of the Dial, about the "Rise and Fall and Resurrection of Air America." Both seem like decent documentaries. But neither are in the category of Sicko, Maxed Out or An Unreasonable Man.
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