Thursday, May 11, 2006

Art Cynic and Old Boys

Due to the generosity of Sue Jean, I was able to get to a preview of "Art School Confidential", Terry Zwigoff's latest 'comedy.' For sure there are some hearty laughs in this and he plunges us into his pool of cynicism, but with mixed results. The situation and commentary provided by the classmates are a HOOT! However, our 'hero' is faced with a romantic dilemma that just doesn't seem to fit into, or at least pales in comparison with, the commentary of the script's best moments. Zwigoff tread the line in "Bad Santa" (where it is more than rumored that the Coen Brothers took the film away from him to 'repair'), but I was able to stick with it's dark world, most probably due to the excellent casting. However, here in "Art School Confidential" he cast Max Minghella (yes, Anthony Minghella's son) as the sensitive, artistic flower that must suffer the slings and arrows of artistic pretentiousness until all life is sucked out of him. In fairness, the character has a tremendous arc to travel and I would guess that it could have been a casting nightmare. Or so I am assuming, as Max M. is unable to really pull it off. Jim Broadbent is near brilliance in possibly his creepiest character yet. The man just oozes bitterness! John Malkovich fabulously portrays the ambivalence of art, culture, success and sexuality that threatens to crush our hero. Cast against these two masters, Max M. is set adrift attempting to convince us of his consuming passion for his muse (Sophia Myles) and his art. He simply doesn't have the depth to plunge into Zwigoff's DARK WORLD (or is that "Ghost World"? hee) that the older and more capable supporting cast has. It would have taken a younger Joaquin Phoenix, perhaps, to encapsulate the lifetime of damage that the character must carry with him and attempt to escape from. Max Minghella is just too 'cute' for a Zwigoff film. And I hate 'cute' almost as much as Terry Zwigoff does.


Maxxxxx said...

"What's your name? Mmmmaxxxxxx!"

Diana Askea said...

Thanks for the review. Incredibly, it's playing in Chico already, and I want to see it.