Sunday, August 9, 2009


It's true: when Kirsten Dunst turned 18, I stopped thinking she was all that great. I didn't care for her as Mary Jane, as cute as she might have been, because in my book, she quit acting and starting getting by on looks. Prior to this, however, she turned out two great gems: Interview with a Vampire and the film under review today, Drop Dead Gorgeous. I might add that this is the only film I've ever liked Deniese Richards in as well: not my favorite actress. Call me a hater of the cute film stars. You might be close to true, except that a very young Amy Adams is also in it, and I find her downright adorable.

What makes all this even better is 1) watching this on VHS that I 2) purchased at Goodwill 3) for 1 $. With investments like this, I should be retired by May of 2010.

There's something of true beauty in being able to pull off a dark comedy well. In Bruges, with Colin Farrell and Ralph Feines comes as close to being pitch black a comedy as I've seen in a long while, but somewhere along the line, making light of slaughtering midgets crosses some invisible line in comedy that I can't really go with. DDG, however, hits the notes right in terms of being both comedic and devilishly dark.

In a dark comedy, as exemplified by most of the Coen brother corpus, there's a few key elements:

1) Death-made-hysterical. This doesn't just mean 'death' in the abstract, like making jokes about funerals, but actually making funerals or actual death sequences into moments of comedy.

2) Trauma-made-hysterical. This doesn't mean, again, making jokes about amputation, but making actual trauma funny. Like getting a beer can fused to your flesh, or putting an anorexic girl in a wig.

1) and 2) are designed to get you to the point of feeling really bad about yourself, because you're laughing at things that no decent human being should laugh at. You're finding humor in stuff that if someone at prayer group told you about, you'd have better sense (hopefully) than to crack a joke. Unless you have no desire to see said person giving said prayer request again. Then, suggest that they watch Fargo and watch their eyes turn to stone.

But #3 is the kicker: mockery of resolution. The plot cannot fully resolve itself, or if it has resolution, the resolution has to be of the most shallow kind possible, like in Burn After Reading where the bureaucrats close up the folder and congratulate themselves on the incinerated bodies.

In all three cases, DDG succeeds tremendously. It makes me feel guilty and warm all over in one single viewing. 4 vibrating tractors out of 5.


Tiffani R said...

If I were to be honest, I would add "Bring it On" as another one of my favorite movies of Kirsten Dunst's film catalogue...... Embarassing - a little. But I think its a funny movie, so there.

:) TR

Scott Rushing said...

This is one of our favorite movies. We watch it at least once a year.

the hamster said...

funny thing here: i had so pushed mary jane out of my mind since the last SPIDER-DUDE flick, that i didn't remember kirsten dunst as her until after i read your whole post and then went to the bathroom. half way back down the stairs i was like, "oh! THAT mary jane!" yeah, no.

great recommendation here. i love the dark comedies. i like to laugh in the face of the death dealer. i like to say, "How do you like your blue eyed boy, Mister Death?" and then guffaw at the fact that i have no blue eyed boys to give him.

i'm also not afraid of the dark, food poisoning via undercooked meat, staff infections, impoverished urban areas at night, sharts, caves, closed spaces, zombie invasions, spiders, or snakes coiled around my doorknob. at least, that's what i want you to believe.

what's your take on HEATHERS, myles? you like that? i like that. it's wicked dark and hella funny. in fact, we should guzzle it down next time we're together.

the hamster said...

tiffani - i'd give a dollar for myles to watch and review BRING IT ON. better yet, why don't you send me an email of your own BRING IT ON review, and i'll post it as a guest post. that would be boss.

Anonymous said...

Love DDG, love In Bruges, and could not agree more on Kirsten Dunce!

myleswerntz said...

Vernon, I ALMOST like In Bruges. I appreciate what it was doing, and found parts of it as black as midnight in a fog, but I just couldn't do it. It was almost TOO dark, you know? I mean, the part about the midgets was pretty clever, borderline brilliant, but in such a morbid and wicked way that I couldn't laugh at it, you know?

Now, when Denise Richards does her talent show routine? That part kills me every time! I laugh until I can't cry.

Tiffani R said...

Kevin: You're on. T