Sunday, August 9, 2009
ONE OF THE ONLY THINGS I LIKE KIRSTEN DUNST IN
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.