G. Hunter’s What’s On Netflix-True Stories, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Night of the Iguana

Now that work has let up a bit, going to get the blog going again, both in long and short form posts. To catchup, here’s a few movies I’ve watched in the last few weeks via my Netflix.

1. True Stories (1986)
Strange but beautiful yarn written and directed by Talking Heads leadman David Byrne, focusing on a day in Virgil, Texas, a small town preparing for the state’s 150th anniversary with a “Celebration of Specialness.” John Goodman stars in the established lead role as a bachelor in search of a wife, but ‘True Stories’ doesn’t much rely on plot. Instead, it’s strengths are in its spacious cinematography and eerie tone, leaning n a haunting Big Sky Texas country as a canvass, populating it with absurd but sympathetic misfits. Not big for people who enjoy linear storytelling, but a wonderful artistic endeavor.

2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Unlike Seth Rogen, I believe Jason Segel could pull down women like Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis. He’s a few months of personal training from Hollywood hunkdom, ramping up the plausibility. He also wasn’t afraid to 1) pose naked 2) write himself as a big sensitive wuss with enough mojo to still bag the hotties. The Apatow road show cast is all here (Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Will Heder) and the jokes are both sweet and manic. The non sequitur jokes I enjoyed the best, especially Segel’s heartbroken rendition of the theme to “The Muppet Show.” This Dracula rock opera song is another good example.

3. Night of the Iguana (1964)
I’m biased here, since Tennessee Williams is my favorite classic American writer, and this is my favorite of his work. It’s also directed by another great, John Huston. More bonus points, the anti-hero, drunken ex-minister T. Lawrence Shannon, shares my last name. Said Rev. Shannon has fallen from the cloth, and is working as a tour guide, tromping church women around Mexico in a broken tour bus to various locals. On the verge of a mental breakdown, he abandons himself at friend Maxine Faulk’s rustic seaside resort, where he meets fellow traveler Hannah Jelkes and her aging father. The story’s heavy lifting takes place in this local, as Shannon struggles spends a night struggling to discover his sanity, and his soul. It’s vintage Williams, all heat and lust and unfulfilled desire channeled into unhealthy direction. But ‘Night of the Iguana’ also offers a semblance of understanding of all this, portrayed in a confrontation between the Rev. Shannon and Hannah. The movie does justice to the Williams lines (he was actually on set in Mexico to help with the script), and it also captures the sexual subjexts Williams wrote about with just the least bit of censorship.


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