Thursday, January 22, 2004

Ulee's L.I.E. 

Caught two pretty interesting movies last night. Ulee's Gold and L.I.E. I liked both of them, but of course for pretty different reasons. I've been hearing about Ulee for a while now and how good Peter Fonda's performance was. While there was others in the movie and they acted good as well, he really did have to carry it, as the movie was mainly about him and his evolving life. Ulee is a beekeeper who has retreated into a life of work after his wife died six years ago, but gets pulled back into things after his son gets put into jail and daughter-in-law's chemical dependancies show up. So he ends up watching his two grandaughters for a while, as well as getting help from a neighbor (who is a nurse) and getting involved in his kids troubles. He is an old-fasioned, quiet, worn-out guy who is having trouble adapting to the changes in life. A well-done movie, and I can identify with the life of a beekeeper, which is sort of geeky in its own way.

As far as L.I.E. goes, it is a fairly controversial story about a young boy (15 almost 16) named Howie, who has troubles at home (his wife died and dad has replaced her with a lady that he seems to just have sex with), and who just feels isolated and confused about his sexuality. Eventually he ends up involved with a pedophile who refers to himself as Big John. The actors for both of these characters do a really good job, and despite other parts in the movie that might not be realistic, both of these characters seemed very real to me. Howie is very vunerable, but also has some idea of what's going on and maybe of what he wants. I can identify with some of it from when I was younger. As for Big John, that's probably the part that a lot of people look at, in that he's portrayed as not 100% evil. I don't want to give away too much, but I have to say that the way it was done impressed me. It wasn't an effort to suger-coat a monster, but it also didn't take the easy way out of making John a one-dimensional person with absolutely no redeeming qualities. In the real world, things are rarely that simple. A thought-provoking movie, and really not deserving of the NC-17 IMHO, as there really is a lack of explicit and/or pandering content. Most summer action movies have more skin and swearing than this movie does, and I think the content is even-handed enough to not warrent that kind of rating. It seems the sort of thing some kids could do with watching, as it addresses confusing emotions without being too judgemental..

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