I finally gave CHINATOWN a sporting chance last night. I rented it for free from the library, so there was no money on the line, and from the moment I popped in the DVD I knew this was going to be the time I’d “get” it. And I did. I liked it a lot. It had the same feel and mood and vibe that THE BIG SLEEP and THE MALTESE FALCON give, but with a bit more of a modern spin. I enjoyed watching Jack Nicholson and there were some good moments in the movie, but I still don’t see it as a GREAT movie. There are plenty of movies, PI and otherwise, that are much better and have done more with, and for, the form, so I don’t see why this movie gets special billing.
This could be because I’m coming to the movie late and all of the secrets had been revealed, but still, I don’t think that’s it. And that’s one of my biggest questions with this movie. I don’t get what the whole sister/daughter kinky family triangle has to do with the main story of the water shortage plot. They never mesh and one never really has anything to do with the other. But none of that matters. The plot zipps along after a slow start and about an hour in I was ready to go to sleep but it kicked it up right then and I was dragged along to the end. I think my biggest complaint is that there wasn’t enough character stuff for me. I’ve grown so used to my PI stories being as much about the PI character as the PI’s case and there is none of that here.
Anyway, today I watched YOU’VE GOT MAIL and that is a much better movie. It’s not the best romantic comedy by far (that, of course, is reserved for WHEN HARRY MET SALLY) but it is one of my favorites and since it takes place in NYC that gives it a whole lot of bonus points. I especially like all the internet chatting stuff in the movie, but this is the first time I noticed how far we’ve really come in online communication since 1998. And their computers are so old (today those would be gleaming white iBooks) and they have DIALUP connections. How funny is that.
This movie has a high watchability scale in that you can come in to the movie at any point and watch it to the end. But two of my favorites speeches are Tom Hanks talking about fall in NYC and wanting to buy a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. I love fall and I love school supplies and I love NYC so of course that would register with me. My other favorite line comes almost at the end when Tom Hanks is talking about if they had met under different circumstances. If he hadn’t been the one to put her out of business, he says he wouldn’t have waited 24 hours before calling and saying “How about coffee, or drinks, or dinner…for as long as we both shall live.” That is just a great line. It reminds me of one of my favorite lines from WHEN HARRY MET SALLY when Harry tells Sally that “When you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
Or something like that. Now I’m off to go work on the novel. Mock if you must…