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Archive for the ‘Dark Comedy’ Category

Art School Confidential (2006)

Jerome Platz wants to be an artist. No…he wants to be a great artist. So after finishing high school he enrols in an art school. But he soon learns how the art world works and gets his first hit of criticisms. What’s more he’s in love with the art model. Can his dreams of being a great artist come true and get the girl too?

**May Contain Spoilers**

One of the reasons I wanted to watch this movie was that scene in one of the trailers, where Bardo starts labelling the students coming into the class. There was the mother, the freak, the suck up and him, the guy who keeps changing his major cause he’s afraid that he suck at everything…I thought that was very funny and that it would be a rather funny film that pokes fun at the art world.

And yes the movie is pretty funny in all its art school clichés, at least the first half of the movie is. We get to see all Jerome’s wacky classmates …and roommates, one is gay and as aspiring fashion designer and the other a film student trying to get funding from his grandfather to direct a movie based on the local serial killer. Than there’s the thing where Jerome tries to lose his virginity…another zany affair which ends unsuccessfully. And of course he later falls in love with the art model…which maybe the reason he even joined this particular art school…so he can meet her.

But the movie takes a serious turn in the second half. Even though Jerome works very hard on his art, his work doesn’t even get recognised by he’s classmates…they much rather see a painting with weird big strokes or a plain picture of a car. And after getting criticism and even criticism for criticising a fellow classmate’s work, Jerome falls into despair. He starts smoking, drinking, and visiting Jimmy, (Jim Broadbent) a washed up art school graduate living a dingy apartment, who starts giving him weird dark advice.

Then a drastic event happen which changes Jerome’s life…and after that his art started getting recognized and he finally even gets the girl…which I thought was a fitting end for a movie that’s poking fun at the art world right? Don’t artists need drastic events before their art get recognized….I mean look at Van Gogh…did he not cut his ear off?? Did he not die first??? Before his art fetch a ton of money. Suddenly his art was impressive, fascinating and great?

I actually like this little flick, its funny, with a little seriousness, and actually I didn’t mind the serious turn like some people do…I mean it’s needed to lead to the chosen ending…right??…which I thought was rather funny…don’t you think??…with the media interviewing the art teacher and all. Plus don’t you think the art world takes itself way too seriously…they probably should watch this film and take a look at themselves. Oh and theres probably tons of Jeromes out there who only needs a drastic event…to finally make them a great artist right? 🙂

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Confessions of an American Girl (2002)

Jena Malone plays Rena a teenager living in a trailer park with her mom, brother Jay (Brad Renfro) and half sister Barbie (Alicia Witt). She is suicidal and pregnant as a result of an affair with her secret popular boyfriend. Rena also has this notion that her life would be better if her dear father, who used to read her bedtime stories..or issit rhymes when she was little, had more part in her life…except that of course he’s in prison. So when the annual family picnic at the prison arrives…she convinces her mother to let her go there.

Two reasons why I wanted to watch this. One. Jena Malone. I think she’s a great actress…maybe one of the best actresses of her generation …too bad she doesn’t get too much notice since she doesn’t act in one of those popular teen flicks. Mostly she’s in those smaller drama and dark comedy type of films playing interesting complex characters. You’d might want to check out Stepmom, Donnie Darko, Life as a House and Dangerous Lives of the Altar Boys.

Second. Brad Renfro. Where has he been lately? This is the most recent I’ve seen him in. I liked the movies he did as a child. The client was an excellent debut for him. In Sleepers, his and the other child actors performances pretty much outshined the adults… which was no mean feat considering there was Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt And Minnie Driver. And then there was the Apt Pupil… which was pretty wicked.

**May Contain Spoilers**

Ok…so getting back to the movie. I like dark comedies and so I rather enjoyed this movie. Rena is a naive and rather childlike too. She believes she’s in love with her secret boyfriend…who obviously is just using her. She even thinks that the child she is pregnant with is some type of blessing and the three of them will live happily ever after. And when she failed to have that “I’m pregnant with your child “ conversation with her boyfriend she tries to commit suicide by hanging herself…and since this is a dark comedy…she fails at this one too as the branch, or was it the rope,…wasn’t strong enough. Of course she would make further attempts as the story progresses…like trying to overdose herself with children’s vitamins…yes go figure. I thought the conversation of her mother and the paramedic following the “attempted” suicide was quite funny.

Another thing about Rena…is that she loves her absent Daddy. She has this faint memory of him reading bedtime stories…and she pictures him to be a loving father…if only he was more around…her life would be much better and happier. Maybe he would even be happy that she is pregnant… So determine to see her father she convinces her mother and siblings to go to the picnic.

Since the majority of the film takes place in the prison. I won’t go into it any further…I don’t want ruin the movie for anyone. But I think it’s safe to say Rena’s father is not as she imagined him to be. As I’ve said before, I enjoyed the movie. It is funny, quirky and yet quite sad and tragic in dark comedy type of way. Jena Malone does a fine job here. Rena can be absolutely irritating in her naive ness…that makes you want to knock some sense into her…cause like its soo obvious…why cann’t you see!! But she is likeable, rather innocent, vulnerable and childlike and you feel sorry for her. Plus I guess we all can relate to the living in denial part. And Brad Renfro…whoa…he actually plays Rena’s gay brother here…what a change from the other characters he’s used to playing…and I think he pulled it off.

Wow…I got carried away here…I’ve written a tad too long. I’ll wrap it up. Good movie. Good story. Good Performances Thoroughly enjoyed it. If you enjoy dark comedies…you’ll probably enjoy this one. I’ll give it 3.5/5


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