Day 289 & Day 290 – Trouble Every Day & Videodrome

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Movie Title: Trouble Every Day

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min.

Rated: Not Rated

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Trouble Every Day is an extremely slow paced and boring movie that lacks redeeming qualities. One of my favorite parts of the DVD case for the movie is that it acknowledges that the movie was near universally panned upon release, but is now being acknowledged as a classic. I think not. The first forty minutes are a series of scenes involving various characters that are basically without context. Characters are not introduced with any depth. They are merely shown performing an action on screen to introduce them. Many of them are performing bizarre or mundane actions that are meaningless ranging from laying in bed to dissecting a brain in a laboratory. They enter into the story as it becomes convenient for the main character to encounter them. There might be a grand total of ten lines of dialogue in the first forty minutes of the movie which certainly does not help the pace or the clarity.

The main set of characters are an American couple in Paris. They are ostensibly on their honeymoon, but Shane (Vincent Gallo) is searching for a missing doctor that is conducting some type of mysterious and shady research on behalf of Shane. He has disappeared with a woman that Shane is interested in finding. When he eventually finds her he makes an irrational and for Shane arousing act that results in property destruction and death. After returning to his wife he starts demonstrating behavior that I think would have been difficult to hide in the build up to the nuptials and then begins to engage in predatory behavior on the streets of Paris. The angle of the camera always implies violence and indicates that Shane is teetering on the edge of sanity

The biggest problem with the movie is that the actions and motivations of the characters make no sense and therefore the characters are ridiculously stupid. The level of obsession Shane displays could not be covered up over the course of years it would take to woo a woman into marrying him nor could his extreme dependence on drugs or sexual dysfunction. Which begs the questions, why would his wife marry him? To follow that up, why is the doctor Shane is searching for harboring such a dangerous young woman in an abandoned building that needs to be boarded up (sloppily, I might add) each day? None of it makes a lick of sense.

Verdict:

Trouble Every Day leads you on like it might come together into something coherent and sensible, but it never does. The payoff is not worth the irrationality of many of the movie’s plot points. Skip it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Videodrome (1983)

 

Movie Title: Videodrome

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Videodrome is a masterpiece by David Cronenberg that is mind bending and surrealist to the max. Max Renn (James Woods) is a TV producer for a low budget, low class TV network that is looking for some new programming. While surfing the airwaves with one of his employees he comes across a depraved new program called Videodrome that is entirely sex and violence without any plot. Max goes on a quest to discover the origins of the program, so that he can acquire it for his TV station.

This quest quickly descends into madness as it is clear that what Max is experiencing can not be entirely or perhaps even partially real. Videotapes breath and Max himself turns into a conduit for the tapes. The body dysmorphia imagery is disturbing, but starting to look a bit dated. It isn’t as visually gruesome or classic as The Fly, but it is still excellent. Max wonders if he is being double crossed by his employees who could be agents of Videodrome, if he is being used by a girlfriend with disturbing erotic preferences, or if he could be being manipulated from beyond the grave by a church leader that only communicates through video tape.

The movies themes apply to American life as well as how the movie itself evolves. Max is looking for the lowest common denominator to present to his audience and as he looks for it he too is degraded physically, mentally, and spiritually. Ultimately, Max solves problems with the same violence he sought out. This violence consumes and destroys him as well as those around him.

Verdict:

It is a surrealist nightmare that can not be taken literally. Nothing is as it seems. But, it has a crystal clear message about the state of consumption in American society. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: The Kid (1921)

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