Sunday, October 3, 2010

You Kill Me Is A More Succinct Title Than You Mortally Wound Me

So...what the hell is up with this shit?

Things wrong with this clip:

1. No. NO. NO!! Harry Potter's done, you finished it. You even tacked on that unsightly epilogue showing him as an adult. I could see maybe writing another story that takes place within the Harry Potter universe but Harry's story is over.

2. Don't pull that "maybe, maybe not" bullshit. Please don't be that writer that jerks their fans around with this whole "well I wouldn't not maybe never probably write another Harry Potter book" that's crap.

3. That weirdly sparkly shirt-mabobber Oprah was wearing.

See? Picard gets it. He knows what's up.

So today I actually got some work done on my book thingy (almost twenty pages!) which isn't all that impressive when you figure I've been dealing with this idea for over a year and a half (sigh). Apart from that, as opposed to doing real schoolwork, I watched You Kill Me, possibly the most adorable movie about hitmen since Grosse Point Blank.

It kinda freaks me out how much Ben Kingsley looks like a mannequin or a dummy in this poster. Also, SUCH a horridly stupid tagline

So there are a couple different types of hitman movies: There's ones that take themselves terribly seriously, especially when they do that whole "honorable samurai" metaphor such as Ronin, then there's the bumbling hitman type-thing where our protagonist is so the opposite of the mindlessly efficient killing machine and hilarity ensues as he bungles each kill, like A Fish Called Wanda, and then there's ones where hitmen or mobsters or whatever are terrifyingly good at what they do, but it doesn't define them or turn them into hardened stoics. It's like "yeah I kill dudes, but it's just my dayjob, wanna go for ice cream?" like In Bruges.

You Kill Me is the third sort. It has a tone that is trying for darkly comedic but really is too cute for the "dark" bit to be taken seriously. Also, the cast has some of my favorite people: Bill Pullman, Dennis Farina, Luke Wilson and our hero, Ben Kingsley, who stars as Frank, a hitman for the Polish mob. Frank is an alcoholic, as evidenced in the opening scene where he shovels his walk while swigging vodka, tossing the vodka ahead into the snowbank as incentive to keep going. This becomes a problem when he passes out drunk and misses a very important hit, Irish mobster O'Leary (Dennis Farina, who is just damn awesome in anything he does). Frank's boss becomes concerned and it's a funny scene because his fellow mobsters basically stage an intervention and send Frank off to San Francisco to get clean and shape up.

There Frank meets his contact Dave, played by Bill Pullman, a spazzy real estate agent who sets him up with an apartment, a part-time job at a funeral home and an AA chapter. Bill Pullman usually does this whole vaguely handsome "everyman" shtick but here he is this weird, ratty little jitter-monkey and it's a nice change of pace. At AA Frank meets Tom, played by Luke Wilson who is, as usual, playing himself. Except gay. Which we only know from a comment that AA is a nice place to meet dudes and a couple meh gay jokes.

"It's funny, cuz, um, cuz there are gay dudes in San Francisco? Right? ...Wait, what was the joke we were going for?"

Anywhoo, as you would expect, Frank starts out all grouchy and stuff but eventually starts getting into this whole sobriety dealie and getting good at his funeral home job, where he meets Tea Leoni's character Laurel when her step-dad dies. Normally, I cannot stand Tea Leoni (no I'm not doing the little accent thingy, I'm lazy) but I really like her here, and surprisingly, her and Ben Kingsley have pretty good chemistry together, which helps offset the creepiness of their 23 year age difference. Kinda.

Sort of...Maybe? ...No.

Anyway, things proceed pretty predictably, Frank stumbles with beating alcoholism and pursuing a relationship with Laurel (thank god they never actually show them having sex) while meanwhile the Polish mob is facing serious heat from the Irish and Frank must save the day. Things that don't work: Frank's pretty open about the fact that he kills people for a living, and everyone else is pretty cool with. Tom an Laurel especially hardly bat a freaking eyeball at the revelation that Frank's resume consists of, ya know, murder. Laurel's more concerned that he might be gay. Which is weird. Some of the jokes like that just fall flat. What saves it from mediocrity are the actual good witticisms that get traded and the fact that every character is just intensely likable. There wasn't one guy that had me going "ugh, fuck off already" they were all just so...cute.

Yes, even you, Captain Pedo-stache

So in the end, You Kill Me is a cute movie about hitmen, the mafia and getting sober in San Francisco. It's nothing new and nothing extraordinary, but not liking it at least a little bit feels like kicking an alcoholic puppy. Three catapults out of five.

This is Sugary Cynic, debating which couple feels more icky, Kingsley and Leoni or Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones from Entrapment? (Shudders) 'Night!

Stef (Frank's cousin): "Look, I know you think you know Frank pretty well, but there's probably a few things you're not gonna wanna hear"

Laurel: "Like that he came back to Buffalo to kill Edward O'Leary so he could stop him and the rest of the Irish from getting into bed with some Chinese sugar daddy and wiping your family off the map? Oh, and he's a really big drunk"

Stef: "...Wow. He's really opening up"


  1. As soon as I heard the news that JK Rowling was bringing back Harry I knew she lost the battle to be herself. Remember, there was the big announcement where she was going to finally write the crap she wanted to write to begin with...crime novels. Ah...what happened to that venture? Fizzled light last night's beer. So now she is forced to come on Oprah and say..ha ha...just for laughs...I love money more than being true to myself or "dear won and won't let me change." She will grind out more of their agenda and alchemy and rake in the bucks...because she is really writing what she wants??? Right. I don't buy it for a second. She is writing what her house WANTS her to write in order to save a dying industry, because whether they like it or not, we all "ha ha ha" have the power to create and those that are creating because they want to or have to because we are like the main character in the movie Quills...we would write with our own excrement than be deprived of our quills. We are the insane creatives that believe we have something to say even if we are just talking to ourselves. Let Harry fucking die and create what you really want to create JK Rowling and fuck their have fucking enough money to really do what you want to do so have the courage to put out mediocre crap like the dear Patricia Cornwell...Kay Scarpetta is the weakest flimsiest crap I have ever read about in my entire adult existence. Having flashed through and able to dissect her books with the mind of a five year old, unable to see any brilliance in a woman who marries a professor, divorces him and says "Whoops..I was a lesbian." WTF indeed. But this is a long can of whoop ass to those who have only Memes to push out there and have WHOOPS lost the creative gene that somehow gets sold off to the highest bidder...and then...when they can actually amass a fortune and have the ability to create something on their own...ah...they lost whatever it was that made them an original and they can only churn out the same crap because they became a (DUN DUN DUN...) BRAND. Can anyone say "Air Supply?"
    When people are afraid to be who they are because they can only rip from other people...well, I would rather they turn out like our dear Orson Welles. Which you have already written brilliantly about in the past...he said fuck you to Hollywood, but fucked himself in the process by serving 'no wine before its time." So how do we not get our creative genius fucked over? Ah it's time to shit some more ink to write with...because in the end it really is all shit anyway. I love the Marquis, but don't beat me...please!

  2. Whether or not a new book is a bad idea.... I would read a new HP book in a heart beat. I would be at the midnight barnes and noble book release party in costume. I would cancel all other plans in my life to read the book straight through in one day. it's a sickness really.

  3. Ben Kingsley plays, like, every ethnicity ever, doesn't he? Just the other week, he was a super-Jewish mobster in Lucky Number Slevin. I'm no confused.

  4. Marilyn: O.O dang, touchy subject I guess? Ah well, nobody likes it when they're favorite writer goes off the rails

    Morose: ...Yeah, me too. I just wouldn't be happy about it.

    Simon: For reals! The man played Gandhi for fuck' sake!

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