Monday, 4 April 2016

Impressions of a knee-jerk nay-sayer

The Resident Fan Boy is not, of course, known as the "Resident Fan Boy" in his own household. He's known as the "Knee-jerk Nay-sayer", the master of the automatic "no".

Some years ago, I wanted to go see Catch Me if You Can but the RFB/KN balked. He couldn't stand Leonardo Dicaprio, he declared. Upon further questioning, it emerged that his aversion to Dicaprio was based on a couple of movie performances and the RFB's general impression that Mr Dicaprio is a smarmy smart-alec.

"Look at Titanic," he argued.
"Titanic," I retorted, "was a success because Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet are skilled enough actors to rise above that dialogue."

We went to CMiYC.  The RFB enjoyed it.  I don't remember if I restrained myself from saying, "I told you so."

I doubt it.

So, this past weekend, I wanted to go see Born to be Blue, starring Ethan Hawke as Chet Baker, the troubled and tragic jazz trumpeter.  Guess what?  The Resident Fan Boy couldn't stand Ethan Hawke. "Based on what?" I asked in exasperation.

It turns out that the RFB hasn't actually seen anything Ethan Hawke has been in, but he thought EH was annoying on the Graham Norton show.  A quick check doesn't indicate that Ethan Hawke has ever been on the Graham Norton Show, and, at any rate, younger daughter wanted to go because she loves jazz, which means the RFB needed to come because he's been Favourite Parent for about five years.

My own impression of Ethan Hawke is favourable, because he's an actor who takes on risky projects.  Born to be Blue is a risky biopic because it concerns a few years in the middle of the life of Chet Baker, a man who apparently seldom told the truth about anything.  In my experience, biopics are seldom accurate anyway; real lives are never tidy enough for a satisfactory two-hour movie plot.

The movie takes some elements of Baker's life, doesn't sugar-coat them, but at the same time deals with Baker with compassion -- and from what I can gather, portrays him as a much more sympathetic person than he really was.  Ethan Hawke plays him convincingly and should you see the movie, he will break your heart.

(Keep an eye out for Canadians. Much of this was filmed in Sudbury, and k.d. lang has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo as a sexually ambiguous invitée to Baker's recording comeback.)

At the end of the film, younger daughter said it was a good movie:  "I'm just upset."

The Resident Fan Boy was impressed.  I don't remember if I actually said, "I told you so."

But I probably did.

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