Warning: The following contains spoilers for an 18-year-old movie. If you haven’t seen “The Crying Game” and still would like to, best head for Gawker.
You can only watch “The Crying Game” once. It’s a surprise package (heh heh), and you get one shot at the surprise. Unlike other films with a fourth-quarter twist — “The Sixth Sense,” “The Usual Suspects” — it can’t be enjoyed a second time. I watch the latter two films for a few minutes when I surf past them on cable, just to see if they cheated, even a little bit. So far in my frame-by-frame examination: Don’t think so. “The Sixth Sense,” in particular, was very very clever in how it built to its climax, and you can go back through every significant scene and, nope, didn’t cheat there, nope, not there, etc. “The Usual Suspects” is more of a final-moments joke, but it’s an enjoyable one, and any rewatching includes Pete Postlethwaite, so, y’know, WIN. The only thing I don’t like about Pete Postlethwaite is spelling his name, and the way he says, “I work for Keyser Soze” cancels that out.
But back to “The Crying Game,” which I just can’t enjoy anymore. Loved it the first time, still think it’s a wonderful movie, but once you know the big honkin’ hairy secret, not so much. I keep yelling at the screen: Aren’t you wondering why this girl’s hands are so big? Aren’t her hips just a little too slim? And is she really that beautiful, or just…hello, Stephen Rea! Wake up and smell the coffee!
My pal Lance Mannion, who has a background in theater, says it’s an old stage trick, just a simple bit of conjuring. We know Forrest Whitaker was in love with this girl. Rea falls in love with her picture. Because he loves her, and we identify with him, we love her, too. I’m not the smartest moviegoer in the world, but I didn’t fall off the truck yesterday, and the big reveal totally surprised me. The whole theater gasped. And now the illusion is so well and truly shattered, all I can think on subsequent viewings is that Stephen Rea plays an Irishman who’s been brain-damaged by drinking, or is perhaps half-blind.
I’m talking about movies today because I’m thinking about movies, because this year’s holidays fall on weekends, and I intend to lap a few up, the first with Kate (“True Grit,” “The King’s Speech”) and I hope at least one with Alan (“The FIghter,” maybe “Blue Valentine”). And I’m looking at end-of-year lists, particularly David Edelstein’s Best Performances wrapup, which revealed one I hadn’t even heard of until now — “Mother and Child.” (Where are all these films playing? I live in a big city, and a significant percentage fly straight over my head.) I also enjoyed the 14 most thankless female roles of 2010, as at least one of these was inflicted upon me this year — “The Killer Inside Me,” which you should avoid like a cesspool.
And now I’m off like a prom dress, to do last-minute shopping of this, that and the other thing. I might also take my Mont Blanc pen in for a cleaning and degunking, which they will charge me for. I haven’t paid a repair bill on an Apple computer ever, but this pen is one headache after another. Good thing I do most of my writing on this thing.
Don’t ask don’t tell — repealed.
Census — not surprising. Michigan stands alone as the only state to lose population in the last decade. Foreman says these jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back to your hometown…
Finally, a Christmas movie you couldn’t pay me enough to see: Little Fockers. I wonder what they paid DeNiro for this thing. I hope it was a lot.
Off to buy REDACTED and REDACTED for REDACTED and REDACTED.