I watched Wonder Boys last night.
I'm really not that big of a Michael Douglas fan, in fact, I've disliked pretty much every movie he's ever been in, and I don't really don't like him all that much as a person. Though, War of the Roses was great, but that came out a good twenty years ago. Douglas seems to play the same role in every movie, the sort of slimy, dirty, mean yet charming guy. I agreed with the first three, but Iíve never found him charming. Iíve always thought him kind of a jerk.
I joined the Columbia House DVD club a while back, and I'm really bad about mailing in the little postcards they make you return every month, so they keep sending me movies. When I belonged to the Columbia House Music Club years ago, I never returned any of the postcards, but marked all the CDs they sent to my house as ďreturn to senderĒ until they changed my membership agreement so I didn't have to return postcards anymore. Itís only been a couple months, so the DVD arm of the club and I haven't quite reached that level in our relationship yet.
One of the movies they sent to my house was Traffic. I kept meaning to send it back. I was looking around one day, about a month after Iíd gotten it and found the box with the DVD in it. They say you've got 10 days to return a movie if you don't want it; crap, it had been about a month and I still had the movie.
I was going to chance it by sending the movie back anyway, but I remember when I didn't pay them for, like ever, and they threatened to send some armed goons over to my house to break my knee caps. I can't imagine they'd be any friendlier to someone for breaking another rule, and all the commotion they might cause them to do a little digging and finally put two and two together to realize Iím the same MG that had been a music club member years ago.
Iím sure the interest on my purchases are in that U.S. National Debt range by now. Even if it isnít, I still donít want to pay it. I mean, would you want to pay for those Milli Vanilli, Young M.C. and Tone Loc tapes that you ordered, never paid for, and sold to a used record store for cigarette money more than a decade ago?
So, for a variety of reasons, I decided to keep Traffic. I ended up really enjoying it, much moreso than I expected. I liked it in spite of Michael Douglas. I think perhaps the secret to enjoying every movie you watch, is only watching movies you think you are going to hate, with actors youíve always disliked.
Well, I didnít receive Wonder Boys from Columbia House, but rented it. I really enjoyed the film, not despite, but, amazingly, because of Michael Douglas. Also maybe a little bit because of the story.
Wonder Boys is based on a novel by Michael Chabon, who also wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which I got for a birthday present this year. Kavalier & Clay won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year. The awards were announced on April 18th. That date, April 18th, also happens to be my birthday. Did I mention I got the book as a birthday present?
Anyway, the coincedentialities aside, I really liked Wonder Boys. And I especially enjoyed Michael Douglasí performance. He played his usual slimy, disgusting, dirty and repulsive individual, but he managed to play it with enough compassion that I actually liked the character. I wonder if I may need to rethink my previous opinions of Douglas as an actor and as a person. Because really, any guy who can convince Catherine Zeta-Jones to allow herself to be impregnated by him can't be half-bad a fellow. I think I might be a fan now.
To conclude my half-assed review, Wonder Boys also stars Tobey Maguire (the future Spider-Man), Frances McDormand (who I once met at a bar), Katie Holmes (who Iíd like to see naked) and Robert Downey Jr. (who is such a great actor that I had no trouble believing he was stoned throughout the entire movie).
Traffic was good. I am not a fan of M.D., either. But in that film, he played the kind of clueless, overly-ambitious, selfish prick that suits him well. (He's pretty much played the same role since Wall Street- and is a little too convincing.) In Traffic Benicio Del Toro was great, and Miguel Ferrer (who I have met in person) kickedass!
by Charles at October 6, 2001 3:21 PM