SAVE YOURSELF from “Punch-Drunk Love”

20 04 2010

I see a lot of movies, and not all of them are good.  However, I don’t really have a system of reviewing them here.  So, I decided that I needed a feature on “Marshall and the Movies” that allowed me to post reviews of bad movies.  I enjoy informing you what’s worth seeing, but I also think it to be my duty to steer you clear of the awful ones.  (In addition, people seem to get more riled up when you don’t like things than when you love them.)

The name of this series is “SAVE YOURSELF!”  Consider it the anti-“F.I.L.M. of the Week.”  These are movies that no one should be forced to sit through; a “F.I.L.M.” is a movie that everyone should see.

The inaugural pick of this series is “Punch-Drunk Love,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s quirky “comedy” that scored him the Best Director award at Cannes in 2002.  Critics loved it, and so I figured I would give it a chance after PTA’s “There Will Be Blood” left me somewhat disappointed.

After watching “Punch-Drunk Love,” I was definitely disappointed.  But it was more than the usual disappointment – I was also baffled.  These are 90 of the most bizarre minutes of my moviewatching career.  Anderson’s script dabbles in some of the strangest situations – being ripped off by a phone sex operator, exploiting a loophole in a pudding rewards system, finding a harmonium in the middle of a street – which baffle more than they entertain.

I had heard that “Punch-Drunk Love” was a fresh take on the romantic comedy.  I’ll agree with that statement, sans the romance or the comedy.  There isn’t the slightest chemistry between leads Adam Sandler and Emily Watson.  I admit that it’s not supposed to be your typical couple seeing as how Sandler’s character has some serious mental issues, but the relationship that blossoms feels so … wrong, if that makes any sense.  And as for the comedy, Anderson’s humor left me dumbfounded and cringing instead of laughing.

There are plenty of people who love this movie; I even found a fan site exploring “Punch-Drunk Love” as a piece of expressionistic art.  I don’t mind “artsy” movies, but when they are so focused on the art that they forget entertainment and captivation, then I lose interest.  Unless you are the “film snob” type, I would strongly recommend that you stay far away from “Punch-Drunk Love.”

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9 responses

20 04 2010
James D.

Really? It is probably in my top ten of the decade.

21 04 2010
Gringo

I’ve got to disagree with you on this one.
Don’t forget that this came out after a string of rough Sandler flicks like Mr. Deeds, Big Daddy, and Little Nicky. I can’t explain how refreshing this was when it came out. It was like when Jim Carrey made The Majestic and The Truman Show. I love the film’s colors, cinematography, bleakness, and overall dark tone. And on top of all that, it showcased Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ability to play a villain. I’m convinced that it had a part in his being cast in Mission Impossible III which has one of my Top 3 PSH roles.

Gringo
He Shot Cyrus

21 04 2010
Dreher Bear (...Where The Buffalo Roam)

I agree with James, I thought Punch-Drunk Love was a pretty good film. It was nice to see Adam Sandler step outside of his comfort zone. Definitely a very character-driven film.

21 04 2010
Mad Hatter

I’m with the others, I really liked this movie even though I’m certain it caught a LOT of people off-guard. There are so many absurdly funny moments, and the relationship between Barry and Lena is a very tender and romantic one (I love that kiss they use for the poster), though admittedly an odd one.

Did you see this recently? If not, I might suggest watching it again…might have more to offer than you remember.

21 04 2010
Marshall

I saw it two weeks ago, I don’t know if that counts as “recent” in your book. I don’t have a problem with “odd” movies, but when I spend more time ogling at it than really watching it, then I have a hard time enjoying myself.

I’ll agree with Gringo’s statements on PSH. Any role that he screams and shouts in makes me giddy – and I also LOVED him in MI3. If we ever get a Batman 3, I’d love to see him as The Penguin (and Michael Emerson from “Lost” as The Riddler).

And I guess I was right about drawing a lot of comments by saying that I really didn’t like something…

21 04 2010
Mad Hatter

Yeah, you’ll never go wrong saying you don’t like a flick a lot of people do. If you wanna have real fun, go off on a movie that people really LOVE!

Two weeks ago does indeed count as “recently”, as opposed to not having seen it since it first hit DVD. As I mentioned, I might suggest you watch it again sometime. Remember that it’s going for a dry humour (“My sister’s a liar, I have to go to the bathroom”), and that it’s the absurdity of Barry & Lena’s connection that makes it so unique.

Couldn’t aqree with ya more about PSH by the way – he makes everything better!

21 04 2010
Frank Mengarelli

I am a “film snob” sir – and I couldn’t stand this film. I love PT Anderson’s films, but I found this film really trite and pointless.

21 04 2010
Marshall

Glad to have someone take my side here! I agree with the “trite and pointless” point you bring up. It’s one of those movies where you ask yourself, “What did I get out of that? Why did I spend that time watching this?” Never a good feeling.

I don’t hate Adam Sandler – “Funny People” was an admirable effort.

21 04 2010
Frank Mengarelli

Also, I can’t STAND Adam Sandler anymore.

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