Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Now and Forever

"There is no way I'm going to do some cheesy movie of the week, okay?" - Oh girl, you have no idea.

The opening credits for Now and Forever contain a familiar name, Bob Clark. It's not familiar because it's a common name, instead because I knew I had seen it before. Somewhere bad, where only the bravest souls dare tread. A quick glance at his IMDB page reveals the horrible truth, this is the man who directed both Baby Geniuses movies! As a result, he is a contender for history's greatest monster.

I'm not being fair, he's actually directed a strange and elaborate mix of different films, from Black Christmas, to A Christmas Story, to Porky's, to this one, which was filmed in sunny Saskatoon. As he died not long ago - car accident involving a drunk driver, no less - I even feel a tinge of regret calling him history's greatest monster. Plus, he filmed a movie in Saskatoon! I lived in Saskatoon for three years, and it remains one of my favorite cities. That tang of recognition in most of the exterior shots elicits a small streak of joy every time.

Shame the movie isn't very good then, huh?

It's actually kind of amazing simply in the way it's bad. Clark had been making movies for many years by the time he did this one, yet it's pure amateur hour. The story is about Angela Wilson (Alexandra Purvis, then Mia Kirshner), troubled actress. After her father kills himself, she stumbles across some magical aboriginal people - including John Myron (Simon Baker, the Turok himself, Adam Beach) and Ghost Fox, played by surprisingly good considering the rest of the film Gordon Tootoosis. She goes to their suspiciously idyllic reserve (which is...inaccurate) and learns all about how wonderful being native is. Best of all Ghost Fox is literally magic, as he prevents a rape with the power of his mind. This is something that actually happens. I did not make that up. It's not even the most insane "magical aboriginal" moment in the film.

Eventually, she wants to leave the small town she lives in (a motive reinforced by the character saying some variation on "I want to leave this town!" every five seconds), hooks up with a crappy boyfriend, and a bunch of increasingly cheesy and sad things happen, leading to a twist ending that is unexpected, yet both ridiculous and ripped off of another, quite famous movie.

The script is, at best, clumsy. The narration provided by Beach often makes him sound like a creepy stalker who wants to dance around in her skin. This is due to bad writing, and a not very good reading. The strange thing is, Beach is not a bad actor - he was pretty fantastic in Flags of our Fathers, in fact. So I don't get why he's somewhere between psycho stalker and plank of wood here. Or maybe it's just the script, which is not interested in subtlety, but is quite interested in clumsy dialog and poor characterization.

Even the filming is amateurish. It's supposed to take place in a small Saskatchewan town, but as Saskatoon is not a small town, its city-ness keeps seeping through, often due to poor blocking. A scene set in "one of three motels in the area" (on Idylwild drive, which has many motels, but enough of my love of the filming location) is rendered unbelievable by the various tall buildings immediately behind it. Yet they managed to film one location in such a way that it hides just how close it is to a major highway (Highway 5, specifically, and it's RIGHT OFF of the road so it's pretty difficult to pull off. I was convinced it had to be a different building since it seemed further away from the highway than it was, but being that I recognized every single building in the yard, and the layout, from driving by so often, there's no other house it can be. Oh, I'm rambling), so clearly someone around can do things properly.

It's full on amateur hour, with a mysteriously stupid script, some bad acting, workmanlike directing and merely passable cinematography. The locations might be fantastic, but it's still a cheesy, badly made movie. No matter how much I love Saskatoon, being set in Saskatoon is not enough to make a movie great, or even tolerable.

No comments:

Post a Comment