Dear Ndugu

Rented and saw “About Schmidt” last night. I kind of liked it, enjoyed Nicholson’s restrained performance. I’m not sure B liked it. Perhaps too much male angst, too many shrewish or otherwise exaggerated female characters. It was all a bit broad for sure. The fellow playing the prospective son-in-law seemed to be doing a sort of poor man’s Nicholas Cage impression, Valley Girl era.
Writers like myself tend to forget sometimes that film is a visual medium as well as a written (and acted, and directed, and sonic, and so on) medium. It’s a very rich form. About Schmidt is visually stunning, and the attention to detail (as in the haircuts) was superb. I didn’t recognize Howard Hesseman at first through his snowy hair, but the voice and mannerisms gave him away.
It’s Doctor Johnny Fever, I said to B. Who? She said. From WKRP? Oh, you’re right! Lots of embarassment humor. Some really cringeworthy moments. The letters written the African foster child turn out to be an excuse for ironic voice-over exposition, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Kathy Bates was great of course, and carried off her repellant seductress role with aplomb. The actress playing the daughter was painfully good. I don’t know if I’d recommend this film to anyone with serious father-daughter issues going on! Otherwise, I give it two opposable thumbs.

now playing:
Severe Tire Damage” by Zero [Go Hear Nothin]