Thursday, April 07, 2005

Did I Already Tell You This?

Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
I recently caught part of "Men Don't Leave" on the television a few weeks ago and remembered why it is one of my all-time favorites. Starring Jessica Lange, Arliss Howard, Chris O'Donnell and Joan Cusack, this is a cinematic antidote to those gruesome Julie Roberts flicks where mothers overcome adversity by lip-syncing Aretha Franklin tunes into their hairbrushes while their progeny dance around the bedroom in fits of faux glee.

This movie is about real pain following the death of a daddy, and starkly reveals the awkwardness and depression that come with not dealing with grief in a perky cinematic li'l way.

Watch for the scene where Jessica Lange kisses Arliss Howard on one of their first dates and her nose starts to bleed(ohmigod! humiliation!) or when her emotionally neglected son (heart-wrenchingly played by little Charlie Korsmo)prefers to spend the night at his friend's house rather than come home to mama. Watch Jessica's very body communicate her sense of maternal failure and shame.

Joan Cusack, who should have been nominated for a Supporting Actress Oscar for this work, is nothing short of brilliant as a comfortably eccentric, dumb-as-a-fox nurse who initiates a sexual relationship with the teenaged Chris O'Donnell. Brazilliant comic work grounded in truth and a wonderful grasp of a complex character.

I dare you not to cry your eyes out when Jessica says, "Matty, you don't always have to be so GOOD."

It's not out on DVD, get your VHS players ready and put the Kleenex nearby.


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