Sunday, June 29, 2014
SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #9: Match Point (2005)
Running Time: 124 minutes
Directed By: Woody Allen
Written By: Woody Allen
Main Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew Goode, Emily Mortimer, Brian Cox
Click here to view the trailer
Allow me to rant a bit about my personal goings on before I get into the review. I thank you in advance for lending me your ears...
On Tuesday, June 17th, my wife and I packed up our Jeep Compass and hit the Ohio turnpike - destination Maumee, OH, a suburb of Toledo. My wife has some family up that way and it was our chance to get away for a few days. It was the first day of our vacation, which was to last eleven days (the first five and a half in Ohio, the final five and a half at home, relaxing). We work hard and it's something we'd been looking forward to for months - I even had an little countdown app on my phone, a constant reminder that some well deserved relaxation was on the way. Anyway, I'm happy to report we had a fine time in the midwest and everything went off without a hitch. We spent the first day settling in, doing some shopping. The next day saw us visiting the Toledo Zoo and visiting my mother-in-law. The Thursday of our Ohio trip saw us venture into the city of Toledo to visit, of all places, a retro candy store ("all the candy you loved as a child"). On Friday morning, I got a massage at place nearby the hotel (it was divine!) and my wife and I had a nice lunch for her birthday. On June 21st, our anniversary, we spent the day in bed, watching "12 Years a Slave" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" (more on those in the monthly recap). By Sunday, we'd felt like we'd really had a proper vacation and we packed the Jeep back up to head home. We knew we'd miss the hotel and the getaway, but we still had five work free days ahead of us and a full DVR to keep us more than busy.
Anyway, we got home, unpacked, had a nice Sunday night, Chinese takeout dinner, knowing nothing of the hell that I'd awake to Monday morning. When I awoke on Monday, I had a severe toothache - probably the worst pain known to man, if you ask me. The pain was unbearable, but having had some run-ins with tooth pain in the past, I knew some tricks to get rid of it. First, there were the over the counter gels that promised to numb the area and render you pain free. Well, they only served to make the pain worse. Then there was gargling with salt water, applying an ice pack or a heating pad and of course, popping some over the counter pain relievers was a no brainer. Anyway, nothing was doing the trick and as the pain diminished and heightened throughout the day, back and forth, I knew something serious was going on in there. On Tuesday, the pain was worse and I was up all night with it. My wife even passed me some sleep aid elixir (Zzzquil) to try and knock me out and eventually, at around 6am, it worked. On Tuesday, I made the dentist appointment, reluctantly (I've always loathed the dentist), but they couldn't see me until Thursday. I couldn't bear it and that night, I had no other alternative but to go to the emergency room and see if I could get a prescription for some pain meds. When the "doctor" (technically doctor's assistant) finally saw me, she all but laughed at me being there, wondering why I had come to a proper doctor and not a dentist. I explained my situation and she gave me three vicodin and a prescription for an antibiotic. I went home, the vicodin did absolutely nothing to phase the pain and went to sleep that night, somehow. When I awoke on Wednesday, the pain was nearly gone. Perhaps the antibiotics or the vicodin HAD kicked in and all I had to do now was wait twenty-four hours before the angel of mercy known as the dentist could ease my pain.
My dentist appointment had arrived and the pain had returned Wednesday night into Thursday. The dentist took a look, confirmed what I already knew - that I needed a root canal and that she'd prescribe stronger vicodin (what she called "extra strength vicodin") and a stronger antibiotic, that would hold me over until the appointment could be scheduled. Turns out, I picked a popular dentist, as they can't get me in until August 28th, about two months from now. The pain continued to come and go and when I got home, I popped the new antibiotics, one of the extra strength vicodin and my wife and I finished "Captain Phillips", which we'd started the night before (again, more on that in the recap), hoping to finish it before the vicodin kicked in and sent me to LaLaLand. This was not how I wanted to spend my final two days off before returning to work after eleven days off, but I was in pain and needed some relief. The thing was though, is that the vicodin wasn't knocking me out and more importantly, wasn't easing the pain...AT ALL! In fact, about two hours after my appointment and after popping the one vicodin, along with three ibuprofen, the pain was as worse as it had been all week - unbearable and the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life, no joke. I went to the bathroom to swish some peroxide (a trick I read online) and noticed that while I was swishing, I had zero pain. When I spit, the pain returned. I tried some mouthwash and again, while my mouth was full of the liquid, I was pain free, but about ten seconds after spitting, the pain nailed me again, like someone taking an ice pick right to my jaw. Then, i wondered, would any liquid work? I tried some water and I'll be damned if it didn't totally kill the pain, as long as it was being swished around my mouth. As soon as I spit, BAM, like a ton of bricks the pain would nail me again. So, long story short, from four o'clock that Thursday afternoon until eight o'clock Friday morning, having not slept and with one more trip to the E.R. and a shot of pain medicine in me arse via a haggard looking nurse, I swished water. Within those sixteen hours, my lips and front upper and lower gums had swollen to twice their size and I was sore as could be, not just from the regular toothache, but from the swelling. At 8 o'clock my wife called the dentist to demand that they do something to help me and they did, telling me I'd need to make an hour and fifteen minute drive to visit their other location. So I did, swishing all the way. All told, I swished water around my mouth for something like eighteen hours and when I got to the doc and sat in the chair and she gave me that sweet sweet Novocaine and I could finally put down my water, I was sore, but relieved.
She ended up pulling a wisdom tooth while she had me under her spell and doing half of the intended root canal - the rest to be finished on August 28th. She did what she could to relieve my pain, but couldn't do the whole thing, because she was fitting me in amongst her other appointments that day. I came home and slept basically the entire day, having not slept the night before and it was decided later that night, by my wife and I, that I would be skipping my return to work - making it twelve days out of action. Yesterday, I felt better, but not top notch and with a still swollen face, a headache from hell and a nauseous stomach (probably from the antibiotics guessed my wife), I decided to make it a lucky thirteen days without work and stay home today too. It was a memorable vacation, for good reasons and bad, I promise you that. As I laid in bed today, my wife off working a double shift, I decided to make my triumphant return to this blog and kick it off with a SIN OF OMISSION. Tomorrow I reluctantly return to work, after nearly a half month off, but since I'm off every Tuesday and Wednesday, I only return for one day before having another two off. Damn, I might as well retire! Anyway, thanks for listening...on with the show...
WHAT IS A "SIN OF OMISSION"?
As noted many times in the recent past here at the "1001 Movies I (Apparently) Must See Before I Die" blog, in the next 12 - 18 months the ultimate goal of this blog will transform from 'one man's journey to watch all 1001 movies in the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book' to 'one man's journey to create his own, personal canon of 1,000 favorite films and show "those 1001 people" just how it's done! Sins of Omission will become a regular feature on the blog where I'll take one film that WAS NOT included in any incarnation of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book and DOES NOT appear on the next list of 1000 films that I plan to tackle, give it a formal review and make it a permanent part of my list, which is entitled: 1000 Films You REALLY Should See Before You Die: A Personal, Ongoing Canon of My 1,000 Favorite FIlms.
THE DARK SIDE OF WOODY
I've had this one sitting on my desk side table for months now, waiting to do a SINS OF OMISSION review on it, but continually putting it off. Unfortunately, I saw this one before I was a full fledged Woody Allen fan, so the surprise of seeing the trailer for this one and realizing it was nothing like what Allen had ever done was lost on me. I will say, looking back, it must've been a shocker for any Allen fans at the time.
By the way, I haven't written a review in what seems like ages, so if this sucks, forgive me.
Chris Wilton (Rhys Meyers) is a former tennis pro whom, when we meet him, has just landed a job at an English country club as a tennis instructor. He's glad he doesn't have to be a pro anymore, citing his frustration with the tournament circuit and glad to be able to settle down in a new town (London), with a new job, in a new flat. After a few weeks of instructing inexperienced tennis players, Chris strikes up a friendship with Tom Hewett (Goode), as the two have several things in common, including good music. Tom eventually introduces Chris to his sister Chloe (Mortimer) and the two begin dating. During a week in the country, at Tom's parents' home, Chris is introduced to Nola (Johansson), Tom's girlfriend - an aspiring American actress trying to make it big in Europe. Instantly, Chris is attracted to Nola, but of course, must hide his true feelings as they are both already spoken for. During this time, Chris takes a job in Chloe's father's company & quits teaching tennis and it is established that Chris is being groomed to marry Chloe and be put into a prominent spot in the Hewett family. It is also during this time, that Chris and Nola begin to have a mild affair. Chris pursues Nola and catches her at a vulnerable time, forcing her into his arms. Later, Tom and Nola break-up, sending Nola out of the picture and Chris moves on with Chloe, marrying her, purchasing a high priced flat and moving up in his new father-in-law's company. As Chris and Chloe advance in trying to make a baby, Nola re-enters the picture, moving back to England from the U.S. and striking up an affair with Chris. Chris is now juggling his new found responsibility in the company, his new family and Nola, as things begin to get more and more tense. Later, we learn that Nola is pregnant (by Chris) and urges Chris to tell Chloe that their marriage is over and that he's met someone else. Chris, of course, resists these demands.
What's not to like, really? Some critics claimed that this was a return to form for Woody Allen, after a string of stinkers in the early 21st century. But was it really? As far as I'm concerned, Allen had returned to nothing her and this was more of a reinvention for the director, who scrapped the comedy altogether and took on an entirely dark approach. We also saw him leaving his home turf of New York City and instead using London, England as his new setting. In fact, Woody wouldn't return to NYC nor to his conventional comedies until 2009, with his film "Whatever Works". No, Woody Allen wasn't returning to form, but rather adding an entirely new layer to his directing portfolio. Maybe it's just me, but from "Match Point" on, Woody never really felt at home in NYC anymore and I could really get a sense of that through his camera lens. Woody used to film New York City in a special way and I noted in my "Manhattan Murder Mystery" review that Woody allowed me to travel to NYC every time I watched his old movies and that I'd rather go to Woody's New York than to the real one. Woody had a way of showing us, not just the World Trade towers and the Statue of Liberty, but hidden gems of the city that could only be found by Allen himself. After he went to London, I think a lot of that magic disappeared, but luckily, he found that same connection with this new city, as he films London just as beautifully as he filmed New York.
Anyway, I'm rambling. This is a great movie and a great one to introduce new fans of Woody Allen to his work. Actually, maybe not, because you may be setting them up for disappointment. What I mean is, someone who likes this, may not like the traditional Woody Allen fodder, as it's just so different. Anyway, here you have an outstanding performance by Jonathan Rhys Meyers and I have to wonder what happened to this boy? Seriously, why isn't this guy a Hollywood A-lister? I could just as easily go and see what he's been up to, but I'd rather ask it rhetorically here. The rest of the cast is fine too, but Rhys Meyers says so much in this film, at times without saying anything at all. In fact, if I had to nitpick about one cast member, it would have to be ScarJo, as I've just never been a wild fan of hers - her looks or her talent. There are times here when her lines are nothing more than being read off a written page and she looks like an amateur among these fabulous British talents. She kicks it in deeper, later (the scene where she confronts Chris outside his office, realizing he hasn't been away on holiday after all, comes to mind), but I really loved everyone but her. The plot is great too, a retelling of Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy" with a tweaking and a borrowing from Allen's earlier "Crimes & Misdemeanors". The subject matter was right up Allen's alley, as he knows a thing or two about writing affairs and this was the grand daddy of all the cheating situations he'd ever committed to script. I love Allen and I don't want to make any crazy accusations, but you kind of get the sense that Woody admires the Chris character. He lands a great job, puts on an act and fits in when necessary, marries a pretty, proper girl and then cheats on her with this incredibly sultry foreigner and manages to not get caught in the end, disposing of all his dirty laundry with two shotgun shells. I'm not saying Woody would ever go as far as his character did, but I really thought Woody was writing his dream life here. I'll digress and wrap up. Great film that you MUST see....end of story...
RATING: 9/10 I'd like to EVENTUALLY do proper reviews of all of Woody Allen's movies, whether they be SINS OF OMISSION or just plain old reviews. I'll have to get working on that.
June 29, 2014 3:58pm
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