Monday, November 28, 2005

Two Mules, Bobby Long

I was able to get in a couple of movies this weekend. The first movie is the Clint Eastwood western "Two Mules for Sister Sara". In this one he teams up with Shirley MacLaine. While this isn't a pairing that immediately comes to mind for Eastwood during his Western Days, it isn't nearly as strange as Eastwood teaming up with a monkey, so it all works out. Here's the set-up: MacLaine is set upon by some bandits and Eastwood happens to come and rescue her. She is initially in a state of undress and Eastwood is his gruff self and plans on just leaving her. But when she gets dressed she is a nun! In full habit nonetheless. Somehow they start to travel together and there are some conflicts and neither can seem to leave the other until the movie ends in a big gun battle with some Mexican soldiers. It's a decent western and entertaining. Eastwood is exactly what you'd expect from him in a western, but MacLaine was spunky and worked very well with Eastwood and it was a good role for her and a good fit for the movie. I liked it!

The second movie is one that netflix had shipped me by mistake. I cancelled last week but I guess "A Love Song for Bobby Long" had already shipped. I made sure I watched it right away so I could send it back. Wasn't sure what I'd think about this movie. John Travolta seems to be hit and miss these days with perhaps a few more misses than hits. I believe I had heard some semi-good things about the movie but it pretty much slipped under the radar except that Scarlett Johansson has been turning in good work, this included.

The basic plot is that Scarlett's mother has just died and when she is told she tries to make it to the funeral in time. She doesn't, but she finds out that her mother has left the house to her and two men. The two men are Travolta, who plays Bobby Long, a former college English professor, and a former student of his. They seem to get by without paying rent and just existing, talking about literature and drinking bad alcohol. When Scarlett begins to live with them things start to change and we see how their relationships evolve and how the student cares for the professor and why Bobby Long seems to be broken and how everyone is broken in some way. "A Love Song for Bobby Long" is less a movie about plot than it is about the characters and how they relate, grow, and learn. Character growth and development. It's one of those movies. Nothing explodes on screen, but their lives seem to be on the verge of explosion. I was surprised by how moving it was and how good everyone is. Johansson, if she can stay away from doing another Michael Bay movie, is turning out to be one of our better young actresses and Travolta can prove from time to time that he's quite good. It's not going to make a "Best Of" list, but it's a decent movie. I'm not mad I watched it. How bout that?

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