Scammers (Film Thoughts: Kajillionaire)

To be honest, I haven’t really connected with any of Miranda July’s work. I think they are just a bit pretentious, or maybe I just don’t connect with them emotionally. I don’t even know if I understand them, and I blame that deficiency on me. So I went into ‘Kajillionaire’ with some trepidation (maybe even dread) even though I have heard from a couple of different people that it’s good. I have heard that the film is similar to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Shoplifters,’ a film I liked a lot so I was curious about that.

And sure, I liked this film, and for me it’s the most accessible of all I have seen from July. It’s about a family of scammers – played by Richard Kind, Debra Winger, and Rachel Evan Wood. I am very fond of the performances here and perhaps that’s why I warmed up to the film more, because to be honest there were some parts of the film I didn’t know if I understood – for example, what is up with the bubble forming in the walls of their place? And why does their place look like an office? And, why are the parents just scamming, like did they ever do anything else? Have they been doing it since they were younger?

I was able to understand more of the emotions because of the performances – Wood is excellent as the daughter caught in all the scams, and when she has all her realizations in the end, I found myself affected by her. And the ending, where we see that she may have finally found love (from anything) is pure joy. So, yes, I am willing to forgive some of the misgivings about the film I have.

You Always Love The One You Love (Movie Thoughts: The Lovers)

lovers‘The Lovers’ is a love story in reverse – an affair that goes backwards. I like its idea and concept. I like its stars,¬†Tracy Letts and especially Debra Winger. They play a married couple on the verge of finally separating, each with their respective lovers. But you know what they say – you always want what you cannot have. So they have become attracted again to each other, to the point that they are ‘now’ cheating from the people they are cheating with. I know it sounds complicated, but it’s really not – these characters are probably more attracted to the idea of being with the ones they shouldn’t be with. It’s kind of a cute – but serious – concept. But somehow the screenplay betrays it – it should be funnier or more serious, and never gets off the ground. Both actors try to work around that, and because of their efforts we get a half-baked affair instead of a Sylvia Weinstein creation.

I have a friend who saw this movie and absolutely hated it, saying these people are despicable and the whole movie is one hundred minutes of wasted time. I wouldn’t go that far. As a matter of fact, the movie isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’ enough to warrant that kind of passionate reaction from me. Sure, I think it’s a little bit of a wasted opportunity, but I just shrugged it and went to my next movie.