Friday, December 21, 2007

Toxic Roger and His Nicer Nephew

Tomorrow, hopefully I'll be flying to Arizona - I'm writing this Thursday, in advance. I saw three good movies, courtesy Netflix, as I lay in bed recovering. The first was 2002's Roger Dodger, an acid potrayal of a fast-talking, bitter, misogynist pick-up artist and his teenage nephew, Nick, who shows up on his doorstep and awkwardly asks for tips on meeting girls.

The always superb Campbell Scott plays Roger defty, like a Stradivarius, reaching nasty, smoke-tinged verbal crescendos, while Jesse Eisenberg holds his own an insecure, but sensitive and good-hearted teen soul. Roger, his luck slipping, buttresses his ego by trying to take Nick under wing as a protegé, with interesting results. Ladies and Gentleman, the 5 Parameters of Criticism:

1. Four Words That Encapsule: "Mean-spirited Jerk: An Anatomy"

2. Haiku (5/7/5):
"What makes a boor?
What does he think, where's he from?
Will he just fester?'

3. Oblique comments: Campbell Scott impresses the hell out of me. I've seen him as a gay everyman (Longtime Companion), victim of a con-man (Spanish Prisoner), a feverish, lost tourist (Sheltering Sky), romantic lead in a grunge comedy (Singles), and slippery bisexual movie producer (Dying Gaul). He lucked out on DNA, as the child of two acting legends, George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst.

4. Insight: Interesting as dissecting Roger is, this film would be hard to watch without the contrast of his nephew's sweetness and unconscious steadfastness. The ending is satisfying and realistic - Roger changes, but not too much.

5. Link: Metacritic review. Average of 75, I'd give it a 90.

And, finally, not a trailer, but an actual clip from the film:

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