Posts tagged “Alvin Sargent

Ordinary People: 3.5 Stars


Ordinary People  -  Front DVD Cover I’ve always considered myself a bit of a jet-setting, international playboy, (just without the “international”, “playboy” and “jet-setting” bits).  The fact that I’m a friendless, social recluse who never goes anywhere (other than gigs) probably also mitigates against this, but honestly, I do try!  And I’m pretty sure Peter Stringfellow has me on speed-dial too, just in case he needs some advice at any point.  However, next week I find myself needing to go to King’s Cross (London), Alton (Hampshire), Chipping Norton (Oxfordshire), Norwich (Norfolk) and Leeds (West Yorkshire).  It’s true, these aren’t exactly “international”, but Leeds isn’t that far from Scotland and London probably has more foreigners in it from more countries than their own countries have of their own populations in them.  It’s also not very “jet-setting”, but I will be travelling by train a lot and some of them go over 100mph, so that’s nearly as fast as a jet (probably).  (A lot faster in fact, if you take into account Manchester Airport’s little embarrassment last week, when it ran out of aviation fuel.)  As to the “playboy” bit, well I don’t want to push my luck, two out of three isn’t bad.

1980 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Language: some, strong.  Sex/Nudity: none.  Violence: once, moderate.  Other: suicide theme

It may have won four Oscars, but “Ordinary People” hasn’t aged well.  It’s still an engaging and generally bleak film, but it also looks and sounds ‘really old’.  Everything from the cars, through to the hairdos and clothes, shout out “ancient history”.  Released three years after “Star Wars” and “Anarchy in the UK”, it’s set in an America that belongs in some long-forgotten, day-time soap from the 80s.  In fact, I couldn’t quite work out why I owned a copy of this film at first, but then, as it gradually revealed its generally depressing and miserable narrative, I come to realise that this was why I bought it.  It’s another film about a dysfunctional family who have everything yet nothing.  It’s slow, it’s out of date, it’s very American and the picture and sound quality of my copy didn’t exactly endear me to it either, yet the story and the acting is top draw stuff and manage to (almost) overcome its modern shortfalls. Worth watching if you’ve had an overly good day and feel guilty about it, so you can go to bed depressed.  I found it a bit creepy seeing Donald Sutherland with a lot of hair and playing a decent character too; for some reason in my mind he always plays bad guys.  I really felt sorry for him in the end; poor guy.  All a bit tragic really.

Recommended for gloomy people in general and anyone who can listen to a mono soundtrack without their skin crawling.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  In a depressing film about depressing things, what could be more badass than a scene where the most depressing (and best) book in the world is discussed?  Thomas Hardy’s “Jude of Obscure”.  Thomas Hardy, the original emo; (and incidentally the best author in the history of the universe, ever).  It’s simply badass.

Ordinary People at IMDB (7.8)

Advertisements