Sometimes you find love where you’d least expect it. Just ask Lars (Academy Award Nominee Ryan Gosling), a sweet but quirky guy who thinks he’s found the girl of his dreams in a life-sized doll named Bianca. Lars is completely content with his artificial girlfriend, but when he develops feelings for Margo, an attractive co-worker, Lars finds himself lost in a hilariously unique love triangle, hoping to somehow discover the real meaning of true love. You’ll be swept off your feet by “Lars and the Real Girl”, hailed as “One of the Year’s 10 Best” by The Associated Press.
2007 – Certificate: PG-13 – American Film
Rating Details: Some Sex-Related Content
8.0 out of 10
I’m on something called Annual Leave at the moment. This is a strange, but rather welcome concept through which I get paid my salary to do sod all. In fact for the last two days I’ve done even less than that and in doing so have actually discovered a new physics, which I’ve decided to call “Anti-nothing”. This is a weird, quantum effect wherein you can actually do less than nothing at all. It’s pretty scary stuff too. It’s only through washing my sleeping bag at one point that I avoided crossing over the non-event horizon and falling into some sort of parallel dimension where no one does anything ever. I’ve never been there myself, although I think I’ve met a few people who have. Doing nothing has given me the time to enjoy the view out of my window a little more than usual. I’ve notice a huge, bright orange building that has suddenly spring up amongst the trees that I’ve never seen before. There’re also a couple of cars in the car park that have had most of their windows smashed in, which are accompanied by a number of dented panels. I’ve no idea what the story is behind them, but they’ve been sitting there, neatly parked, side by side for several days now, and resemble a couple that have had a row and now aren’t speaking to one another. Whoever owns then hasn’t even bothered to sweep up the glass or block up the holes. Weird. I’ve also observed the police dealing with who I imagine is my local drug dealer. They spent ages searching him and his car yesterday morning; I watched all the action through my binoculars. The good thing is that the car has gone now, because it’s been frequently and annoying parked just where I turn in. There’s never a dull moment around here! This movie has none of these exciting things in it, yet it’s still very entertaining.
This is basically a comedy-drama about a guy who buys a blow-up sex doll to have as his girlfriend. Now I’ll readily admit that I’m not an expert in such ‘things’, but I’m willing to bet that most who are don’t take them outside to meet other people very often. Although we live in relatively enlightened times, I’m not sure the world is quite ready for ‘significant others’ down the pub, at the shops or in the cinema, who are made of silicon and rubber and have lifelike ‘bits’ under their clothes. It’s probably acceptable in the Star Trek version of the far future and in Japan right now, but for the rest of us it’s a bit of a social faux pas. But this film sees Ryan Gosling doing exactly that. This would all seem to suggest that this movie’s going to be full of smutty innuendo and body-function-based humour. Actually it’s nothing like that at all. It’s much more of a study of how one individual starts to recover from a life-long difficulty in relating to people. Yes it is very funny at times, but it’s also quite moving too. I really like Ryan Gosling and he seems to totally nail the part in this film. The plot does start to stretch the boundaries of realism, especially towards the end, but it’s well written, acted and made. Kelli Garner is very cute too. An original, well-observed and great film. It’s got one of the worst titles ever though.
The soundtrack is fine for what it is, but isn’t very memorable.
The trailer makes this movie seem more of a comedy than it really is. It probably has most of the best jokes in it.
Recommended for people who work in builders’ merchants, mums-to-be, parents that want to have to explain what a “Living Doll” is to their offspring whilst watching the movie, and anyone who works in an office with people who clutter their desks with toys. (I despair at some of my own colleagues, who stick lumps of brightly coloured fur-with-eyes to their monitors and clutter their work spaces with animal-based, plastic fripperies and desk tidies full of virtually unusable and hideously ugly pens.)
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? In the same way as I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to voting for UKIP, I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to using a blow-up sex doll. However, given the number of votes and sales associated with both, I probably have unknowingly met quite a few. So it’s a pretty badass thing to take your blow-up girlfriend out and about with you, especially if you start to have conversations with her in public too. (I’m not so sure voting for UKIP is though.)
I’m vegan. This makes me better than most other people. I’m not being big-headed or stupid or anything, that’s just the way things are. (See “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” for more details.) I’m lucky, in that the whole population of Cactus World is vegan, which makes things a lot easier. However, the same can’t be said for some of the neighbouring areas. My flat has a couple of air vents in it with built-in fans. These appear to be connected to all the other vents in the building, via a series of pipes buried in the walls. They’re the sort of vents you can use to ‘enjoy’ a ‘domestic’ going on next door. If I lived in a Hollywood film in an old apartment in New York, I’m sure I’d regularly hear murders being committed through them, (which there’d mysteriously be no evidence for when the police arrived to investigate things); or perhaps a major terrorist attack (with a nuclear bomb of course) being planned. I suppose I should be thankful that the vents are in the kitchen and bathroom, as they don’t seem to pick up the sound from other rooms of happy couples em, coupling. So anyway, a little while ago I went to the aforementioned bathroom, to do some ‘bathroom things’. As soon as I opened the lounge door, my senses were assaulted by the smell of cooked fish. I doubt the world’s oceans smell as fishy as my flat right now. Unfortunately, the vents transport smells as easily as they transfer sounds. Four emergency incense cones have now been lit, in an effort to neutralise the insidious odour. (High-powered ones obtained from the US military, through a special arrangement with the authorities in New Mexico. They have “the fragrant aroma of smouldering Piñon firewood that is characteristic of the whole Southwest and the foothills of the Rockies.”) We’ve yet to hear any announcements regarding whether this is a deliberate chemical weapons attack on Cactus World, the result of a massive industrial accident, or simply the outcome of dinner-time for one of my neighbours. For a vegan however, it’s pretty crap; and annoying. The last time my flat smelt this fishy was the day I first came to see it prior to moving in. This was later determined to be a deliberate ploy by the previous inhabitants to disguise one of their leisure activities; it was about a year before it ceased to smell of dope; my predecessors were apparently keen on a joint or two. This film doesn’t feature any of these things. In fact, it couldn’t ‘unfeature’ them more if it tried.
2004 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Moderate sex
I need to go on a diet, (even more than I normally do). This film was so syrupy and sweet that just watching it has made me put on about 5kg. The plot twist at the end is also so obvious that it probably shouldn’t really count as one at all; it’s like one of those weakening fronts you see on weather maps, which by the time they arrive only consist of a few clouds, so if they weren’t pointed out to you you’d probably not even notice them. I’m not much of a fan of period dramas, so a movie set mostly in the 1930s and 1940s isn’t the sort of thing to really excite me. The chances of there being many big explosions, spaceships or gratuitous violence felt slim. Then again, any film with Ryan Gosling in is worth checking out. James Garner’s in it too, who was already old even when I was young. So anyway, okay, this is actually a great film, with the most romantic/tragic ending it’s probably possible to have. As a fan of Thomas Hardy, I’ve always had a soft spot for relationships that get fucked-up by families, class, money, etc. This film delivers a classic Hardy class-barrier storyline, rich city girl and poor country boy; (sounds awful doesn’t it)? Fact is, this film doesn’t really do anything very much else and it certainly doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does do it does really, really well. In fact the only part that felt a bit weak was the Mother’s ‘revelation’; it did feel a bit of a plot contrivance rather than something that fitted into the overall narrative. As a romantic period drama, this does deliver; and yes, it is, especially the ending, tissue-friendly.
Recommended for true romantics. In the perfect world, we’d all end up with our first loves forever. (Aw, see, I can be romantic too.)
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? I have to give this to Lon Hammond. He just goes to prove that even if you’re handsome, a war hero, successful, attentive and an all-around nice guy, you don’t always get the girl. Being a good loser is badass and he manages here to be a top bloke about everything, when he probably had every right to be really, really pissed off.
Today feels like a Sunday. It’s actually Monday but it feels like a Sunday because I worked on Saturday. Tomorrow is Tuesday, but I’ve no idea if it will feel like a Tuesday or more like a Monday. This film is similarly themed around confusion, except that it’s about a Jew who’s a Neo-Nazi. Okay, I’ve got a bit of a confession to make now. I’ve personally harboured a secret expectation for years that I might be a real Jedi Knight, who one day will be called upon to save the human race from some horrible fate. (I do actually do something very similar to this every day of life as part of my job, but somehow it’s not quite the same thing.) Sadly, up to now my attempts to influence people with my mind have been a singular failure; in fact I can’t even influence my own thoughts. I also can’t fight with a light sabre very well. If anyone remembers Star Wars Kid from a few years ago, you will probably be able to visualise just how well I can’t wield this awesome weapon; if I had one, which I don’t, obviously. I do however, enjoy waving a torch about when in a dark place as if it’s a light sabre, making ‘that’ light sabre sound. In fact I suspect I do this nearly every time I have a torch in my hand, probably not to anyone’s amusement except my own. I suppose I’m lucky that most people in Cactus World are pretty tolerant when it comes to care in the community.
2001 – Certificate: 15 – USA
This is a great film. Ryan Gosling makes a first class job of playing Danny, the main character in it, an anti-Semitic skinhead who’s actually Jewish. It’s all pretty engrossing stuff and the ending is far from clear until you reach that point. Despite his entirely repellent and ridiculous views (especially regarding Jewish people), the film does a good job of making Danny quite a sympathetic character at times. It’s often the sign of good writing and acting when an unpleasant character can still make you feel sorry for them. If the movie has a weakness, it’s probably that Danny seems educated and highly intelligent, yet his actions demonstrate quite a mixed up and confused outlook on life. It would have been good to have got inside his mind a bit more to find out what was going on in there. The film’s pivotal scene, where Danny and his gang get sent to ‘tolerance classes’ after a fight in a cafe, is genuinely powerful and heartbreaking stuff, from the point of view of both the stories that get told and the reactions to them. This movie also has Summer Phoenix in it, who as well as being a very beautiful woman also happens to be a lifelong vegan. Then again, all vegans are beautiful/handsome, clever, empathic, compassionate, determined, (please insert your 50 favourite human attributes here), etc. Except me, which is a bit annoying actually. And finally, I’d just like to remind people of the link between early reggae and skinheads. Being a skinhead doesn’t make you a raciest, although being a moronic asshole who frequently spouts uninformed and ill-conceived, generalised crap about other cultures, often does; so really, they should be easy enough to tell apart. Don’t fall into the trap of getting them confused and assuming they’re all the same, or you might just find you’ve become one yourself.
Recommended for people who like good films and topless vegans. (If anyone wants to see me topless I come pretty cheap!)
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Danny in the scene near the end when he’s speaking to all the people at the fundraising meeting. Doing the unexpected with style and pissing just about every one off in the process is pretty badass.