I am not only gonna be talking about the Australian 2009 flick The Loved Ones in this little review I am also gonna start out by going down memory lane. Remember freshman year? When late nights in the common room meant stealthy drinking, imagining your female dorm mates naked, and hoping that, that hot girl on the second floor would walk through in her panties again (holy shit that was a moment). Well there was a SPECIFIC part of freshman year that I will remember for the rest of my life… and its not sex.
Technically this is a Thriller. But here it is, under Action Movies. Just because. A classic that I just now have gotten around to seeing. Let’s start with the cast: Christian Slater (the world’s greatest sorta famous guy actor), Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman (playing a one-eyed, white Rastafarian pimp – no shit), Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken (I think he literally just plays himself), Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Rapaport, James Gandolfini, Chris Penn, and Tom Sizemore. This 1993 Tony Scott flick (directed by, and very obviously well written by Quentin Tarantino) features many of its amazing cast at the height of their careers.
It features one of the greatest character scenes ever devised between Walken and Hopper. I was prodded to watch this movie because it came up in discussion on a Tested.com podcast interview series with Adam Savage of Mythbusters. In it he talks about how Tarantino creates intelligent characters who are smarter than the audience which creates an amazing experience of the audience discovering a wonderful plan by a character. I wholeheartedly agree and cannot say it better myself.
Only bad part is Patricia Arquette occasionally (mostly in the beginning) puts on a really terrible Southern accent. This may not bug some of my non-Southern friends, and it doesn’t ruin the movie. And the rest of her acting is great, especially one kickass scene.
Wow. This movie was the sleeper hit in the past year. I cannot begin to describe how much this movie impressed me. But I’ll try.
First of all, Joaquin Phoenix did a wonderful job. It could be very easy to accidentally portray a man getting an AI girlfriend as a creepy dude. But Mr. Phoenix creates a very real person who has gone through real things in his life, and he just wants to talk to someone about it. This concept of real people is a sub-plot that runs through the film. Is artificial intelligence real intelligence? Are AI people too? But here’s the greatest thing about that sub-plot. It is almost entirely in the background. Through the movie these struggles with the essence of life is only expressly shown through character interactions (i.e. conversations between characters who really don’t care about this SkyNet-net like happening). This is how the film handles most things. By focusing on the characters in the “sci-fi” movie, Spike Jonze creates a world that is different and futuristic in a way we’ve never seen before. After seeing it, I’m thoroughly convinced that some parts of the movie will really be in our lives in a few years. And I don’t mean in the Minority Report way of “oooh, well all have holograms and motion control giant screens.” I mean I can legitimately see our technological world evolve into the one shown in Her.