DON V. THE DEPARTED
It was one of those weekends.
Plans to see Hollywoodland were scrapped at the last minute last Friday night. The next morning I drove my arse to the Paul Dallaghan workshop in the suburbs and accidentally went to the old studio and got so lost finding the new one that by the time I got there that I was so late I turned around and went home (where I did a two-hour yoga practice). That night SportMarty and I went to see the Departed. But the only seats left by the time I finally got there were in the second row, all the way to the right... at a theater where the screen is already on a weird angle. After watching for two minutes our necks hurt so badly we stormed the lobby and exchanged our tickets for Little Miss Sunshine, which I wanted to hate but could not. (Does anyone else think that Greg Kinnear is simply a slightly upscale William H. Macy)? Afterwards we went in the front door of the nearby Mexican restaurant, saw there was not a single open chair, walked all the way through to the rear room, which was also full, and kept going right out the back door.
On Thursday things fared better when a group of us went to see our friend the actress Lily Mojekwu in the play Another Part of the House. It dealt with the two things that scare men most; women's emotions and sexuality. Perhaps that explains why the lone male in our group fell asleep. It was based on a play by the Spanish writer Garcia Lorca, who hailed from Andalucia and was a contemporary of Louis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. But apparently he took it personally when they called their famous surrealist film collaboration Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), and they fell out. But it was the fascists that killed him in the end.
SportMarty and I tried again to see The Departed on Saturday and this time we met with success. But Jack Nicholson made his irritating "Here's Johnny" look so often I wanted to go up there and smack him. Marky Mark was brilliant as the crazy detective with all the good lines. Afterwards we had an animated discussion about the film over margaritas and comida at the Mexican place -- where we scored the best seat. We were so loud in fact we attracted the attention of the guy at the next table, who grabbed us on our way out and began a new spirited discussion of the film while his girlfriend silently sipped her drink and looked down at the floor.
This afternoon I played hooky and went to see the remake of the Bollywood classic Don. Shahrukh Khan is no Amitabh Bachchan (who played the dual role in the original, 1978 version) and I went in with a wrinkled nose and arms folded over my chest. There were four of us at the brand-new theatre, which is in the heart of the city's Gold Coast neighobrhood, in the middle of the Mag Mile -- aka the toniest part of the city, at 600 N. Michigan. Another major Bollywood release, Jaan-E-Maan is also playing there. (Yet apparently that's not enough to warrant capsule reviews in the city's free independent weekly).
Like The Departed this was a mobster movie with crooked cops and slippery informants and twists and turns and foot chases and carefully-choreographed cell phone exchanges and plot problems galore and a bizarro plot bomb dropped at the very end. Don however had better music (think James Bond on the crack) and costumes and special effects and dancing and, uh, a moral center. It took place primarily in Malaysia -- which is a lot more appealing than Boston. And in Bollywood movies the mobsters enjoy the fruits of their illicit lifestyle; unlike the slob Jack Nicholson with his stubble and spittle and dive bars and grody cronies and crappy little hideouts, SKR and his well-dressed ilk shaved regularly and lived it up in highrises and on the beach -- and also got up off their arses and danced from time to time. Plus their molls did more than stand by and prescribe drugs and wring their hands.
I wanted to hate SKR's Don but I couldn't. His range is limited but he's just so charming. Plus whenever you got sick of him, in walked the handsomest man in the world -- Arjun Rampal. Once his character started limping and carrying a cane I was a goner.