When I’m not watching films on my own, I’m usually watching them with The Fiancee. There’s a five year age difference between us, which isn’t a lot in normal years, but can be a lot in pop culture years. We were teenagers at different times, in college at different times. So, films that are seminal and absolutely necessary to me are mere blips on her radar. Films that are absolute musts to her are films that I’ve either never heard of, or have been “meaning to get to” for years without trying very hard.
And thus, a new feature at The Experience was born! For She Said/She Said, The Fiancee and I are going to take turns choosing movies (or TV shows) for each other every week. Then, you’ll get both our takes on it. It’s like two film reviews in one! However, she’s notoriously way less verbose than I, so it’s more like one and a half film reviews in one. 😉 Still, I’ll be very interested to see what she has in store for me, and I’m excited to share some of my favorites with her.
We started with one of my picks…
TERESA’S PICK: In Bruges (2008)
Why is This Movie Important to Her?
First of all, I’m a Ralph Fiennes hipster in that I was a huge fan of Ralph Fiennes loooong before Voldemort. I was pretty much a Ralph Fiennes groupie from the first time I saw him in Quiz Show when I was, like, fifteen and liking an actor like Ralph Fiennes was so not cool. I was one of the few teenage girls who gave two shits about The English Patient. As a college freshman, I stole an English Patient cardboard cutout from a Blockbuster and put it in my dorm room:
I was obsessed with everything this man was in. By 2008, my Ralph Fiennes love had waned…a little. But I was pretty much only interested in this movie because he was in it.
I also had severe wanderlust in 2008. In 2007, I’d taken a magical, once-in-a-lifetime (well, for most people – I totally plan on taking many trips like that again), month-long trip to France and Spain to visit friends, and coming home made me so sad. I missed the adventure of traveling somewhere new, and so In Bruges fed that urge as well, as it takes place in a truly magical-looking city.
OK, so it’s about hit men, drug dealers, and racists. Whatever.
Why Should The Fiancee Watch This?
In a weird way, this film gets at the core of who I am. Beautiful European location? Check. Sardonic humor? Check. Stylized violence? Check. It’s like everything I like about different movies in one movie.
That, and it’s the first time I’d ever seen Ralph Fiennes play a role so against type. Even in Strange Days, when he was supposed to be in the LAPD, he was still pretty much being Ralph Fiennes. But watching him play Harry in In Bruges was awesome and hilarious. The entire cast is great. Colin Farrell plays a surprisingly lovable asshole, and Brendan Gleeson is wonderful as a hit man with a heart of gold.
Lastly, I love films not made in the United States. This film was a British-US co-production written by playwright and screenwriter Martin McDonagh, and I love the film’s British humor and sensibility. Watching movies made elsewhere reminds me that there’s so much more that can be done with film than what I’m used to.
In short, I thought it would appeal to her weirdness the way it appeals to my weirdness. 🙂
What Did The Fiancee Think?
Being that she’s not verbose, when I first asked her what she thought, she simply said, “It was good.” 🙂
Then, I got her talking and surreptitiously recorded her with my phone. (I told her afterwards, don’t worry. Her responses are in bold.)
“Just…what did you think?”
“I liked it.”
“I liked it. I want some more wine. Do you want some more wine?”
“I’ve got, still.”
“Then I’m gonna have some more wine.”
**she goes to get wine**
(from the kitchen) “There’s not a whole lot left. Do you mind if I finish it off?”
“You’re totally welcome to finish it off.”
“Um…why don’t you interview me about the movie, rather than telling me to think of thoughts?”
“Well, I mean, it doesn’t have to be…I just wanna know what you thought. Your reaction to it.”
“I liked it.” (laughs) “Um…I liked that there were no ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’ really. That everybody was just kind of…I mean, everyone was a bad guy, really.”
“There just weren’t any good guys.”
“It was pretty hilarious, too.”
“Yeah, I kinda like movies where there aren’t any good guys.” (laughs)
“Yeah. I just thought this was like…it wasn’t what I expected when I watched it the first time. Like, I think I rented it from Netflix the first time. When they did DVDs? They still sort of do, but…”
“Yeah…they might have spun that off into another business or something.”
“Yeah. But, um, like, I expected it to be a straight-up gangster movie, and it was so funny and lighthearted in a weird way, and I was like Whoa! This is not the movie I thought I was gonna watch!”
“But still dark in another way.”
“Yeah. And also, I love Ralph Fiennes as a thuggy hooligan.”
“Yeah, that was good.”
“I think this is the first movie where he, like, did that. Trying to get out of the whole WASP-y…fuckin’…upper crust parts he always gets. Or, you know, Nazis.”
“Well, he was something different in Red Dragon.”
“Yeah, that was after this.”
“Oh, it was?”
“I think so…wasn’t it? Well, now I need to see when this was.”
**we both furiously consult the internet**
“In Bruges was 2008.”
“OK, so it was late in the decade…”
“Red Dragon was 2002.”
“Oh! Well then that was different.”
“Also, I wanna see what movie I was thinking of that had Ben Kingsley in it as like a gangster or something, like in Europe. If I can find it. He’s in a lot of fucking movies. I think it must have come out around the same time…”
**more internet searching**
“Oh! Lucky Number Slevin! That’s what I was thinking of.”
“Slevin? It’s called Slevin?”
“Lucky Number Slevin. That’s the movie. It was two years earlier, but whatever.”
“Oh, interesting. Similar type movie?”
“Uh, I don’t know. I never saw it either, but for some reason I was conflating the two…maybe it’s not even in Europe. It has Josh Hartnett and Morgan Freeman in it. Bruce Willis…”
“Yeah, that’s a lot of, like, Known People.”
“Lucy Liu….yeah I think it was like Ben Freeman and Morgan Kingsley play like two rival…”
**WE BOTH BURST OUT LAUGHING**
“Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman (laughs). They switched last names. Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman….”
“That was like the most perfect…like, I’ve never heard that in real life. That’s something that would be faked in like a movie.”
“Uh, I think – if I recall from the trailer – they played like two rival crime lords or something. Lemme look it up on YouTube.”
(as she looks it up) “So are you glad that you finally saw this?”
“Yes! It was good. I enjoyed it.”
“I don’t really know what the Belgian lady saw in Colin Farrell, ’cause he was kind of a dick.”
“He was…but he was like…a dick who was kind of like…a child? It’s almost like…It’s one thing if you’re a dick and you’re, like, super masculine and about to hit somebody?”
“And it’s another thing when you’re a dick and you’re like…she was treating him like a sixteen year old. Like You’re a dick, but you’ll learn. Like that kind of thing.”
“Plus, she wasn’t no great shakes neither. She was gonna rob him, she does drugs, she sells drugs…like, she doesn’t actually work in film.”
“Yeah, no. I know.”
And then, we watched the trailer for Lucky Number Slevin, which is similar to In Bruges, but much more “American:”
So, this is the kind of film discussion you get between a pop culture critic and a production sound mixer. Take that for what it’s worth. 🙂 Next time, I think we will do it more interview-style, and I like recording our conversation. Off-the-cuff and full of references to our drinking habits. Just the way I like it!
“Tune in” next week for more She Said/She Said!
This post is supported by Patreon.