Posted by shannonclark on August 26, 2002
This weekend I saw two movies, one in the theater, and one on TV (AMC).
In the theater I saw “Who is Cletis Tout?” – not a bad movie, a bit too contrived and trying for more than it achieves, but amusing and enjoyable in a movie buff who loves crime capers manner.
On tv I saw ‘Grand Canyon” which seems to be a movie that divides viewers and reviewers. Looking at the reviews on Amazon of Grand Canyon you see that it is mostly split between 5 stars and 1 star reviews.
I really enjoyed the film, yes perhaps it was a bit sappy in some respects, but I thought that unlike most films it took complex characters and wove a story around them, one that involved black and white characters interacting in a way that was conscious of race but not unrealistic. Some of the reviews approach it as “will make you think that all inner city black young men are thugs, and that to escape required moving to a “white” neighborhood.” This ignores what the film itself shows, not something black or white persay, but a family moving from the inner city of LA to a an area “not so white” as Kevin Klein’s character describes it – an area with whites and blacks living in, but not in perfect harmony.
But it is shown as imperfect harmony in large part due to the character’s own perceptions – the young black man of the family runs away from a group of youths (apparently hispanic) who approach him – one who comments “where did he come from, Beruit?”, in his running he is then flagged down by two white police officers – but though flagged down, he is later shown brought back to his mom’s house, where he then stomps off in a rage.
Not a simple picture, but a layered one, and one that clearly would have be very beautiful to see and hear on a large screen.
Perhaps I am a sucker of long, complex films that feel as if they have real characters, debth, and subtle touches – all elements that are rare in films of any era, or perhaps I am not well tuned as the many critics who seemingly panned this movie as toughly as any film can be panned (on the bottom of one critics all time worst films list!).