Killing Them Softly was . . . interesting. Very simple plot. The premise seemed to be that mob violence and mob business is just like any other business, turning on budgetary concerns about how much certain products cost. And Brad Pitt, although as easy to watch as ever, could hardly be said to be soft about his killing. Hardly. There was blood all over the place, up close and personal. The use of the camera was the most interesting thing about this film, allowing the viewer to share in the experience of a heroin high as one of the loopy thugs who had robbed a mob poker game of about $200,000 shot up and spiraled into a narcotic buzz, taking the viewer along with him. The language throughout was enough to burn these tired old ears, and the settings, like the aftermath of WW II blitz bombings, depressing enough to make us all thankful to be living anywhere but there. This was a most forgettable film. In fact, I’ve already forgotten it.
I’ve always admired Barbra Streisand’s voice, and I’ve loved her acting in any number of films, especially The Way We Were and Prince of Tides. Not so much so in those two bombs about the Fockers. But in Guilt Trip she was again on track. In fact, her performance as Andy’s mother was about as good as anything I’ve seen this year. Andy (Seth Rogen) is trying to promote his product, an eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner called Sci-O-Clean, unsuccessfully promoting it to various corporations around the country. His mother, Joyce, agrees to accompany him from New Jersey to San Francisco as he pitches his cleaner. Andy has asked her along because he wants to reunite her with an old boyfriend, a businessman in San Francisco named Andy Margolis, the man she’d named her son after. The comic scenes along the way are low-key but satisfying. In fact, the relationship between them, both mother and son as well as Rogen and Streisand, are the glue that holds the whole thing together. And, how satisfying to see a film without the usual slew of toilet humor and four-letter barrages. Thank you, Seth. Thank you Barbra.
My brother sent me this bit of Christmas cheer, a bit of holiday doggeral, and, even though some of you may have already seen it, I offer it to those who have not. Thanks, Bob.
My husband and I fought constantly.
Why I married him, I'll never know.
For all those miserable years I said,
"My husband's just got to go!"
I tried poisoning his cakes, stripping his bed
And salting his pork chops with lime,
Wiring his chair and igniting his hair
Even though arson's a crime!
But I failed at each plot
" 'Till I suddenly thought
Of a way that would set me free!
I got rid of him for good and, know what?
They couldn't do a thing to me!
I took him back to Wal-Mart!
They'll take anything back, you know.
They said they couldn't recall selling him,
But they must've if I said so.
They just credited him to my Visa and said,
"Ya'll come back now, ya hear?"
They were so nice, so polite, so pleasant and so,
I think I'll take back his mother next year!
They'll take anything back at Wal-Mart,
Though it's broken, rotten, or sweet.
You know what else? This time of year,
You don't even need a receipt!