Lymelife

But if Blonde looks like too much of a chick flick to you then why the hell haven’t you seen “The Others” yetr It’s well-acted, great to look at and has some of the scariest set-pieces since “The Changeling.” What’s that you sayr You don’t like going to a theater full of chattering monkey fucks to see a movie where the silent scenes are just as important as the loud onesr Well, brother, I agree with you, but that heavyset Korean-American gentleman who sat behind me during the 2:00 screening of “The Others” at the Northridge 10 last Saturday certainly does not.

Motherfucker was yammering away throughout the entire film, the most insightful of his comments being, “I wouldn’t go in there if I were her” or “This kind of reminds me of The Sixth Sense.” I shushed the fat ass twice and when I finally turned around and yelled “shut the fuck up!” he seemed to think I meant “please be quiet for the next fifteen minutes, but feel free to resume talking during the climax.” Seriously, that was the third fucking time I asked the cunt wart to zip it and by then…well, it’s either murder the guy or vent about it on the Jerk. Anyway, see “The Others” at a mid-week matinee or on video so you won’t be bothered by these shoulda-been abortions. And bring an extra pair of pants. It’s that scary.

Gosh. Look at that. I’ve written over 500 words on “Legally Blonde” and “The Others” in what was supposed to be a script review for “Lymelife.” Probably because I enjoy writing about movies I like over ones I don’t. “Lymelife” is written by Derick and Steven Martini. The draft I snatched was dated May 15, 2001 and went 113 pages. The Martini brothers, one may recall, got some heat from a movie they co-wrote and starred in called “Smiling Fish & Goat on Fire.” It was a big hit at the Toronto Film Festival and won something called the Discovery Award. Some critics and filmgoers really enjoyed the film. Others described it as warmed-over “Brothers McMullen.” I myself never saw the film because the trailer was shite even for an indie trailer and that’s saying something. Anyway, this new script of theirs (apparently it was workshopped at Sundance over the summer) is best described as plodding “Ice Storm.”

It’s a coming-of-age story about Scott Bartlett, a 14 year-old boy living in 1981 Long Island. Scott loves “Star Wars,” his older brother Jimmy who is in the Army and his father Mickey, a successful real estate developer. Scott is also attracted to his blossoming 15 year-old neighbor, Adrianna who–in the script’s most clever description–“is at that ‘come here, go away’ stage.” She’s a constant tease to poor Scott. Getting him drunk and kissing him then telling him he’s like a brother to her and that she only likes older guys. So as Scott starts to learn exactly what those erections are there for, his parents deal with some marital problems. Mickey, it turns out, likes to fuck around. Right now he’s fucking Adrianna’s mother, partly because Adrianna’s father was bitten by a tick during last year’s deer hunt and has contracted lyme disease. Apparently this makes him lie about going to his job in the city and then sneaking down into the basement to smoke weed all day. I think his lyme disease is supposed to be a metaphor for suburban malaise and the decay of the social fabric being depicted which is a good theme and one that’s never been touched on in film before. Except for the aforementioned “Ice Storm.” Oh, and “American Beauty.” And last year’s “Virgin Suicides.” But other than that, no other film–oh wait, I think “Ordinary People” may have dealt with this subject as well. Same with “Happiness” and on a more fantastical level “Edward Scissorhands.” See where I’m going with thisr And that’s just major American films in the past few years.

It’s not merely the familiar territory being explored that turned me off. It’s that nothing in the movie really happens. “Lymelife” is supposed to be Scott’s story, but…he doesn’t do anything. He gets beaten up by a bully, but lets his older brother kick the bully’s ass. He wants to sleep with Adrianna, but never makes a move for her. Does he want to keep his family her togetherr There are some allusions to that, but he never attempts to soothe his parents’ relationship. Does he want to kick his father out of the house for sleeping aroundr Maybe, but he doesn’t move toward that either. Now, I don’t want to sound like some buzzword spouting suit, but if Scott were a little more “pro-active” then at least maybe something would happen in this script. Scott just kind of stands around and watches other people do shit…and the shit they do ain’t so interesting. It should be interesting: infidelity, madness and first love should all be interesting…but it’s presented so coldly and off-handed here that is just becomes fucking blah. This is one of those slice-of-life movies like “You Can Count On Me” which I deeply disliked–but if Lonnergan’s saga was your cup o’ tea then maybe you would like this script. Come to think of it, I bet “The Ice Storm” looked pretty vanilla on paper, but that movie was shot gorgeously, had a to-die-for cast and some very good direction. Maybe that’s all “Lymelife” needs to be good. Or maybe the workshop process will improve the script. But in its current incarnation, I can’t recommend it.

Rating: D
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