Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Watcher


Norman had a good week this week. He had been having the occasional stray convulsion following his recent lobotomy but these seem to have finally subsided. Thank goodness for Depakote sprinkles. There were no major relapses, no urgent phone calls to the doctors and no need to search the house for stray bottles of Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey. Sheer heaven. I could, therefore, turn my attention to important things like production meetings for Vicki on Ricki , my new one-woman show celebrating Ricki Lake.

Peter Sellars, my director, wants to encompass all aspects of Ricki’s historic career – we’re working first on Ricki Lake – movie star. We have a Where the Day Takes You medley sketched out for late in the first act and a multi-media presentation for the Mrs. Winterbourne segment where I play Ricki, Shirley MacLaine and Brendan Fraser through an ingenious series of quick-change costumes and wigs. Bob Mackie has outdone himself this time and my fans are sure to get a thrill seeing me play multiple characters during the train wreck sequence.

Norman and I headed off to the local Cineplex on Sunday afternoon. This week’s movie was The Watcher with James Spader and Keanu Reeves. We chose it as it had the most convenient start time. We were uncertain what it was about. Norman hoped it might be a sexy voyeuristic thing. I was hoping for a remake of The Watcher in the Woods with a plot that actually made sense. This film, however, turned out to be a collection of serial killer movie clichés directed as an extended MTV music video. James Spader, still a hunk at forty (but in need of a consultation with my plastic surgeon about those bags under his eyes) is a washed up FBI agent who has a peculiar homoerotic attachment to a serial killer, played by Keanu Reeves. For reasons surpassing human understanding, Keanu enjoys strangling young women with piano wire, all the while taunting Spader with photographs, betting he can't save the victims. Norman, still in a voyeuristic mood, was very disappointed that neither of the leads has a gratuitous nude scene although there is much more sexual tension between them then between Spader and Marisa Tomei, playing the obligatory love interest.

Marisa plays Spader's therapist who is helping him overcome his feelings about being unable to stop the serial killer. She attacks the part in Lorraine Bracco/Jennifer Melfi mode but her clothes and make-up as she tries to look like an intellectual only end up reminding you of Lily Munster. Marisa won an Oscar for no apparent reason nearly a decade ago and has been trying to be a serious dramatic actress ever since. She should stop wasting her time. Ernie Hudson, despite fourth billing, turns up for about 40 seconds of screen time as a senior police officer. Blink and you'll miss him.

The movie takes all of the clichés invented by Silence of the Lambs and Se7en and strings them together. There are the moody shots of urban streets. There are the fancy camera tricks and swooping crane and dolly shots with hard colors reflected in the wet pavement. There are the impossibly complicated and grotesque methods of putting the heroine in jeopardy. There are the police working with better equipment than IBM labs to enhance photographs for telltale clues. There are several stalkings and killings of forgettable day player actresses before the final confrontation that turns out pretty much as you'd expect.

Exploding gas stations. Injectable migraine medication. Gratuitous Vietnamese restaurant. Graveyard male bonding. Turncoat cat. Excessive rock music score. Dancing Keanu Reeves.

No comments:

Post a Comment