Genderbent Wednesdays Presents MAVERICK

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It’s time to fulfill my second Clarion West Write-a-Thon reward, only this time, we’re doing things a little different. Huw–my friend, WaT sponsor, and unofficial Class President of CW 2012–asked for a genderbent essay, rather than a typical review. Kindly, he provided a whole list of films which I could choose from, and while several movies might have proven interesting, I simply couldn’t resist picking Maverick. I grew up on this film, after all, was 8 going on 9 when it first came out. Pretty sure it was my introduction to both Jodie Foster and James Garner, honestly. (Though not Mel Gibson. That was almost certainly Lethal Weapon.)

Anyway, thus far, I’ve really only examined action, suspense, and horror films for my Genderbent Wednesday reviews. Analyzing a western (okay, a western-comedy) and reimagining it with an almost entirely female cast?

Yep. I’m here for it. Let’s dive in, shall we?

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“You Were the Only Audience I Ever Needed.”

Last night, Mekaela and I watched The Brothers Bloom.

1

The Brothers Bloom is about two con artists, Stephen and Bloom (Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody). Bloom is unhappy and ready to quit the life, but Stephen convinces him to go along with one more job. Their mark? An eccentric shut-in billionaire named Penelope (Rachel Weisz).

In no way does the summary I just wrote at all capture the whimsical, meta tone of this story. I’m a huge fan of meta whimsy . . . in fact, Meta Whimsy is now my new imaginary band name . . . but I really wanted to watch The Brothers Bloom for two reasons:

1. Rian Johnson wrote and directed it. (Rian Johnson also wrote and directed Looper and Brick. Looper is fairly cool. Brick is kind of the best.)

2. Mark Ruffalo stars in it, whilst wearing a hat.

A

Look, I never said I’m not shallow. I like men in hats. I can’t lie about this.

Ultimately, I liked The Brothers Bloom. Unfortunately, I had a good idea where the movie was going before it even started (freaking spoilery youtube comments — I just wanted to watch the trailer, dammit), so I’m not sure if I picked up on all the foreshadow because it was obvious or because I knew where to look. Regardless, I think it’s a pretty clever movie, witty and kind of refreshing. I really enjoyed the tone and just the general aesthetics of this film. It is, if nothing else, not like most con movies you’re going to watch.

It does lose steam, though, somewhere in the third act. I like where the movie actually ends, and the story feels complete — which is a welcome change to most movies that suffer from a problematic third act — but somewhere in the last 30-45 minutes, the pacing starts to suffer under possibly one too many . . . I don’t know, it’s not even quite twists and turns, but . . . something. I know the exact moment when the movie starts to falter, but I’m not entirely sure how I’d choose to fix it.

Still, I had a fun time watching this one and — like Brick — would probably come to like and appreciate it more and more on repeat viewings.

Also, Bang Bang (Rinko Kukuchi) is pretty awesome.

QUOTES:

Bloom: “You don’t understand what my brother does. He writes his cons like dead Russians write novels, with thematic arcs and embedded symbolism and shit.”

Bloom: “Eat your waffles, fat man.”

Stephen: “That’s my new favorite camel.”

The Curator: “Your smile is the sun, ma cherie. And fallen men, we need the sun.”

Stephen: “Tastes like tinfoil.”

Stephen: “The perfect con is one where everyone involved gets just what they wanted.”

Penelope: “I think a little real danger might suit me, so if you three want to join my smugglers gang . . . you know, I’ll consider it.”

Stephen: “I’m not thrilled they set this in Mexico. There could be legitimate reasons, but — and I don’t like to simplistically vilify an entire country — but Mexico’s a horrible place.”

MVP:

Rachel Weisz. She’s great in this movie — I’d love to see her do more comedy.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

MORAL:

“There is no such thing as an unwritten life, just a badly written one.”