For Your Renting Pleasure

In Bruges HeaderWith a poor choice made with my Netflix instant selection of Calvin Marshall, thank goodness there are men like Martin McDonagh to make everything all right again with films like In Bruges.

Calvin Marshall PosterCalvin Marshall – You wouldn’t think that In Bruges would have so much more heart than a film about a student desperately dedicated to making his college’s baseball team year after year, but Calvin Marshall is mostly fail.

Honestly I’m not quite sure why Calvin never made the team because every time we actually see him in a game situation he is the star.  Granted he is playing softball, so clearly there is some weakly hidden jab along the lines of “he throws like a girl.”  Ok so I really didn’t take that tone from the film, but goodness, it clearly didn’t know what it was doing.

Calvin is this obnoxiously cocky kid who blindly blames his mediocrity on an “injury,” allowing the delusion about his phenomenal skill level.  At first I wanted to feel sorry for him because baseball really is his life and the thing he loves most, but then it just got really annoying as he continues to block out the truth of the situation and lie to everyone else as much as he lies to himself.

I was already disappointed from the lack of zero to hero story that I was expecting, but this isn’t the only aspect of the film that is lacking.  Steve Zahn’s washed out minor league baseball player turned coach is a drunken mess, drawn in an icky manor to the school’s star volleyball player stuck in this small town thanks to a sick mother.  I obviously would rather have Calvin end up with her if I had to choose between the two boys, but I was OK with not cheering for that relationship either.  I was just too bored to care.

Final Grade:  D+

In Bruges posterIn Bruges – For some reason back in 2008 I had little interest in this film, but then when I saw that the writer and director of Seven Psychopaths was also responsible for In Bruges I seriously started doubting my initial reaction to the film.  Turns out everyone else was right about this one; I was an idiot for letting it slip by until now.

Like with Psychopaths, Martin McDonagh creates some of the most entertaining characters to carry this film, with Colin Farrell playing off Brendan Gleeson as they sit and wait to learn their next step past being tortured in Bruges, a location only satisfying to those with a tourist gene.  Farrell’s Ray is definitely not this person, consenting to seeing the sights with Gleeson’s cultured Ken so long as he is still free to act like a child following his/her mother around the racks of a clothing store.

It takes a little while before the motivation of the story is revealed and we finally learn just what they’re doing in Bruges, which I will say was a relief without meaning to imply that the movie was looking for its compass.  Every bit of it is enjoyable, deserving of rather audible sniffles as these actors show great range that you wouldn’t expect to balance out jokes about midgets.

If you were an idiot with some undue patience like me, stop putting off In Bruges already.

Final Grade: A-

See anything great this past week?  Let me know and it might show up in the next “For Your Renting Pleasure.”  Or you can always and send your suggestions there if they come to mind later.

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