The Prom

The Prom. Ryan Murphy. 2020.

[fifteen minutes pass]

This thing has a good thing going: The premise is fun, and it’s got a couple of good actors (and then there’s the male actors), and it’s sparkly fun.

But… oy, the greenscreen and the constant CGI. It looks like something made for a low-budget Canadian sci-fi tv series fifteen years ago (yes, I’m talking about Sanctuary).

And the singing… oy… everybody has been autotuned to total musical perfection, which means that every time somebody sings, it’s that horrid, off-phase gruesomeness. (I’m not talking about The Cher Effect, but when they actually use it to correct the pitch. I kinda like TCE, but when used “subtly” for pitch correction… oh, the horror.)

So I’ve put some DJ\Rupture on to drown out the movie whenever somebody starts singing, and I’m surviving.

[ten minutes pass]

Oh, when Meryl Streep sings, it doesn’t sound that awful. Did she get them to switch the machine off?

[er… an hour passes? this is a long movie]

It’s a pretty amusing movie, but there’s these… character development bits… that are really tedious. I feel like there’s a fun movie in here somewhere. If it has been half as long.

*checks how much time is left*

OH MY FUCKING GOD THERE”S ONE MORE HOUR LEFT!!!

OK, I’m taking a break to bake some cookies.

[time passes]

I’m back!

Mmm… cookies…

[more time passes]

The movie seems even worse now? Even if the cookies kick ass?

[the end]

Well, that was kinda dull.

Bates Motel

Bates Motel. Richard Rothstein. 1987.

Oh, I forgot to watch this in when watching the other Psycho movies.

Hm… this is a made for TV movie?

Uh-oh:

[fifteen minutes pass]

This is a pretty odd movie: It’s a comedy (I think?), but the gags would seem stale to a three-year-old, and the rest is kinda creepy.

[half an hour passes]

It’s a strange approach to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope: This one is really needy, but she does goad the protagonist into doing things, so I guess it’s not that odd.

[twenty minutes pass]

Actually, I don’t hate this. It’s a cheerily inept, unassuming little movie. All the performances are bad, but they’re not really trying to be good, either, so that makes it better. The set design is rather impressive for a movie with this kind of budget, but sometimes it’s more obvious that it’s all plywood and Styrofoam (and scale models) than at other times.

I mean… how can you not like that shot of the guy putting up er spackle up there? That’s the level of proficiency this movie is aiming for.

I feel like this could be a cult classic if only people had seen it, but it’s apparently never gotten wide distribution? (It was included as an unannounced extra on the Psycho box set.)

[ten minutes pass]

OK, now I changed my mind again. This is pretty excruciating.

“Look at my face… my lines…”

*gaze*

OH MY GOD WHAT A HAG.

(Yes, that’s the actual line from that scene.)

[the end]

I liked the ending.

It’s a very confusing movie, but it’s got all the ingredients for a successful, silly riff on Psycho? And I’m totally up for that. But it flubs it seriously in the last third of the movie: It makes sense, plot-wise, but it’s just so boring.

And the twist ending was always obvious, even if I appreciate both the sentiment and the actual reveal.

So… Don’t watch this, probably? But it has its charms, if you’re willing to look for them.

Psycho

Psycho (No The Other One). Gus van Sant. 1998.

I’m guessing this is the most controversial movie ever made? A couple of days ago a character in some TV show was describing his girlfriend as “she preferred the new version of Psycho”, and that summed up her character as the lowest of the low.

So I’m all excited to watch this movie again: I betcha it’s better than the Hitchcock movie.

[twenty five minutes pass]

I’m really digging that Van Sant is making a facsimile of the original movie? At least I think he is? Only in a different aspect ration, with different actors and in colour. It’s asking the question: If we made the that old classic today, in the same way, would it be as good?

It’s a dare, and I vaguely remember movie critics at the time being really het up about it. They don’t like being challenged.

Because, of course, the answer is “no”. But it’s still really entertaining to watch.

I have to admit being really, really shocked when Norman Bates came running down the stairs to open Janet Leigh’s car door, I mean Anne Heche, and… IT”S NOT ANTHONY PERKINS.

That was jarring.

Vince Vaughn?!

[the end]

Watching this, I’ve been reminded, somehow, that I’ve seen this before… probably in the 90s? On rental DVD? And I vaguely remember liking this then.

This time over, I… I like the idea, because it’s just such a dare. But the movie itself lacks nerve. Vince Vaughn just isn’t scary like Perkins is, and that deflates everything. And whatsisname that plays the detective just doesn’t quite work. The rest of the actors are fine, I think, but it’s still a lot to ask.

So after… three quarters of an hour? I just grew bored with the entire thing.

I’m watching the documentary now, which is amazingly critical towards the movie. I assumed that the studio wanted Van Sant to make a traditional remake of Psycho, and then he fucked with them by making this instead. But no — this was a project he’d suggested to them for years, and they always said no. Until he’d made Good Will Hunting, and then finally allowed him to make the Psycho remake.