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"Junebug" and "The Chumscrubber"

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"Junebug" and "The Chumscrubber"

Old 01-29-06, 11:55 AM
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"Junebug" and "The Chumscrubber"

Why was "Junebug" so heralded? It made Ebert's top 10. I don't understand why. To me- it wasn't really about anything. The only thing I could maybe take out was that Madeline and George really didn't know each other at all before getting married after a week of courtship. The rest of the story has been done and done better. It was a simple movie that just existed, but I don't think went anywhere too deep.

"The Chumscrubber" was better. Very "American Beauty" ish, but to a much less degree. I thought it was a fun, little entertaining movie, but again nothing that hasn't been done before.

I expected more from these so called indie gems.

Last edited by OldBoy; 01-29-06 at 03:31 PM.
Old 01-29-06, 01:45 PM
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I agree with you on Junebug though I haven't seen chumscrubber yet so no opinion on that. Junebug just seemed like we've been there and done that before and yeah, it didn't have much of a pay out going for it so I really just felt like it was going through the motions of being indie for indie sake.
Old 01-29-06, 01:53 PM
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I can't speak about Chumsucker but it is on my list to watch. I did see Junebug last week and though it ws enjoyable I found it disappointing too. In fact I was surprised that there were no threads about it here to see if people felt the same way as many critics.
Loved Amy Adams but didnt really care much for the other characters. Why are they all so angry? The movie never answers that. Some good acting but doesnt follow through with some of the issues it raises.
Old 01-29-06, 02:45 PM
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forget both and wathc Thumbsucker instead: seriously...it's extremely well done.
Old 01-29-06, 03:34 PM
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Junebug is great. It's all about the subtleties and nuances. I personally tire easy of in your face and obvious movies. You know, almost all the ones in the theaters right now. The (deceptively) simple ones sometimes are stronger. Amy Adams was amazing.
Old 01-29-06, 03:49 PM
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I liked Chumscrubber and though Junebug was great.

You have to dig under the surface and then you'll notice there's actually a lot going on. I loved the ending (won't spoil it for anyone) and Amy Adams gives an award-worthy performance.
Old 01-29-06, 07:34 PM
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I only found out about "Chumscrubber" because of James Horner providing the music (a kind of strange, electronic/rock/waltz) and immediately rented it. I liked it, very unusual and funny. Not so much 'ha ha' funny, but quirky funny, if that makes sense. During its extremely limited theatrical run, the soundtrack album became far easier to buy than to see the movie itself, and the DVD was late in arriving in rental stores by a week...I don't even know if it's in many stores for sale.
Old 01-29-06, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by brizz
forget both and wathc Thumbsucker instead: seriously...it's extremely well done.
I haven't seen Junebug, but Thumbsucker kicks The Chumscrubber's ass (and I really like both movies, but Thumbsucker is fantastic).
Old 01-29-06, 10:58 PM
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Personally, I hated The Chumscrubber. I saw it a while back in one of my classes, here were some of my thoughts.

Anyone versed in the films of the last fifteen years knows that the idea that suburbia has a dark side is a topic that has frequently been covered. From Blue Velvet to Donnie Darko, filmmakers seem endlessly intrigued with what lies beneath the surface of seemingly normal – even idyllic – life. This same topic is the subject of The Chumscrubber, a new film by first time director Arie Posin (who also cowrote the story). Posin’s film examines suburbia through the eyes of teenager Dan Stiffle (Jamie Bell), a drug abuser whose best friend commits suicide early in the film. This sets off a chain of events that Posin uses as a springboard to explore the adolescents and adults (and the disconnect between them) in a seemingly peaceful neighborhood. Along the way he makes room for a kidnapping, wedding preparations, stabbings, hallucinations, arrests, numerous revelations, a videogame/television character that serves as the film’s title’s inspiration, and a whole lot of dolphins.
That may seem like a lot to fit into one film, but sadly it doesn’t amount to much. One of the main problems with Posin’s work is that it simply isn’t believable, not even on its own terms. Let me explain that. I am happy to suspend disbelief, but a film must play by its own set of rules. Donnie Darko, Magnolia, Blue Velvet and many other films that explore everyday life do so in their own heightened reality. However, within their universe all of the characters are believable and we the viewers can identify with them. They may face circumstances that are foreign to us, but they react as we would expect a person to act. The characters in The Chumscrubber are unlike anyone I have ever known – they simply are not real people. So many of the decisions and actions in this film make absolutely no sense – things do not proceed organically, one can practically hear the gears grinding as Posin moves everything together and manipulates situations and characters for laughter or sentiment. A perfect example of this occurs near the end of the film when a character is running through the streets begging for help. I won’t tell you who or why, but if you see the film, ask yourself if there is any reason this character would act as he does instead of calling 911, other than the fact Posin needs him to be in the middle on the street at that very moment. And does anyone believe that a third grader would so easily be kidnapped without protest?
The characters in the film are in actuality not characters but caricatures. Nearly every character has a breakdown, epiphany, or revelation in the film yet the film never takes the time to truly delve into any of the characters or to understand their situations. Its one thing to leave certain things ambiguous or up to the viewer’s imagination, it’s another to simply have a lazy script. The film touches on many issues – drug abuse, parental neglect, academic drive, midlife crises, loss, love, jealously – yet it never says anything meaningful about any of them. Because of this the film is a constant reminder of films that deal with similar topics, but do so infinitely better. In addition to the previously mentioned films, American Beauty, Your Friends and Neighbors, Requiem for a Dream, Rushmore, Better Luck Tomorrow, and many other recent movies popped into my head while watching The Chumscrubber. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if The Chumscrubber was building on the themes in those films or putting a new twist on what had come before, instead it simply sits there on the screen as a reminder of other better films.
It is hard to fault the cast of The Chumscrubber for the film’s flaws. Other than some extreme overacting by Glenn Close, the cast in general does the best with what they are given. Ralph Fiennes, William Fichtner, and Allison Janney are immensely watchable as usual and the younger members of the cast are universally excellent. They all do the best with what little they are given.
In the end, Posin seems to fall between those incendiary explorers of the human condition Neil LaBute and Todd Solondz. Those filmmakers tend to polarize viewers – you either love or hate their respective films. Posin on the other hand doesn’t stir up near as much emotion, positive or negative. The characters in The Chumscrubber may have revelations after learning something new about themselves or others, but alas this film has nothing new to show us. It simply builds towards a crescendo that never occurs and is far from revelatory about any aspect of the human condition.

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