Mike Kueber's Blog

October 7, 2012

Saturday Night at the Movies #49 – Desire Under the Elms, Mississippi Masala, The Warriors, and Mulholland Drive

Desire under the Elms is a 1958 movie of Eugene O’Neill’s 1924 play.  Burl Ives plays a hard old farmer in New England who has worked two wives to death before marrying a young, beautiful Italian immigrant, played by Sophia Loren in her prime (24 years old).  Loren quickly cuckolds Ives with one of his three sons, played by Anthony Perkins.  The movie doesn’t have a Rotten Tomato rating from the critics, but its audience scores it at 49%.  That is too generous.  The storyline is not plausible, the acting seems like a filmed play, and the characters are unrealistic and uninteresting.  I give the movie only one star out of four.  

Mississippi Masala is a 1992 romantic drama starring Denzel Washington as a young, working-class man in Mississippi who falls in love a young immigrant Indian woman (Sarita Choudhury) by way of Africa.  I have had a serious romantic relationship with an Indian immigrant, and the movie accurately captures the cultural issues related to Indians dating outside of their ethnicity.  I also know Indians who were born and bred in Africa, and the movie reveals an interesting irony about Indians who were taken to Africa from India as indentured servants (Gandhi first rose to prominence helping these people) while African-Americans were taken from Africa to America as slaves.  Not surprisingly, neither culture is very welcoming of the other even though there are several superficial comments about sticking together.  At times, the movie appears to have a low-budget quality, but the storyline is interesting and the characters/acting is top-notch.  The Choudhury character is especially attractive, and reminds me of my ex-.  Rotten Tomato critics say 80% (albeit only 20 reviews); the audience only 63%.  I don’t know what the audience was thinking; I give it three and a half stars out of four.    

The Warriors is a 1979cartoonish, dystopian movie about an unarmed Coney Island gang that gets stranded in the Bronx and then fights its way back home through the territory of several rival gangs.  The story is inane, the characters are lame, and the acting is plain.  The only reason I enjoyed watching it was that much of the story involved the same NYC subway system that I spent a lot of time on last week.  I can’t believe the Rotten Tomato critics scored it at 94% and the audience gave it 86%.  I give it only one and a half stars out of four.

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 so-called neo-noir, psychological thriller set in LA.  I consider it the equivalent of abstract art that is meaningless to me.  I can’t believe the Rotten Tomato critics scored it at 82% and the audience gave it 88%.  I would have ejected the movie from my DVD player after 30 minutes, but because of its excellent ratings, I watched for more than an hour before finally hitting the reject button.  Zero stars.

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