expected to have my socks knocked off by The Triplets of Belleville.
Why else would I go to Denver in 20-degree weather to see a movie
at the Landmark Mayan? That was a cool old theater south of downtown
that the Landmark beancounters chopped into little cubes. The
main theater is still sort of cool, but they turned the balcony
into the two least comfortable theaters outside the porn industry.
The worst part of the Mayan is the self-absorbed dumbshits who
fill it up. God, it's the biggest bunch of fucking phony pseudo-artsy-fartsy
losers I've ever seen and they make watching a movie more of a
chore than a room full of drunk teenagers in baggy pants. Every
time these goateed, designer-eyeglassed turds laugh too loud at
the jokes to let everyone know they get it I want to ram a rusty
stevedore up their asses. Shut the fuck up and just enjoy the
movie, or don't. It's not about letting everyone else know you're
so fucking smart you get it.
turn movies into a God damn chore, something they have to do either
to be seen, or so they can tell everyone about this "great Icelandic
homosexual coming of age movie." The Mayan usually caters to these
turtlenecked poseurs who don't care about quality so much as they
care about seeing something IMPORTANT. The aforementioned foreign
language gay coming-of-age movies in are beloved because you see
not only a movie with subtitles, but one that also tells everyone
how fucking open-minded you are. The Landmark Mayan is where horrible
romantic comedies magically become "charming" because they're
from eastern bloc countries and filmed in 16 mm. Brutally dull
stories about little girls in war-torn countries are celebrated
by nimrods as "powerful," and bad French movies like The Triplets
of Belleville are celebrated for telling tired old jokes,
but in French!
the Mayan shows a good movie, like City of God or Ghost
World that nobody else in town is showing. Sometimes the movies
are worth surviving the urban bores and their "I live in the city
so I'm hip" attitudes. I thought The Triplets of Belleville
would be that good. I heard good things, that it was original
and inspiring. It might have been good if it were sixty minutes
shorter. But I got bored quick, and annoyed slowly.
I might have enjoyed the movie more if the crowd hadn't been so
eager to be pleased, so willing to laugh and applaud at bad jokes
translated into French just to show those around them that they
love French pantomime animation. The Triplets of Belleville
is the almost completely unspoken story of a French boy who loves
bicycling. His mother trains him for the Tour de France, and during
the race he is kidnapped and taken along with two other cyclists
to a New York-type American city, Belleville. It opens with a
jazz number by the Triplets of Belleville, a singing sensation.
he and the other two riders are chained to a device where their
cycling power drives a gambling device for organized criminals.
The mother and the boy's loyal dog journey across the sea to rescue
him witht he aid of the forgotten and much oder Triplets. Most
fo the movie is a rehash of the inventive first 15 minutes, over
looks pretty cool, a mix of 20s and 30s Warner Brothers and Disney
cartoons. A character who looks like Django Reinhardt makes a
cameo. In the first ten minutes, the Triplets of Belleville, a
trio of jazz singers, do a hot number and I thought this is going
to be pretty good. Then it gets stuck in a rut. The characters
are as flat and unimaginative as Kansas. Each is given a single
quirk that gets old long before the movie ends. They look cool,
but why can't they also be interesting? The plot is similarly
simplistic. There is nothing clever beyond the setup, which is
basically repeated over and over. Nothing in it kept me wondering
what would happen next, and even less dazzled me after I saw it
for the first time at the movie's beginning.
is nearly wordless, which is an awkward stab at being artsy. Some
dialog would have fleshed out the plot and themes out, and made
the movie seem far less tiresome and overlong. Instead, writer-director
Sylvain Chomet keeps hammering at the same basic themes without
every expanding on them. The one worth exploring, that France's
old guard should not be discarded but used to protect French treasures
from being Americanized (like the Tur de France being turned into
a wagering game), isn't really explored. In fact, i just said
as much about it as the movie does. Other themes aresimplistic
and childish meditations on loyalty (dog for man), maternal love,
concluding in a spectacularly lazy climax: a car chase through
the big city. Good fucking God, Chomet makes fun of Americans
for being fat and lazy, and then stuffs his gaping maw with America
cinema's fattiest whopper. Those Frogs sure can be pretentious
is also accompanied by an animated short that is supposedly a
collaboration by Salvador Dali. The short just reminded me that
Dali didn't really have many ideas. If you've seen his paintings,
then you've seen this short.
The Triplets of Belleville was at a disadvantage. It was
never going to live up to quality of the pre-show entertainment.
As I approached
the Mayan's outdoor ticket window, a fellow walked ahead of me.
I could smell the cheap leather before I saw him in the dark.
As I got closer, I saw he weaselly, with a weak little goatee,
as though he hadn't fully committed to the idea of facial hair,
but was waiting for someone to tell him it was cool before he
went all the way. There was a hollowness to him, a lack of confidence
in his gait, the sort of guy who doesn't like foreign films, but
likes hanging out with people who do. The kind of guy that just
loves Noam Chomsky's bullshit without understanding it at all,
mostly because he once was obsessed with some girl who dug Chomsky.
A cute girl
was in the ticket line. She was a petite brunette, and a scared
one at that. Well, she didn't seem scared until she saw our dead-eyed
hero. Seeing him, she literally shrank, like she was trying to
withdraw her limbs into her torso.
said in a voice he meant to sound friendly, but ended up sort
of menacing, like there were a lot of bitterness about unreturned
phone calls and lame excuses. They knew each other. I eavesdropped
and learned that they were two in a larger group who were meeting
for the movie. There were a lot more awkward pauses than words
exchanged between them. Maybe she didn't know he was going to
I had drawn all the drama I could get out of this pair and went
in to the mostly empty theater. A few minutes later, our hero,
the brunette and four friends come in looking for six seats together.
Or hero was sticking pretty close to the girl. There was a shitload
of empty seats, but they had to sit dead center and crowd the
people who arrived early. One row lower or one row higher just
wasn't good enough. Typical, over-privileged yuppie assholes.
They spotted six empty seats together on the far end of a row.
Two decided to rudely wade across the people already seated rather
than go all the way around and get all exhausted. One of the remaining
four said, "Let's go around."
hero begin to make his way around, the brunette made a bold decision;
she darted into the row. Our hero froze, like a deer caught in
the headlights. Should he walk around and risk losing his chance
to sit next to the girl? If he reversed course and followed her
down the row, he'd look pathetic.
care. I bet he's used to looking pathetic. Or maybe he thinks
doggedly pursuing an uninterested girl is the way to win her over.
If he sticks by her every minute of every day, drilling into her
skull with those dull, moist eyes, one day there might be a split
second window of opportunity when, while brushing her teeth or
folding laundry, she lets her guard down and forgets he's as creepy
as peepshow janitor. By being vigilant and present, he can jump
in at the chance and latch himself like a lamprey to her heart.
A dim hope like that can keep a guy going for a lifetime.
sacrificing his pride, our hero got to sit next to his girl. She
looked uncomfortable, like someone was running hot piano wires
down her spinal cord. He looked ready for love. Turns out, though,
there were only five seats, not six, and so one seat too few for
the group. Our hero was forced to ask the couple next to him to
move over, which they graciously did. The boy slid one seat to
the right, and then everyone else followed to make two vacancies
on the end for the fellows who walked around.
you'd expect. Except the brunette didn't budge. She let our hero
move a seat, and she was supposed to occupy his old seat. But
either the thought of sitting in the warmth from his ass or being
next to him was so unappealing that she didn't budget. And one
of the fellows who walked around was to climb over four friends
to fill the seat between the brunette and our hero. Awkward? You
bet. A hell of an effective way to send a guy a message, though.
Our hero looked
pretty fucking sad. I bet he enjoyed the move less than me. It
sure as hell made my day, though. More than finding those day-old
Neusecken Nutcorners in the bin behind the Rhinelander German
bakery. It's so refreshing to be reminded you're not the only
guy who scares girls. In fact, at this moment, it's not you at
all. It's him.
for The Triplets of Belleville and Five Fingers
for the hungry, lonely heart of a sad man.
Filthy || Want to tell Filthy