In which I attempt to watch every film in The Criterion Collection and end up watching a lot that aren't. Click here for the rating system.



"New York Snob Story" №¢

A black screen opens with a Shaft-esque chorus of women's voices in the background singing, "Alfie, Alfie, what's it all about?"

Enter Jude Law who rambles on for half an hour about what men really want from women as he dresses himself in the morning, donning a suit and knotted scarf (from which, apparently he never recovered) and as he spritzes a little cologne on "big ben" he looks at the camera and says, "You never know where the day will lead." He continues on in this aggravating, superior manner about how he keeps all his fillies dancing on a string yet remains distant and unattached. Etc, etc. About how he moved to New York because all the hottest women are there. About how he dresses rich and lives poor because he never takes women home anyways. And on. And on. And on.

Four hours later, a plot attempts to crawl out from under this ragged heap of solipsistic soliloquy, but is crushed in its infancy and dies an ignominious death.

Alfie ditches women, Alfie cheats on "girlfriend" (Marisa Tomei, underused but still adorable in this role), Alfie cheats on best friend with his girlfriend and gets her pregnant, Alfie falls for an older woman who then dumps him and breaks his heart (whatever is left of it) yadda yadda. Alfie has a psycho girlfriend...

...and here we must pause in this listless retelling, because here for a moment life imitates art. Do you all know the tabloid-frenzied tale of Jude Law's tryst with Sienna Miller after which wifey leaves him and says, "Better luck, Hon" as the dust flies out from under her retreating SUV tires and then shortly thereafter, Jude Law does the nanny in a scandalous about-face from which Sienna apparently never recovers? (I mean, after all, when he cheats on his wife to be with you, why would he cheat on you, right?) Well, that is essentially what happens here. Quite rightly I watched with horrored fascination as Jude and Sienna recreate a tragic psychotic love on screen. And I'm thumbing through my back-issues of US weekly, saying, "wait a minute, I remember reading all of this." But here's the fun part, in the film's story, Alfie has a moment of awareness. He has an epiphany: maybe it's not ok to just use people. Maybe it is important to have someone to love and to treat them well so they can love you. And roll credits.

And get this, the pretentious New Yorkers (oxymoron) who created this film did us all proud by running black and white "art" photos of themselves along with their name. Gag me with a frickin' Manhattan spoon, people. Is there a law somewhere that states, "If I live in New York, I must suffer under the delusion that New York and only New York is the epicenter of all that is glamorous, good, and unholy?" Because quite honestly, other than British dentists, I've never met so undeservedly self-centered a race of people as New York filmmakers.

favorite moments: Jude Law is a He-Ho.


Blogger ModernSophist said...

Yeah, I actually quite liked the movie. I think you have to come from the place of the young, male ego, which is admittedly superficial but which still struggles to reconcile itself against some vague understanding that there is more to life than attention and posturing.

3:30 PM


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