11 June 2008 | morgangster
"It's a Wim Wenders film. It is either going to be brilliant or a complete joke. You have to go." This was the first thing I heard about the film Palermo Shooting, and seeing how Matt Noller was usually right about his critiques of film, I decided to go.
Not a full minute into the film, Matt and I simultaneously look at each other under the glow of the screen in the Grand Lumiere Theater and say, unanimously, "Uh-oh." To say that watching the film was an excruciating experience would be an understatement of its atrocities. Normally, when someone offends me deeply, I write a letter to try to sort out exactly what went wrong.
Here is my open letter to the film Palermo Shooting, entitled: You Stole Two Hours of My Life and I Would Like Them Back, Please! Dear Palermo Shooting, Why are you here in Cannes this year? You seemed so terribly out of place last night. This really, really wasn't your year. In fact, I'm kind of offended that you showed up. I am wondering if you were embarrassed by yourself last night, because you should be. You were acting ridiculous, and in the Grand Lumiere Theater and everything! I felt bad for you, really I did. Sometimes, when you were being particularly annoying, I tried to close my eyes and fall asleep, just to avoid second-hand embarrassment. But then your loud, bludgeoning German voice wouldn't allow for that. So, thanks, for starters.
But let's talk about this. I mean
I'm sure you didn't do it on purpose. It was a satire, right? Right? You know, like a joke? Like, "Oh, here's another film about the meaning of life and seizing the day and don't waste time
aren't I funny and witty, ha ha?" Right? You didn't honestly believe you were being original with all that "death is just the absence of love" junk, did you?
Well, in that case, I feel even worse for you. Most of the movie I felt like I was trapped in a living Myspace page, complete with melancholy music, out of kilter stares and a tattoo-clad German man that I never once cared about. OK, almost once, but then the whirring violin music made me think of a bad Italian soap opera and I forgot to care.
In fact, that music made me feel the opposite of compassion. There were times when I really hoped that hooded figure (you know, the one that shoots invisible arrows from the future) would kill that guy Finn and the movie would be over just so I didn't have to hear any more music.
Now I do have a few questions for you, just for my own peace of mind. Did that scene in Death's Library, the one between Finn and Frank (AKA Death), did that really happen? Or did I make that up? I am hoping that it was a figment of my sick imagination
my own selfish, masochistic ways that wanted the movie to be even worse than it already was. In all of the terrible scenes in all of the terrible movies, this one takes the cake. Not only was the dialog completely laughable (Finn: Not now! I love my life! Frank: It didn't look that way to me. And I looked very carefully. Finn: Maybe I was too busy! Frank: No, that's not it. You did not honor life, Finn Gilbert!), but the lighting, the scenery, the costumes
everything in this scene was terrible. Dennis Hopper has definitely run out of options if he agreed, unforced and non-drugged, to do that scene.
You did give us something, though. You did give us a fun game to play after the film, a game called "Would You Rather" consisting of all the things we would rather do besides watching your movie ever again. It went a little something like this: Would you rather watch an entire season of Dharma and Greg, or watch Palermo Shooting? While the choice was always easy, it gave us a break from repeating "that was just so bad!" over and over. You provided us hours of entertainment for after the movie, which I'm not sure was the point.
The only way your movie could have been worse was if Keanu Reeves had been the lead role. Actually, Keanu might have made it better! It is too hard to say at this point. (Which, is to say, that movie was really awful.) So I've been a little harsh, I'm sorry. But you should be sorry, too. Your movie took the spot of some other director's film that could have had its big break at Cannes. The script, the production, the financing, the editing
it all had to go through so many people that I'm not sure exactly how this film got made. Just think of all of the people that looked at this and said "Yes! Let's do it!" It's disturbing. However it happened, it was a waste. For a movie that was so blatant about "not wasting life"
you sure wasted everyone's time and money.
Maybe take your own mantra of "death is just the absence of love" and realize that you should spend more time living yourself and less time making movies. Not only would your life be better, but ours would, too.
Such is life, I suppose