Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Love Liza

2002 hilarious downer

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Wilson somnabulates through the days following his wife's shocking suicide. In order to grab life by the proverbial horns once again, he decides to develop a hobby--huffing gasoline. In order to cover for his new addiction, he decides to pretend to fly model airplanes. Meanwhile, he clutches a sealed suicide note from his wife and is confronted by his mother-in-law.

This is one of those quirkily drifting sort of deeply-downbeat comedies, a funny-on-inside-of-the-inside character study of a grief-stricken half-man, similar to a Greenberg or a Punch-Drunk Love and therefore will not appeal to a wide audience. The soundtrack, this time provided by the great Jim O'Rourke, is even very similar. I actually thought the movie was pretty funny, but the laughs definitely didn't come comfortably. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the heart and soul of this movie, and spends its duration doing his Philip Seymour Hoffman thang. He's just got the dejected look and a crackly dejection in his everyday speaking voice that makes him perfect for this sort of role. The performance is moving, but he understands the humor in the role very well, too. I really was moved by the moving and the ending, one of those that I don't reckon would be entirely satisfying to a lot of folks. This is a painful comedy, and although I wouldn't recommend it to everybody, I'd recommend unequivocally to anybody who likes any of those other movies I mentioned up there.

Like watching an Indiana Jones movie in a theater, watching this alone (Gene Siskel's ghost was outside hanging out with a portly prostitute) in the middle of the night on the urine couch made this a more stunning experience than it might have otherwise been. I kind of settled on the 16/20 here.

1 comment:

Matt Snell said...

I just saw the latest Tod Solondz, "Life During Wartime," and it made me wish I had just watched this one again. I know it's not Solondz but it's a hell of a black comedy. Based on your review of Palindromes you're probably not in danger of seeing it, but I liked "Happiness," and gave "Life During Wartime" a chance. It's a misery! And not the artful one I paid for.

Have to disagree about Appaloosa, though. I kinda dug it, and I think Renee Zellweger made her character's off-ness particularly uncomfortable...