Geeky Cinephile Musings…
I don't pontificate, I blather.

Running with Scissors…not bad.

I put this movie in the Netflix queue, and later into the waiting maw of our DVD player with more than a slight feeling of doubt and worry (I’m still gunshy after my “Garden State” experience).  From the advertisements I’d seen when this film first surfaced, I was expecting a sort of “Royal Tenenbaums” copycat, complete with Gwyneth Paltrow reprising her role as a deadpan eccentric and a kooky house painted a riot of colors.  For the record, I adore the “Royal Tennenbaums.” Woohoo! Let ‘er rip!

So we settled in, Paul and I…and were pleasantly surprised.  And depressed, after an hour or so.  And then sort of hopeful and happy again, after two hours.  Okay, I’ll give you more than that.

First off, Gwyneth Paltrow’s role was completely different.  Still deadpan, but a super uptight, mildly religious (?), old maid character that I honestly have not seen from her yet.  Secondly, this was not shot Wes Anderson style, thankfully.  Ryan Murphy has pretty much stayed within the TV realm, something I only learned after watching the special features, or else I would’ve tried to pay closer attention to his style to see how he held up on his first feature film.  From memory, I don’t remember his shooting style or frames as much as I remember the set design (VERY 70’s–dig it), so I’m thinking it wasn’t remarkable either way.  Annette Bening did a fantastic job, but we knew she would.  Her character scarily reminds me of someone in my own life, so I was pretty bowled over watching her.  The real standout here for me was Joseph Fiennes, who plays “Neil Bookman,” the schizophrenic, much older boyfriend of young Augusten.  I had NO idea that was Joseph Fiennes.  Paul and I were thinking the face looked familiar, but it was only during the credits that we both looked at each other with identical expressions of awe and disbelief (something we seem to do a lot in our daily lives….are we, like, super gullible or something?), saying simultaneously, “THAT was Joseph FIENNES??” Talk about losing yourself in a character.  Thinking back, he still had the broody nature that both the Fiennes bros carry off so well, but beyond that…surely it wasn’t JUST the handlebar mustache.  🙂

Neil and Augusten

Neil and Augusten

The last thing to note about this movie is that it’s a bit relentless in the middle.  Relentless as in bleak.  You feel like you want to take deep breaths because it keeps hitting you that this really happened to this poor guy.  What a survival story.  Don’t be lulled into thinking this is just the cute, “quirky dark comedy” (Netflix reviewers strike again!!) that it’s been painted as by the marketers.  There are darkly humorous bits, to be sure, but overall, I’d say if it’s leaving you open-mouthed and staring at the screen, feeling a blackness creeping over your soul…’s drama. 

Or a Michael Bay film.  (Oh no she di’uhnt!!)


One Response to “Running with Scissors…not bad.”

  1. […] were some great characters brought by Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, and Joseph Cross, (who was in “Running With Scissors.” ).  This film does exactly what it’s meant to do: shock you, anger you, enlighten […]

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