It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The best old man I can remember in a movie was Michel Simon in "The Two of Us." He was a rumpled and absentminded old man, with soup and wine stains liberally distributed down his shirtfront, and he had an old dog that ate with him at the table. His style of dress resembled an unmade bed, he didn't bother to shave more than one day out of four, and he was as decent and lovable an old man as you could imagine.
I describe him because I imagine, in some details at least, that he was the kind of old man they were shooting for when they made "Kotch." Alas, they've missed by a day's walk, and given us, instead, Walter Matthau with blue eyebrows.
There aren't many comic actors I admire more than Matthau, and he does his best to be an old man in "Kotch," but the illusion simply isn't there. We're asked to accept him as a nonstop talker, a nuisance edging his way into senility, whose son and daughter-in-law want to park him in a "retirement village." But we can't. The people who ought to be retired are his son and daughter-in-law, who are so simplemindedly one dimensional that we can't accept them except as parodies. The old man, on the other hand, is a complete, competent and witty human being. He'd be welcome in any home.
But, no, they want to get rid of him, so he finds himself befriending a pregnant teenager and eventually setting up housekeeping with her in a little concrete-block bungalow in Santa Barbara. This sort of arrangement is theoretically possible, I suppose, but "Kotch" idealizes it beyond belief. The girl moves in (for example) on Christmas Eve. He lives down the street from a bowling alley, so they sit around a fire of bowling pins. And so on; until things get so cute you desperately yearn for a good Michel Simon belch.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
Chaz Ebert highlights films with the potential to get us through the confusing political times of the Trump presidenc...
A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.
One of the most audacious American films from the 1960s is now available via the Criterion Collection.