In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_alice_through_the_looking_glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

There is no magic, no wonder, just junk rehashed from a movie that was itself a rehash of Lewis Carroll, tricked out with physically unpersuasive…

Thumb_large_dyxig7wzovccwribwdhhcebdqxj

Holy Hell

The story of a cult as told by a filmmaker assigned to glorify it; intriguing but superficial.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

T. R. Baskin

  |  

"T.R. Baskin" gets in trouble right off the bat with a flashback style that neatly drains away all of our interest in half of the story. The story is all about how T.R. Baskin, a small-town girl, comes to the Big City, falls in with one of those Rush Street singles-bars types and makes love with him during the course of a Meaningful Night. It is all the more meaningful because otherwise she has been ground down by the cold, impersonal, automated cruelty of Chicago - a city that inflicts such cruel and unusual punishments as music in elevators and air-conditioning in buildings. 

Anyway, after the night of love, the guy is such a clod that he gives her money. She races tearfully into the void, sure that he thinks she's a prostitute. I personally couldn't decide WHAT he was thinking, since the whole plot device of the exchange of money was about as believable as the handkerchief that holds "Othello" together. 

In any event, the movie opens with the first guy giving a visiting tire salesman the girl's telephone number. Therefore, since we know for openers that their Meaningful Night is going to wind up on destiny's trash heap, all of the dramatic tension of that night is dissipated. And since the second guy calls her thinking she's a prostitute, and she goes to his hotel room without disillusioning him, we await the film's end with more than patience and curiosity. 

The problem is that everyone in the movie acts so stupidly. Real people of average intelligence would have cut through this plot in about three minutes, and the movie would have been over. It lasts two hours only because people are at such pains not to catch on. Along the way, we get introduced to an elevator that talks, and other examples of how horrible Chicago is. Well, Chicago can be horrible, all right, but the Chicago of this movie never existed, here or anywhere. The Chicago we all know is horrible (and also beautiful) in ways "T.R. Baskin" doesn't have the wit to comprehend. 

"T.R. Baskin" is supposed to be about the human waste caused by depersonalization, I guess, and about how love and a moment of communication can make things better. But the movie itself is concocted of cliches about depersonalization; the cure is as bad as the disease. 

The acting, however, is interesting. Peter Boyle needs a larger role to move around in, I think; his tire salesman here is a second cousin to "Joe." He's good, but he doesn't show us much that's new. Candice Bergen is given a lot of dialog that's hard to believe, but she has a telephone scene that confirms the promise she exhibited in "Carnal Knowledge." James Caan's performance is schizo because it was written that way. I think I'll wander out into the vast impersonal wilderness of Chicago and have a beer with some friends.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Memoirs of a Geisha, Part II: How Are Geisha or Nerd Stereotypes Harmful?

Part two of Jana Monji's essay about the portrayal of Asian characters in cinema.

I believe Dylan Farrow

Separating the artist from the art isn't as easy as it sounds.

Back to "Roots" with a Multi-Channel Remake of the Television Classic

A review of the History Channel remake of the landmark mini-series, "Roots."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus