Anybody besides me nurture a secret little affection for the not-too-bad movie? Tonight we saw Bonneville, a movie that should have been wonderful because it had Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Joan Allen, not to mention Christine Baranski. Sadly, its plotting was wildly unimaginative and the characters were repurposed Thelma and Louise plus one, and the pace, well, the pace was sedate, to put it kindly. If someone were to ask me, "Was the movie good?" I would have to answer, "No, the movie was not good."
The historian asked me whether the film had touched a nerve--and why not? The main character's husband dies, his daughter from a previous marriage acts all peremptory about his remains, not to mention the house the main character lives in, which she owns because the husband never quite got around to changing his will after the second marriage. Plus the characters are Mormons. It's quite possible that the outlines of all that might parallel to some of my own anxieties. But I had to say, "Well, yes, but honestly, it would have probably moved me more if it had been a better movie."
Still: sometimes, I am not up to watching a great work of art. Sometimes, I am not even up to being entertained too strenuously. Sometimes I am just fine with watching a movie that doesn't tear it up all over the screen, being perfect and unattainable and getting all you couldn't make this movie in a million years on me. Sometimes I am just fine with a movie that delivers small pleasures like seeing Jessica Lange's beautiful face looking just the age she is, and Joan Allen's quite perfect impersonation of a Mormon woman who really, really wants to be good. And the settings, many of them in Utah, are beautiful. And the not-too-searching parallels with my own worries and fears--that was just fine too.
It's like being hungry. Who wouldn't like a thrillingly delicious snack? But if you're hungry and there is no thrillingly delicious snack to be had, then saltines aren't a bad substitute. In fact, when you're hungry, sometimes saltines are just the thing.
Bonus: the movie had a beautiful Pete Droge song on the soundtrack--you can hear it to your right by clicking the play button in the "Pretty Music" feature of this blog.