22 August 2013

Hello Old Friend

Today I had an interesting conversation with my boss and a few regulars about blogging. My boss has read my blog and likes it. That's heartening, but I feel like I don't have as much time to write as I used to. Perhaps this has something to do with not being at an office job anymore. I certainly had more than enough time to devote thirty minutes a day to typing out a review when sitting in a cubicle. I also had more time to watch movies and go to the theatre when I worked a 9-5. Since moving into the bar scene, I find that all I want to do when I get home is catch up on TV and sleep. My days off are crammed with all the tasks that MUST be completed for me to continue living. Add to this the lack of internet at my house and you get a pretty lazy blogger.

The positives: I think I'm finally starting to find a balance after over a year of being a paid night owl. I am also consciously choosing to watch the movies that languish in my queue or on top of my DVD player. I miss writing about what inspires, drives, and truly nourishes me. That may sound cheesy, but film and to a slightly lesser extent TV have been my touch stones. I have always been interested in what makes them good, what other people think, and how they factor into my life. I don't know what I would do if my TV broke. Actually, I do; as that happened to me not too long ago. I borrowed money from my parents to replace it ASAP.

As a welcome back to blogging, I want to talk about a movie I just saw.

"Would You Rather" (2012)
Director: David Guy Levy
Starring: Brittany Snow (also Exec-Producer), John Heard, Enver Gjokaj, Sasha Grey, Eddie Steeples

"Would You Rather" is perfectly described as a cross between "Hostel" and "Ten Little Indians". The concept isn't particularly new, but the approach and acting elevate it beyond previous works. We meet Iris (Snow) as she interviews for a job. She just quit school to take care of a sick brother after both parents have died. Money is tight, and she doesn't seem qualified for much. Her brother's doctor introduces her to Shepard Lambick (Jeffery Combs), the head of some huge corporation? Endowment? It isn't explained very well. Needless to say, he's rich and giving away money. Would Iris be interested in attending a dinner party, playing a game, and potentially winning enough to make all her and her brothers' dreams come true? Sounds too good to be true, and that's our first red flag. WYR doesn't try to be smarter that other films of its ilk, it simply understands that you, the viewer, know what's going to happen, and speeds along until hitting pay dirt.

Iris agrees to go to the dinner where she meets a cast of characters plucked from the pulp headlines: a gambler down on his luck (Heard), a saucy minx (Grey), the token black guy (Steeples), the ex-military guy (Charles Hofheimer), the little old lady (June Squibb). Dinner seems pleasant until the game is introduced.

It's a simple children's game. We've all played it: Would you rather? In our version, the choices are usually between bedding some famous actor or the weird guy at school. Drinking some weird concoction or kissing a dog. Who knows? The possibilities are endless! Of course, this is a horror/suspense film, so the stakes are much higher. I don't want to ruin some of the ingenious ways Mr. Lambick has devised to torment and test his potential beneficiaries, but I will pose this offered question: Would you rather electrocute yourself or your neighbor? How much are you willing to risk to chance?

At times, WYR made me cover my eyes. It was a nice change of pace for me truthfully, where nothing is usually weird or disgusting enough that I've not seen it before. In this case, I may have seen it before, but I cared more for the characters involved that I didn't want to see what I knew must happen.

Is this torture porn in the same way Hostel may be categorized as? No. Is it equally, if not more, disturbing? Yes. What would the average person do in these"Exam" or "Cube" that "Hostel". It's really about what makes a person human? What limit is too far? What would you do to achieve what is most important to you? It is in these questions that WYR succeeds.

circumstances? As one character expressed, we'd like to think we know but as the timer runs down, what would we really do? Thinking on this now, I think the film has more in common with

Would you rather??