Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pillow talk should never involve bringing up how the chick you just banged reminds you of your mother.

During my Sucks To Be You, Blockbuster Video shopping spree last year, I managed to get a few films featuring The Adorable Amy Adams (she's so precious). Some I'd already seen, others I'd yet to watch, and one I didn't even know existed: Moonlight Serenade. Because it was from Magnolia Home Entertainment, I assumed that maybe it was one of those joints that played for a week at the Nuart while simultaneously available via VOD, but that wasn't the case, it was a DTV deal. The DVD box gives out 2009 as the year it was released but the film's end credits reveals that this was a 2005 production, which means this was probably made shortly before or after her role in Junebug, the film that really got people's attention as to who this precious redhead was. 

The tagline under the title says: "She'll sing her way into your heart" which I honestly didn't think was necessary because, c'mon people, that's like saying putting a gun into your mouth and pulling the trigger is most likely going to kill you -- well, duh. Amy Adams is sweet enough, she doesn't need you to help convince people of her powers in being endearing. I mean, all they really had to do for cover art is just have a picture of her precious face giving out that endearingly peculiar smile of hers with the name Amy Adams under it and people will be like AWWW and there you go, she just sang her way into your heart without singing a fuckin' note. 

So the movie stars one of these Scottish motherfuckers who thinks he can come to my country and play an American-born American better than my fellow countrymen. He was also in those made-for-cable Dune joints that was meant to satisfy all the Dune nerds who got all bent out of shape the first time out, when David Lynch took that book and went all Frank Booth on that literary Dorothy Vallens. Anyway, he plays a dude working a high-paying job doing the financial managing thing for one of those firms that tell you the best ways to invest your money, only to shake in their expensive Italian shoes after you leave because when it comes down to it, they have about as much a clue about that shit as you do. 

Some of these guys, they like to unwind by bro-ing out with their fellow suit-wearing bros at the local sports bar, while others like to take prostitutes home and chainsaw their vaginas or something, but Low-Budget Ewan McGregor, he prefers to chill out at home with a glass of scotch and his piano, before heading off to his favorite nightspot where he drinks alone (like me) and gets hit on by Moon Bloodgood types (not like me). But these assholes always have to be all fucked up over something; turns out homeboy can really tickle the ivories but for some reason, he keeps it to himself, not even letting his buddy (who heads a jazz band at said nightspot) know about this. I guess he's supposed to be the singing musician equivalent to some martial arts master who can fuck everybody up but chooses not to, no matter what, because long ago he killed somebody in the ring. Or maybe he's just an asshole, I don't know. 

I say that because his friend would probably really dig having his bro join him on-stage, but Ewan McGregor Lite won't tell him about his talent. Yet, such is the power of the coat-check girl played by The Adorable Amy Adams that he's running up to her on the street and singing that old When I Fall In Love song that got popular again when Celine Dion and some limey sang it at the end of that Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedy -- you know the one, the one that ends with them getting together and living happily ever after. No, the other one.

It's not just because she's Amy Adams that he's understandably smitten with her, it's also because one night while boozing it up at the piano alone in his supposed New York apartment (more on that later), he starts singing and is suddenly joined by some mysterious girl standing outside on the sidewalk below. Long story short, he finds out it's Amy Adams, but because he managed to insult her beforehand, she's all like Go Fuck Yourself. Part of that attitude is because he's an asshole who's better off auditioning for The Asylum's way-too-late cash-in on Trainspotting (Asylum's title: Scottish Heroin Addicts) rather than try to get up in her guts through the magic of Song, but because she has a deadbeat loser drug-addict boyfriend (aka Me Two Years Ago, except it was booze) waiting for her at home, stinking up her cheap couch while watching Huell Howser, I'm sure. 

Let's talk about this loser druggie boyfriend. For most of the running time, I thought this movie was so low-budget that they couldn't afford another actor, because they keep mentioning him but you never see him. At one point, you hear him cough in the next room and I thought Holy Shit, that's as deep as that character is gonna get, but eventually he does show up near the end. 

By the way, I've never gone through a drug withdrawal, so I've never seen dead babies crawling on my ceiling as a result of Kicking Junk, but apparently when you're trying to kick that shit, you need not only hot soup, but lots of untoasted plain white bread to get through it. I notice that -- soup & bread -- in a lot of movies with scenes like that and I noticed it here when Amy Adams brings her recovering boyfriend that meal. I've been sick many times, due to plain ol' everyday viruses, and I've subsisted on chicken noodle soup, crackers and 7-up while I recovered. But never the untoasted/unbuttered white bread. Maybe there's a magic to that combination, maybe plain white bread is nature's methadone. I'm gonna ask Robert Downey Jr. about that if I ever see him. 

But yeah, what was I saying? Oh yeah, this is a very low-budget movie; someone who supposedly worked on this movie posted on some comment board (that I can't remember the name of, at this moment) that Moonlight Serenade was a 7-day shoot and cost a bit under 100k to make. I can buy that; there are a couple scenes where I swear Adams and Newman also served as background extras whenever they weren't required to be a major part of any given scene (it could be their stand-ins, but I doubt it, they probably couldn't afford stand-ins in this movie, at least not those with the same exact hair and body types). 

The movie takes place in New York, but it's obviously Los Angeles, leaving me to wonder why they even bothered trying to pass it off as the city that never sleeps. They were better off trying to convince us that this took place in fuckin' Toronto. I guess there's a larger jazz scene in the Big Apple, but who gives a shit about verisimilitude in a movie where people occasionally break into song during dramatic scenes (yeah, this is kind of a musical)? Or maybe they had it set in New York because most of these kinds of old-school musical romance joints took place there? I don't know, all I do know is that Not Ewan McGregor lives in an apartment with huge windows and yet the curtains are always closed. Because that's what you wanna do with your New York City apartment that you're paying up the motherfucking ass for -- you wanna fuck yourself out of a great view of the city and convince yourself that you're living in, I don't know, Tulsa. 

His office -- which also always has the shades closed -- isn't that impressive either, and when The Adorable Amy Adams first enters his office, she makes a comment like “fancy digs”, which left me confused as to whether she was being sarcastic or if she actually meant it, and if she actually meant it, that would be even weirder because his fancy digs aren't so much fancy as they're just digs. Or maybe she was genuinely wow'd because compared to the closet she works inside of, his office looks like fuckin' Adrian Veidt works out of that motherfucker. The fucked up thing is that someone in his position would probably have a modest office like that, it's just that we're so used to offices in movies that are always too grand to be real, kinda like how we kinda got used to some sitcoms featuring low-income people living in huge apartments. 

There's nothing really wrong with this movie; it's not terrible, it's just, I don't's just there. I can see what the filmmakers were going for, a mid '00s version/tribute to those romantic-kinda-musicals, only it comes off more like a tribute to the poverty-row versions, the ones that played as the bottom half of a double-bill starring nobody you know or people you used to know, following up something truly grand and kick-ass. 

What you have here is an OK-at-best movie that didn't get distribution for a while, leaving me to wonder why much shittier movies didn't have any problems getting picked up. But then I realized why: this flick, it's too slight for theaters and too old-fashioned for DTV. The movie is about as steamy as a Davey & Goliath cartoon, and at the time it was made, Glee and High School Musical were but a mere gleam in a homosexual's eye. It's hard enough to get a movie with no stars into theaters, but it's even harder to go DTV with a no-star movie when you don't even have those magical selling points of SEX and BLOOD and OWNAGE to get a motherfucker to cough up the bucks and make copies to send to Redbox. But then as the years went by, Amy Calico Adams was becoming more well-known and I'm pretty sure she's the reason why this flick eventually got picked up. 

I kid Mr. Alec Newman with the McGregor cracks; he's fine in the role, even though his character is too much of an asshole at times. The Adorable Amy Adams is of course, The Adorable Amy Adams as she always is. I'm usually pretty good about people disagreeing with me, but in this case, I'd probably feel a serious case of the American History X curb-stompies coming on if you did. I guess you can say that she did this movie because it probably brought her fond memories (!) of singing during her dinner theater days, but that's probably not true, she probably was just happy to have a gig.

And maybe that's still her modus operandi today: Work Work Work. Critics were giving her shit for doing movies like Leap Year and the IMAX one where she ran around in jodhpursbut give the girl a break; she struggled for years and now she's gonna take advantage of her time in the spotlight by Gettin' Crazy Paid, and besides, she's already held her own against hardcore motherfuckers, like Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Christian Muthafuckin' Bale, she got nominated like 2 or 3 times for an Oscar, she's proven herself. 

Speaking of Bale, I bet you if Amy Adams was on the set of Terminator Salvation on that fateful day, shit would've gone differently. I bet you if he looked over and saw The Adorable Amy Adams' concerned face, he'd stop mid-rant, take a breath, and begin to tear up. He'd choke up and tell The Adorable Amy Adams "I'm sorry luv, it's just, it's just that acting...they don't understand, they don't appreciate what we put ourselves through sometimes" and then she'd slowly nod and say "I know Christian, I know. We're only human" and then he'd stumble up to her waiting arms and return just as warm a hug as she's giving to him, all the while bawling while Adams slowly strokes that gifted angry manchild's head. The cameras would be still be rolling, but McG -- fuckhead that he is -- would never bother using it, because he's fuckin' McG, man, what can you do?

Anyway, I guess the real reason for this movie is the singing, and thankfully Moonlight Serenade is a success in that department, the song department. It's all jazz standards and the music's really nice and Adams & Newman do very well supplying their own vocals. Newman's got a cool smooth voice to him, and the scotch & piano aesthetic fits him like the proverbial glove. Holy shit, writing that last part made me feel like the proverbial douchebag. Amy Adams could probably stand to dial it down a tad -- her singing seems more attuned to playing large theaters, rather than small jazz clubs -- but that still doesn't change the fact that she has a lovely singing voice, which of course you should know by now because I know you've seen Enchanted by now, I know you're not trying to hurt my feelings here.

So I guess what you have here is the musical equivalent of a low-budget action movie with blah dramatics but kick-ass setpieces, and in that case, I have absolutely no problem calling Moonlight Serenade the romantic musical equivalent of one of those Richard Pepin/Joseph Merhi productions for PM Entertainment Group, only instead of Cynthia Rothrock and Gary Daniels, you have Amy Adams and Alec Newman.

Holy shit, there's an idea. Some of my Twitter friends have brought up that they want to see Cynthia Rothrock come out of retirement/sabbatical/whatever-the-fuck-it-is and maybe Quentin Tarantino is the one to John Travolta that shit for her. I want to add to it by throwing Adams in the mix. Maybe it can be a buddy cop movie done Tarantino-style, or maybe they're assassins-for-hire, kinda like a female version of The Mechanic with Rothrock in the Bronson role and Adams in the Jan-Michael Vincent role. Or a hard-ass chick Western like Bad Girls, only good.

Man, this shit almost writes itself and I can help except I am but a learner and Tarantino is the fuckin' master, so he should write that shit. C'mon, QT, it's up to you to put this shit together. I don't know what it'll take to convince you to make this movie, but I'm sure they'll be fine with you spending an entire day filming their bare feet or letting them walk all over you or whatever it is you foot-fuckin-masters are all about, if that's what it's gonna take.