Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Derp Blog Into Darkness #26: SNOW CAKE

In Derp Blog Into Darkness, I take a plunge into the deep with movies I’ve never seen or (in some cases) never even heard of, with the only common thread throughout being that they were purchased by my partner in the years after the break with her religious upbringing. This gives me a range from mainstream comfort food to more daring, “rebellious” stuff.

When Ella took a subscription to a Dutch film magazine, she got three DVDs gratis. BROKEN FLOWERS, DONNIE DARKO and SNOW CAKE. The latter is one of those all-too-rare movies I’d never even heard of. The DVD at my disposal didn’t even have that stupid tagline on it, so I could only go off the pictures on the cover. Happy looking Sigourney and Carrie-Anne, slightly concerned looking Alan Rickman, okay… A “6” rating, which is about the equivalent of WIZARD OF OZ in terms of offensive content, okay… I was actually pretty psyched! I could not get a handle on what this movie was! How often does that happen? Okay man, I am so down for SNOW CAKE you cannot BELIEVE IT SON

It took about ten minutes to deflate that childish enthusiasm. Rickman plays a quiet, brooding English gentleman on his way to Winnipeg. At a truck stop, he reluctantly picks up overly talkative, purple-haired and quirkily dressed Vivienne. Oh no

i had stumbled into a manic pixie dream girl movie

Vivienne isn’t even a very good MPDG, as she happily eats McDonald’s and sings along to The Free’s “All Right Now”! How corporate is that?

But then, about ten minutes into the movie, a Cylon hits them with a truck and Vivienne dies. What? Had I been underestimating this movie? Was it building itself up as an MPDG drama/comedy, only to pull the rug out from under me not a quarter of an hour in?

Nnnnnot exactly. As Rickman goes to notify Vivienne’s next of kin, he approaches this dreary 70s looking pad as some weird Japanese folk music is playing. I was actually getting excited for sheer Lynchean madness at this point! Sigourney plays Vivienne’s mother, who is a high-functioning autistic peron. Carrie-Anne Moss is her next door neighbor, a filthy atheist slut who is reviled by the conservative Christians of the town of Wawa (!) for her atheism and sluttiness. Due to circumstances (her parents hiking in the wilds somewhere and out of reach for a few weeks), Rickman feels compelled to take care of Sigourney. Still shaken from his passenger’s recent death, he delivers some crap from a gas station (“sparklies”) Vivienne was planning to bring to her mother. He sits down at the kitchen table, has a realization and breaks down and cries. This breakdown is framed in such a way that Weaver is dancing through the shot with some cheap plastic lights going HERPADERPADERP while Rickman is just slumped at the table, crying. I’m not going to lie – I laughed. It’s like Rickman was thinking, “Oh god, it’s out of the frying pan, into the fire with these people!” Later, in the snowy back yard, Sigourney asks Rickman if he’s ever had an orgasm. He says yes, and Sigourney explains that Vivienne tried to describe it to her once (!). She believes it didn’t sound as good as the feeling she gets when she stuffs her mouth full of snow, which she promptly does, rolls all over the ground and goes HNNNGHHHHOMNOMNOMNOM, as Rickman stares at the ground forlornly. I laughed again. These were the highlights of the film. Do not watch it, it is very boring. There is one bit where it almost reaches actual sadness, as the grampa reads from a children’s picture book Vivienne was working on at her funeral. It’s a story about a little boy and his brother who is different. As the crosscutting to Sigourney will tell you, it’s REALLY a story of Vivienne and her mother, but I actually thought the short story worked better than anything in the actual movie had so far. It also takes up like maybe two minutes of screentime, so it’s not like it really saves anything. But kudos for the guy who played the grandfather, I suppose. Yes, kudos to you, Mr. David Fox, English VA for Captain Haddock and the Sentinels/Master Mold in the 90s X-Men cartoon!

ps alan rickman learns to value life again do not worry

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