One of the great pleasures of being in Manhattan in the late 1990s was Ed Koch’s movie reviews for the Manhattan Spirit, a free weekly that circulated around the Upper West Side. They have become the gold standard of bad moview reviews for me. Koch is a genuine enthusiast, has seen a lot of movies, and might even have good taste. It’s impossible to tell, since he literally can only write in movie-review cliches — like some OuLiPo collage work or Farc project. He’s alive and well and in the Atlantic. Oh the joys!
Here’s a typical brilliant sentence:
The main problem I had with the film is that Larry David, who occasionally–as in a Shakespeare play–steps out of his role and addresses the audience, was not convincing in his role.
He’s big into actors and actress not being convincing in their role. He doesn’t really have much else to say about acting. It either convinces Ed or it doesn’t. And that’s that. This sentence has another Kochian hallmark — the utterly irrelevant aside in the middle of the sentence. When he can’t think of any way to mention an important detail he picks some poor sentence and rams that detail into its throat and splits it down the middle. Another Kochian hallmark is just to move onto something else after four words, and then something else, and then something else, and a few more times before a sentence can be declared over.
While Whatever Works isn’t close to his best films, it is far better than most of the current crop of romantic comedies, most of which are schlock.
It is a Belgian film noir that lacks the sensuality for which the French are famous.I didn’t identify with any of the characters, but the story is interesting.
Although there are some funny gags, overall I did not find the script humorous due to the fact that most of the humor is predicated on everyone talking obscenely and constantly using the F-word.
Welcome back Ed!