2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Bend it Like Beckham, a semi-rebuttal.

At the risk of destroying all/what little film-reviewing credibility I may have had here on Milkplus (and particularly with joker), I have to say I saw Bend it Like Beckham -- and enjoyed it.

Yeah, yeah – it was cliché-ridden; entirely predictable, and finished off with an utterly implausible ending (spoilers What, two full scholarships on the basis of one - or worse, half of one - game?). But, y’know what? It didn’t seem to matter too much.

Yes, I will complain about the heavy-handed symbolism of the frequent airplanes taking off. (Yes, they live near the airport; but that’s insufficient mitigation.) And, in 2003, the comic device of a revelation/suspicion of homosexuality is too worn and outdated to be particularly funny.

Since I know nothing about soccer, the poorly shot games sequences didn’t bother me greatly; I wouldn’t have been any the wiser even if they had been well choreographed – like Mrs. Paxton, I’d have needed the HP sauce and the mustard, and a play-by-play-for-Dummies to understand it. (I am sympathetic to those who do know something about the game, though. It reminds me of all the times when I’ve seen indifferent swimmers masquerading as swim-team stars, and felt like shouting instructions from my cinema seat.)

Parminder Nagra was limited, but adequate, as Jess. Her twenty-something years didn’t seem quite as obvious to me as to Joker, though she did seem a tad chunky to be an athlete. – Is it unfair of me to expect all the team members to look as lean and honed as Keira Knightley (nicely showing off her abs and sports bra), and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (who seemed quite convincing to me as a straight bloke – but then, I’ve never seen him in Velvet Goldmine)?

So. What did I like about it? It’s a feel-good film, with no pretensions to be anything more. The humour, for the most part (see 3rd para. above), works despite – or because of? – its corniness and predictability. Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding that other surprising hit, its elements of cultural and generational conflict were aspects that much of the audience could identify with, and laugh with. Even if the production as a whole is at the level of a high school production, there are times when good-natured, middling efforts can provide sufficient entertainment.

This may sound like a damning-with-faint-praise kind of review. If so, so be it. Nevertheless, I didn’t feel the coruscating scorn that some Milkplusers have reserved for this film.

An example of recent South Asian-oriented comedy I found deeply unfunny? - Try Hollywood, Bollywood.

Best sports film? Possibly Raging Bull (more a character study than a “sports film”). Best locations? Chariots of Fire. Most enjoyable? Breaking Away, and (although it isn’t so much about the game, as about the phenomenon of fandom) Fever Pitch.