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Buy, Rent or Skip American Beauty?

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Author Topic: American Beauty (1999)  (Read 52 times)

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Chiprocks1

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American Beauty (1999)
« on: January 03, 2014, 10:32:29 pm »
American Beauty
The Awards Edition





Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIq9Zjw0mm8

Revisiting another movie that I haven't watched in years. Tonight it's American Beauty. This has a great story with very interesting characters and it's an amazing looking film shot by Sam Mendes. But damn man, the lives they are living is incredibly depressing. You have two families, both living a loveless marriage. Both dealing with kids that have issues of their own which directly affects their relationship with their parents. Dead-end jobs that go nowhere. There is something joyous about watching Lester (Kevin Spacey) 'waking up from his coma' and standing up for himself against those that have kept him down for 20 years, be it his controlling wife, his unappreciative daughter or his boss. I may not relate to the first two, but I can definitely relate to the third. Who hasn't wanted to tell their boss to go f*ck themselves? For a movie that's as depressing as this is, it has a lot going for it to make it very engaging, complete with a great twist at the end.

Fantastic cast that also includes Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney and Mena Suvari, who by the way rocked it in this one. I can't remember if this was the first movie I saw her in or American Pie. I remember both movies coming out the sme year though. Either way, I became a fan of hers. Speaking of Thora and Wes, where the hell did they go? I haven't seen or heard anything of theirs in years. Other than Ghost World which came out a few years after this, I haven't seen her in anything else. And wasn't Wes suppose to be the "Next Big Thing". I remember he was being compared a lot to Ben Affleck at the time. But then he too just disappeared. I didn't see him in anything ever again until The Hunger Games. Those are some huge gaps for a couple of actors that had a lot of positive heat on them because of this movie. Anyway, I highly recommend American Beauty as a Rent.
Chip's Rockin' Art
Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

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Chiprocks1

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Re: American Beauty (1999)
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 10:33:05 pm »
American Beauty DVD Screencaps

Coming soon........
Chip's Rockin' Art
Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

Neumatic

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Re: American Beauty (1999)
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 02:56:07 pm »
Thora Birch got out of acting because her creepy dad pushed her into it.  Really gross stuff goin' on there.

I got a lot of thoughts on the movie, way too many and varied to make any sense.  But my big issue with the movie (really, my only one) was that Chris Cooper kills Lester instead of Annette Benning.  See, I absolutely hated her character, and she also had perfect motivation to blow his brains out-- yet she didn't do it, so I felt like her character was a little shortchanged.  And Lester deserved it more from her than from Chris Cooper, having it be because he was mistaken for gay, a "merry mix-up if there ever was one," it seemed a bit too Three's Company to me... he might as well have been killed by Mr Furley!  I mean, it makes sense on the one hand, and I know it was set-up, but I just had issue with that.  Clearly.  It felt more like they couldn't make up their mind WHO would kill him instead of misdirection (multiple people having guns, etc).

Chiprocks1

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Re: American Beauty (1999)
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 03:09:10 pm »
I'm actually on the side of Cooper being the one to pull the trigger. I get where you're coming at from her standpoint, but I can't buy into her being shortchanged since her character was/is so cold and distant. Now had she been the victim in someway and was abused by Lester than 100% yes she should have gotten that moment. But since she brought on all these marital problems herself (sexless marriage, adultery, talking to Lester as if he was a child, etc...) she doesn't get to have the luxury of pulling the trigger. The only "bad" thing that Lester does to her is not giving a f*ck that he caught her cheating on him. He has already moved on.

As for Cooper, it was designed that way from the very beginning. It's all set up for him to be the one to pull the trigger. A display case full of guns, his "hatred" for gays, the idea that Lester "slept" with his son, his sexless marriage to his own wife, etc...). It all made sense in the end and his rejection by Lester as the tipping point to kill him actually was the right way to go.

Chip's Rockin' Art
Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

Neumatic

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Re: American Beauty (1999)
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 03:33:41 pm »
I get where you're coming from, but Chris Cooper kissing Lester... that to me was kind of  perfect, you know, it would have been an understated way to wrap-up this over the top character.

Annette Benning's character, she kind of WAS a victim, look at it from her point of view: her husband became **** crazy, yelling, irresponsible and unpredictable.  Now, I do believe that if Lester had lived, these impulses would have balanced out, but for the whole thing of the movie he was dismissive of her, flirting with a teenage girl right in front of her, never saying anything to her that was mean and sarcastic (in the few times he WAS communicating with her), he put her on the hook for the whole family financially and threatened her, he threatened his BOSS, and pretty much drove her already strained personality to the breaking point.  Now I'm not saying she was justified in doing it if she did it (I could see the gun going off accidentally), but it would have been the grave he dug for himself in a way.

Chiprocks1

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Re: American Beauty (1999)
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 04:09:04 pm »
look at it from her point of view: her husband became ****ing crazy, yelling, irresponsible and unpredictable. 

But who drove him to this? Prior to him lashing out and becoming unpredictable, he was because a doormat for her to walk all over him and he took it, never once putting his foot down and standing up for himself. And as I remember it, wasn't it for 20 years or so? That's a long time to basically be one's b*tch. He only "came alive" once he became smitten with Mena's character. She woke something him inside of him that has been lost for years. Finally, he wanted to start living again and since she wasn't going to change her ways, he set out to do things he has always wanted to do, whatever that was. He actually tried to get Annette's character to embraced this newly awakened Lester and for a split second, it looked like she would. That is until the couch issue brought everything to a crashing halt. It's this very moment when he realized that she wouldn't changed. Now threatening her with financial instability, she doesn't have a leg to stand on given her infidelity.

Let's agree that it could go either way. I think both points are valid. The big question though is this: Did you get the significance of what Wes' character was looking at when he looks closely at Lester? A lot of people never pick up on it's meaning, even friends of mine that have seen it totally missed the point.
Chip's Rockin' Art
Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

 

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