Tag: ordinary

Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
★★★ / ★★★★

Like “Millennium Actress” that was also directed by Satoshi Kon, “Tokyo Godfathers” feels like ordinary story on the outside but has something extraordinary within. It’s about three homeless people–Gin (Toru Emori), a father who lost his family, Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki), a maternally-obsessed transvestite, and Miyuki (Aya Okamoto), a young runaway too ashamed to return home–who find a baby in a dumpster during Christmas Eve. After deciding that they’ll return the baby to its parents, they learn so much about themselves and each other. I liked the fact that this film does not shy away from using coincidences to get an emotional reaction from the audiences. To me, it didn’t feel distracting because that’s how life is sometimes: a series of coincidences that reminds and defines who we are and how much we’ve changed from the past. I also liked the common theme of funny things coming out of a sad situation and sad things coming out of funny situation. Again, that realism so endearing to me because most animated films I see are labyrinths of fantasy. It’s refreshing to see a potential real life story being told in a different medium. For a nintey-minute movie, the picture was efficient enough to feature each character’s backstory so we truly get to understand their motivations and how they’ve become homeless; it’s nice to see that, to some of them, homelessness is merely a byproduct of escaping some sort of shameful things they’ve done in the past. And like real people, these characters sometimes lie to each other and then later on we get to discover the truth from their actions. This is a very strong film because it straddles many different genres yet feel complete and very human. As for those who are knowledgeable to some sort of a Christian background, there’s something extra special for them because the three homeless individuals could mean something more.

Beautiful Ohio

Beautiful Ohio (2006)
★ / ★★★★

Chad Lowe’s directoral debut is rather difficult to get through because it doesn’t rise above the stereotypes regarding depressing suburban drama. William Hurt and Rita Wilson have two sons: David Call, a certified genius in mathematics, and Brett Davern, who is rather ordinary. Michelle Trachtenberg complicates the storyline by filling in the role as the not-so-girl-next-door who the two brothers happen to be attracted to. The first part of the film is rather interesting because it explores the jealously between the two brothers–mainly Davern struggling to live in his big brother’s shadow versus stepping out of it. I could relate to the two brothers because they pretty much have nothing in common except for their unconventional parents. Things quickly went downhill from there because the dialogue mostly consisted of the characters discussing theories, influential musicians and citing quotes from renowned individuals. Their pretentiousness created this wall between me and the characters. Therefore, when something dramatic happens to a particular character or a revelation occurs, I found myself not caring. I didn’t find anything particularly profound that drove the story forward either. Lowe really needed something above the whole parents-not-really-caring-about-their-children idea because it’s all been done before by better films. Davern reminded me of Emile Hirsch in “Imaginary Heroes,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but without the nuances of pain and complexity. If Lowe had explored the common theme of characters not understanding each other (literally through language or emotionally) in a more meaningful and not a heavy-handed manner, this picture would’ve worked. The revelation about a certain character in the end felt out of place. Don’t waste your time with this one.