A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Thursday, September 6

Summer Movies: Part 8

As usual, the summer movie-going season ended with a whimper. A quick look at my two final films:

There's a great story told in Deep Water, a documentary about a solo, non-stop, around-the-world nautical race sponsored by the Times of London in 1968, and, specifically, about one of the entrants, a weekend sailor named Donald Crowhurst who fooled everyone into thinking he was up to the grueling adventure, got a financial backer and a press agent, left his wife and four children behind, and, once he got started, realized that forging ahead would be suicide, turning back would mean disgrace and ruin, and so basically sailed off into oblivion. It's a great story... but it's also a pretty short story; or, at least, much shorter that the 90-minute running time of the movie. The fact that the filmmakers only had what seems like 15 minutes of archival footage to work with—and so play the same shot of Crowhurst's forehead, for instance, again and again—doesn't help with the grim sense of repetition.

A prime example of the so-called mumblecore genre—minimalist, slow, self-absorbed, banal—Quiet City follows two young neo-hipsters (she's from Atlanta, he lives in Park Slope) who meet cute and proceed to... well, to do not much for the next 48 hours or so. They try to bounce a superball on some grass, and comment about how it doesn't work so well. They go see a friend of his about getting back his hat; while there, they discuss cole slaw (these are NOT Tarnantino-esque riffs, by the way). She trims his hair. We watch long moments of silence, and clumsy chit-chat. There is a certain charm to some scenes, and a good eye behind the camera, but really, if you've seen one awkward pause, you've seen them all.



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