Angela's Ashes
April 29, 2000

As I indicated in the March 3rd review for Man on the Moon, the Davis Theater has a new owner who is fixing up the previous beloved, crummy moviehouse.

Well, there are even more "improvements." The whole friggin' lobby is covered in brand spanking new red carpet. There are more upscale treats at the snack counter (nature trail mix in a box, for God's sakes). Also, there is a brand new red neon sign above the snack counter reading "Davis Theater" in cursive letters. There are even reprints of old movie posters and movie star photos lining the walls. He's a fine actor and all, but CARY GRANT DOES NOT BELONG IN THE DAVIS.

Also, there is a disturbing trend in the Davis movie selection. Gone are the Stephen Baldwin star vehicles, the Charlie Sheen thrillers. Now I am faced with (ulp!) Oscar-nominated movies. Of course, the actual quality of the films being screened hasn't really changed, but still! What is Stephen Baldwin going to do when he realizes The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas doesn't have a cheap theater to go to after its first weekend of dismal sales?!!

To be honest, though, I'm not too upset about all these changes (especially because the prices have not risen). I feel it's part of my duty to bring you drama in these little reviews, and so my heated reaction was just a little razzle-dazzle in the tradition of the esteemed Rex Reed. I do hope the Davis allows the occasional Jon Voight or Baldwin brother film through their new fancy front gates, however.

Okay, what the hey am I doing? Reviewing! Angela's Ashes is a very long film about how sucky it is to be a kid growing up in Ireland in the 1940's and 1950's. It is brought to you by director Alan Parker, who previously alerted people how sucky it is to be a rock star in Pink Floyd's The Wall, and how sucky it is to be Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart.

It centers on one family, where the mother (Emily Watson) is always either giving birth or crying, and the father (Robert Carlyle) is always staring anxiously or getting drunk. We follow one of their children as he grows up and is portrayed by three different actors. Several children in the family die, it rains, a couple people vomit, it rains, the father trips on a chamberpot and gets covered in crap when he comes home late drunk, it rains, it rains, it rains.

Human suffering is certainly a potent (and popular) source for drama, but here it's troweled on a bit much. We're basically presented with this family, with little attempt to give them any depth of characterization, and basically the director shoots a starter pistol and the suffering begins. It just made for a boring, dreary film that went for far too long. Read a Charles Dickens book instead.

See you at the movies. Save me the unstained seat.