Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Prime

I think Ben Younger is the type of man that would be well-spoken and opinionated, both in the best ways possible. I feel like if I ever got to have a conversation with him, it would go from discussing Jewish boys in New York to the antics of household pets to the outrageous situation in Sri Lanka to the best steakhouse in L.A. He seems like a fascinating and intriguing person.

If the man ever made a VFX movie, I would be there in a heartbeat. Alas, he does not tend toward the flashy FX, so my chances of ever working on one of his films is slim to none. However, I do get to watch his sophomore project, "Prime," over and over again, as it is one of my favorite movies ever.

I actually find Uma Thurman to be quite awkward-looking, all elbows and spindly fingers that bend at weird angles. (Honestly, look at the woman's hands; her fingers are out of control. That scene in "Kill Bill" where she's in the truck after waking up from her coma, trying to convince her big toe to wiggle? Her toes totally freaked me out.) She has luscious hair and beautiful eyes, but still looks like an alien to me.

Somehow, Ben Younger managed to make Uma Thurman glow (really, GLOW) throughout "Prime." I don't know if it's the lighting, the make-up, the wardrobe (doubtful), the script, or what, but she has never looked better. (Except, maybe, perhaps, in "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," but surely a movie from 21 (!) years ago can't be taken into consideration here!) I could actually believe that a 23-year-old boy could fall instantly in love with her, she was so beautiful in this movie.

I watched "Prime" when it first came out, in 2005, and bought the DVD as soon as it was released. I still remember that when I walked out of the movie theater, I wanted to run off and start painting again. I wanted to move to New York and live in either a chic, well-furnished Manhattan apartment, complete with cat, or a run-down, completely "the early years" artist apartment in a slightly shady area, decorated only with my paintings.

I wanted a friend like Morris, slightly (okay, more than slightly) obnoxious but always funny. I wanted to go to Dean & Deluca and spend exorbitant amounts of money on quail eggs and organic cheese crisps. I wanted to see a Rothko in person, huge and dominating.

For such a quiet movie, it stirred a lot of emotions in me. I was exhilarated, I was hopeful, I was so happy that it wasn't one big cliche, because it so easily could have been.

I thought Bryan Greenberg was perfect for the role, just dweeby enough to seem unsure of himself in the face of a woman 14 years his senior. He was the straight man to Morris's zaniness (Jon Abraham was cast perfectly) and kind of vanilla. Cute, yes. Talented, yes. Not all that interesting, though. Just ... there. Exactly what the story needed. It was more about Rafi (Uma Thurman) and Lisa (Meryl Streep), not about a 23-year-old who needed to find himself and/or prove himself.

I hadn't watched the movie in a while and kept thinking of it recently. Not sure why ... maybe because I've been giving a lot of thought to relationships lately. I have never thought that love could conquer all. Love cannot conquer hunger or poverty or even lice. Love can disillusion, can gild a pile of crap with gold, but can't do much else beyond that. Even though "Prime" isn't a pessimistic movie, I think it clearly illustrates how/why love is not enough. It’s a romantic comedy without the cringe-inducing “rom-com” moments. I love that.

In the smallest ways, this film feels right to me. Everything; from a kid that drops to do a couple push-ups before calling a girl, to his best friend, who knows all the guys at Magnolia Bakery because of his not-so-kosher extracurricular activities. I loved that they had to wait in line for Morris to buy a cream pie (what exactly IS a cream pie??) and that even the sensitive artist is lured away from everything in life by his Nintendo.

I just love this movie.

I don't even think there's any one part I don't like (perhaps Rafi's horrible little friend Randall, who's irritating). Meryl Streep is perfection as a concerned mother hen who wants to cluck over her precious chick while trying to maintain what she knows, professionally, to be right. Jewish moms and Korean moms, by the way? Eerily similar.

There's not enough I can say about this film, and nothing I say will describe how wonderful it is. I plan on watching it again in the near future.


2 comments:

william May 27, 2009 at 4:46 AM  

i read this post in the morning and, taking your recommendation, downloaded and watched 'prime' by mid-afternoon.

i can see why you like it. i think the best scenes are the ones between uma thurman and meryl streep. those were good scenes.

everything else was...nice, harmless. cute movie.

jeanny May 27, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

Meryl Streep is genius. I kind of forget how good she is, and then I watch a movie with her in it, and I am blown away every time. Even (especially?) cheese-tastic movies like "Mamma Mia."

It's an unassuming movie. Perfect to leave playing while doing other things (except I tend to get sucked into it).