I'm a huge Roberto Benigni fan. Down By Law, Night on Earth, Coffee and Cigarettes (thank you Jim Jarmusch, you totally rock), Johnny Stechinno, The Monster ... and of course, La Vita e Bella ... saw that one in the theater and could watch it over and over again. I find it to be one of the most inspiring films ever made ... how far a parent will go to protect their child. I don't want to watch his version of Pinnochio ... but I did see another fantastic film of his called The Tiger and the Snow. It's bascially a mirror version of Life is Beautiful, but done so incredibly well. He plays an Italian poet who is trying to save the love of his life in Iraq, who is laying in a coma in a Baghdad hospital after the American invasion and occupation (yes, I wrote that). There were a couple laugh out loud scenes, one involving his trying to get to Basra on a camel and him convincing American soldiers that he's not a terrorist ... I don't think this film was widely released in America for obvious reasons. The political overtones were blatant, which made it even better. Roberto Benigni is a great actor ... totally deserved that Oscar for LIB. I remember Steven Spielberg referred to him as an Italian Furby after his most memorable Oscar acceptance speech. I think I actually cried watching that. Anyway ... the most surprising performance was by Jean Reno. He's a fantastic actor and I had no idea he was fluent in Italian (he's French and usually plays Frenchmen, only in this film, he's an Iraqi). Not sure if he's fluent in Arabic, but he sure seemed to be in this movie. There's a twist, of course, but there's a beautiful scene toward the end of the film where the title of the film comes to life and everything gets tied up in a nice bow. I'm going to have to buy this one for my collection. I loved it. But wait, the coolest part of the film HAS to be ... the dream sequences where Atillo (Benigni) is getting married and who is the piano player ... freaking Tom Waits!!!! Tom Waits ... Tom Waits!!!! Singing at the piano, in Italian!!! This guy is the coolest guy on earth. He worked with Benigni in Down By Law, which was directed by Jim Jarmusch, Jim Jarmusch directed one of my favorite westerns, Dead Man, with Johnny Depp, which brings me to ....
And onto my Polanski film festival ... the Ninth Gate ... why why why??? Is Polanski just going for a paycheck on this movie?? Johnny Depp was good, he's so versatile ... Willy Wonka, Captain Jack ... but he must have done this film because he wanted to work with Polanski. I don't know, it's a good thing he made the Pianist because if he hadn't I would have lost all faith in Polanski as a filmmaker and ended my film fest with Chinatown. There's just no reason to watch this film other than Depp and Emmanuelle Seigner look really good.
I watched a couple episodes of Man Men .. I have 8 more to go .. the season premiere is on Sunday so I better get cooking, or smoking .. or drinking ... I thought there would never be another drama as good as the Sopranos, well, watch it David Chase ... Mad Men is just as good. It's amazing how this show is so realistic to the time period of the early 60's. You see pregnant women smoking, a kid spills something and the dad tells the kid to get the mom to clean it up .. oy, how far we've come, thank god. It's amazing, the plot lines are almost secondary to the setups.
Swingtown is turning into guilty pleasure viewing. There's just not much to report. Sa-wingers Sa-winging. I wish Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd would show up to one of Trina's pool parties. At least it would be funny and not so soap opera-y.