A History of Squid and Whale Violence Revisited: Two must-see films

Two nights ago I saw "The Squid and The Whale" for the second time when we rented it on DVD; and, once again, I absolutely loved it, just like when I saw it for the first time back in March at the theater. But, actually, I liked it even more on second viewing. And, just like the first time, I was blown away by the great acting and the realistic-yet-hilarious story and characters. It's such a well-written, well-made small budget film.

Now if you've spent the past 5 months simply ignoring my earlier rave and you've, for some reason, decided it best to just ignore my ecstatic and joyous recommendation, well then, all I can say is you're missing one hell of a great film.

That'd also go for all of you who have neglected the advice in yet another of my unsolicited raves, the one I sent about "A History of Violence". We saw that again a few weeks back as well and it was just as brilliant on second viewing as it had been the first time around at the theater.

You'll find both original raves below, whether you want them or not.

But seriously now, if you love great films go and rent these movies today!

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Thursday, August 10th, 2006

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE RAVE (written Thursday, April 6th, 2006)

Back in mid-March I saw "The Squid and The Whale" and I totally loved it. We're not talking a masterpiece like "Brokeback Mountain" or "A History Of Violence" here, but we are, most definitely, talking one hell of a damn fine film. The movie is based on writer/director Noah Baumbach's experience of living through his parents' divorce back in the 1980s. As someone whose parents divorced when I was a kid, I could really relate, especially to the competition for the kids' affection. The film was really funny, but also quite moving and real, often all at the same time. The acting was simply excellent all round. Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney were fantastic as the parents, while Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline (son of Kevin Kline) were perfect as the messed up teenaged kids. See this movie!

But, on the other hand, if your idea of entertainment has anything to do with Jerry Bruckheimer and/or Michael Bay then you'd probably be best to give this a pass and keep your vigil going until they finally make that long awaited sequel we've all been waiting for, "Pearl Harbor 2: The Revenge" (or, at the very least, they've got to give us "Armageddon 2: The Rock Strikes Back"). However, until then, if you're at all able to stay awake and alert throughout an entire film without even one explosion then perhaps "The Squid and The Whale" is the film for you.

The "A History Of Violence" Rave (written Thursday, March 2nd, 2006)

I just got back from the movie theater, where I saw David Cronenberg's "A History Of Violence". What a perfect piece of filmmaking. Absolutely brilliant! And, yes, I did say that about "Brokeback Mountain" last week and, no, I don't say that about very many films. In fact, so many films are simply mediocre at best, so it's really refreshing to see such brilliant filmmaking two weeks in a row. If I had to choose, I'd say that "Brokeback" was the better film, but, the films are so different that that's a bit like trying to compare "Taxi Driver" to "Annie Hall" or "Goodfellas" to "Crimes and Misdemeanors" or "La Strada" to "Dr Strangelove" - all classics, but which is superior and why? Just like in "Brokeback", the acting in this film was incredible. Viggo Mortensen, who has been excellent in a lot of things over the years, from "The Indian Runner" to "The Lord Of The Rings", simply gives the performance of a lifetime. He is perfect! But the rest of the cast is fantastic as well. Maria Bello, Ed Harris, William Hurt and Ashton Holmes, as the son, are all superb. But the real star here - ok, the other real star after Viggo - is David Cronenberg. I've always found his films to be really interesting, and sometimes excellent too, but this is by far the greatest thing he's ever done. This - and I don't say such things lightly - is up there with Scorsese in his prime. Yes, really! Here come those words again: brilliant filmmaking!! It's truly mindboggling that neither David nor Viggo were nominated for Oscars. But, hey, from an organization that has given Steven Spielberg two Best Director Oscars and Martin Scorsese exactly zero, what can you expect? So screw the Academy! And way to go David!!