Friday, May 29, 2015


A few weeks ago, I took a look at Karen Leigh Hopkins' film MISS MEADOWS, starring Katey Holmes as a smiling, ludicrously sweet schoolmarm who has a side gig as a murderous vigilante. Think DEATH WISH done as a black comedy starring Marry Poppins in the lead.

That premise is pure gold. Unfortunately, the movie is unwilling to entirely commit to it. Holmes' way-over-the-top character wears saddle-shoes and vintage dresses and drives a Metropolitan Nash that looks as if it just rolled off the line. She tap-dances while reading poetry, fetishizes proper grammar, tends her lovely garden and dotes on the children in her care at her work and at--yes, it goes there--her Sunday school. The character is a top-to-bottom parody, an utterly stylized fantasy not even remotely like any real person in the real world. Not a problem if the goal is black comedy. A significant problem though, if, as happens here, the film repeatedly tries to digress into straight drama and expects the viewer to suddenly accept it as such. These digressions aren't overbearing--the bulk of the movie still fits comfortably in the dark comedy milieu--but they do pop up repeatedly and manage to muddle the tone quite badly at times, effectively subverting any subversiveness the film manages to wring out of its premise. In a black comedy, the fact that Ms. Meadows is constantly running across pedophiles, killers and other scum worthy of death is just part of the joke; if it's meant to be taken seriously, it's just stupid. While the romance with the love-interest sheriff is often amusing, the sex scene is... rather strange. Probably the most bizarre thing in the movie and certainly a moment that epitomizes the failure to commit to a consistent tone. MISS MEADOWS never really decides what it wants to be. Reflecting this indecision, the film's trailer advertises it as straight--and rather heavy--drama, an horrendous misrepresentation of the film that, more than the film itself, inspired me to come here this morning and offer a few words on the subject. Anyone drawn to the film by it would likely be appalled.

MISS MEADOWS isn't a bad movie. It's just, overall, not a particularly memorable one, which is is a shame because a lot of the pieces for something far better were there.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Self Promotion Dept.

I'm doing some press criticism--or press critic criticism--at MRC Watch lately. It's a blog devoted to a critique of the Media Research Center, a big right-wing Ministry of Truth operation. I decided to take the opportunity to open what I hope will be a wider examination of the corporate press (for whenever I'm able to write it), and also launched News Reviews to that end.

A bit removed from the usual subject here. If they interest you, check 'em out.