american beauty (1999)
Lester Burnham is having a mid-life crisis. It's a
story of self-discovery.
Conrad L. Hall
This is a film I wish I could see again for the first time - to watch
it not knowing what is going to happen - not knowing how all the characters
end up. I remember walking out of the theater that first time in awe.
My friend and I just rode home in the car marveling at what a bizarre
gem it is. It took some time to soak it up. Since then I've seen it
more times than I want to count (we're getting into double digits here),
and yet I still am not tired of it. I enjoy all of the characters and
enjoy watching their journeys. I don't have this relationship with a
lot of films. When I leave the theater, I am happy. I can't help smiling.
This movie leaves me with a sense of hope - with a feeling that life
really is . . . great.
is a movie of scenes and one-liners. I will admit that. It could just
be some guy's wet dream of all the things he wishes a movie could have
- but I don't care. I like the scenes and I like the one-liners that
send me rolling down the aisle. And it's not like they're put in there
just to get a laugh - they work as part of the dialogue - which, to
be honest, is pretty rare.
THINGS I LOVE
SPACEY. Period. This is such an amazing performance which just goes
to support my own personal theory that he is one of the most talented
actors performing today. His range and talent are exceptional.
Bening. She is fantastic in this role. I really can't imagine anyone
else doing it.
I like the score music (the fantasy music, etc.) and I also really liked
the use of 1970s classic rock. It really adds a lot to the film - and
I like how it's not all just background - it's incorporated into the
the plastic bag. I do. I've had those moments.
of reflections. I'm not trying to comment on what is supposed to be
meant by "reflections" or anything. Some of the shots are
just really cool - Lester driving and singing in his car and the reflection
of the buildings
on the windshield; Ricky filming Jane's small smile in her mirror; the
reflection of Ricky's zipper in Lester's blood - just to name a few.
progression of the story. One of the things that impressed me about
this film is that it is constantly moving forward. The characters are
not rehashing the same thing over and over. Their lives are moving and
they are growing and changing. I love that.
entire opening monologue by Lester Burnham - all of the scenes - from
the shower to Lester watching Carolyn cut roses (one of the best shots
is of her inspecting a rose she has cut) to the car ride to work.
open house. When she closes the blinds and starts her crying and reprimanding.
face in the fantasy scene at the basketball game. If lust has a face,
on the ceiling with the rose petals falling on Lester's face. It really
is a magical, surreal scene.
the Jims welcome the Fitts to the neighborhood.
at Carolyn's real estate function "put a little more in there cowboy."
and Ricky smoking out back. I'm still laughing with them.
looking for his weights and then his initial naked workout session.
catching Lester jerking off in bed.
quitting his job.
and "the King" at the hotel. My god, this is hilarious.
driving after quitting job - singing - the really cool thing
here are the buildings reflected in the windshield. It's very cool.
where Lester explodes.
screaming in the SUV.
of THE scene between Lester and Angela - his big hairy arms and her
tiny body - it's fantastic.
The red door
of the house filmed through the rain and reflected in the sidewalk.
and Angela talking in the kitchen after their
big moment - it's very caring and real and it's what brings the whole
movie together for me - "I'm great".
death - beautifully filmed - the reflection and his smile; Ricky's zipper
reflecting as he squats down; the blood on the table - great staging
of this scene.
final monologue and the images that go with it.
exhausted just watching her. - Lester
Brad, I got five. - Lester
the James Bond marathon on TNT. - Lester
I watched you very closely. You didn't screw up once! - Carolyn
I am happy honey.
you just became my personal hero. -Lester
a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise
yourself. - Lester
to look good naked.
one to talk, you bloodless, money-grubbing freak. - Lester
me your majesty! - Carolyn
for the least possible amount of responsibility. - Lester
met before, but something tells me you're going to remember me this