Art School Confidential (2006): **
Directed by Terry Zwigoff
I loved every scene in this movie that featured
John Malkovich. See, I went to art school myself, and so I found
a lot of humor in his portrayal of a self-important instructor at
an art college. Unfortunately, I simply could not connect to the
rest of the movie.
There are a lot of funny parts in this movie. There
are a lot of funny characters. There are a lot of witty insights
into the insane world of professional art. But for some reason it
just didn't connect with me, which is a real shame because it was
directed by the director of Ghost
World, and written by Daniel Clowes, who wrote the Ghost
World comic and co-wrote the Ghost World screenplay.
So what went wrong?
It's really hard for me to put my finger on it,
which is frustrating for me as a movie reviewer. I think the two
main problems are with the direction and the casting of the main
At times it seemed like Zwigoff filmed this movie
as a rollicking comedy, but then in post-production tried to make
it into a serious drama, and at other times the exact opposite.
The pacing felt awkward, like I kept on being thrown out of the
And young Max Minghella's performance as the main
character was even more inscrutable and unfathomable than Eric Bana's
performance as Bruce Banner in Hulk.
I simply found his character impossible to relate to, even when
he was involved in situations that I found intimately relatable
(due to the fact that, as I said, I also went to college for art).
The character made sudden and inexplicable shifts in emotion, and
made strange decisions that left me shaking my head.
I also had some problems with the supporting characters,
mostly with the main character's roommates. Why did he need two?
What purpose did the fashion designer roommate serve in the film?
He wasn't even that funny, just a couple of stock gay jokes. I found
the film student roommate to be much more funny, but I still wasn't
sure what purpose he served in the film.
I get what Clowes and Zwigoff were trying to do
with this film, but I just don't think they pulled it off successfully.
Much like Terry Gilliam's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas,
I thought many individual moments of this movie were absolutely
great, but in the end it didn't really add up.