Sunday, February 15, 2015

Film Classic of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at Shampoo,  The Player,  Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

In 1998, Neil LaBute's Your Friends & Neighbors was released.

The film opens with Jason Patric thrusting and talking and the audience quickly learns he's getting in a 'rehearsal' for sex before his latest pick up arrives.  In fact, he'll go for a second 'rehearsal' before she arrives.

Patric is Cery who's friends with Jerry (Ben Stiller) who's living with Terri (Catherine Kenner).  That couple's biggest obvious problem?

That Jerry, in love with his own voice, can't stop talking and even provides narration during sex.

Terri: Is there any chance you're going to shut the f**k up?

Jerry: What?

Terri:  You're talking right in my ear.  I'm losing any sense of concentration that I might have.

Jerry: I'm just a -- It's kind of hard to stop.

Terri: Keep it to yourself.  I mean can you feel it?  Your thing's nearly in the back of my throat. You think I'm going to miss that?  Let's just do it, okay?  I don't need the narration.  Let's just go. 

Jerry:  What is this?

Terri:  I'm sorry but this is not a travelogue. 

Jerry and Terri are friends with married couple Mary (Amy Brenneman) and Barry (Aaron Eckhart).

This couple has their own problems which include Barry's preferring masturbation to intercourse. "You probably think I'm kidding," he explains to a co-worker played by Josh Dotson, "but I've lived with this hell all of my life.  I'm telling you nobody makes me cum the way I do."

In the meantime, he's not doing much for Mary.

Who is having an affair with Jerry.

And then there's Chrie (Nastassja Kinski) who  Cary tries to pick up.

But she's only interested in Terri.  "I at least tried to f**k outside our calling circle," Terri later tells Jerry.

Things get more and more complicated.

And the scene's show stopper is probably the sauna scene where Barry, Jerry and Cary end up in a conversation (which ends in the locker room) about the best sex they ever had.

Cary's response is the real shocker and in keeping with the sociopath he plays.  We won't provide any spoilers there but it will surprise.  Possibly not that the incident was with a guy but the way the actual incident took place.

The film is often shocking, often funny and always alive.  There's not a bad performance in the mix and this is one of three performances Jason Patric has given that should have resulted in an Academy Award nomination (the other two are After Dark My Sweet and Rush).  The film's a high water mark for the entire cast and one of the finest of its year.

Ben Stiller's character is a college professor who lectures his class early on about the motivations in a play, "And ultimately what do these characters want?  I know, it's embarrassing for you to say but, let's be honest, they want to . . . f**k!  Correct?  It's always about f**king."  That's a good summation of this film as well.

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