Movie Diary 4/9/2009

meetjohn2The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (Rawson Marshall Thurber, 2008). The novel by Michael Chabon rendered by the director of Dodgeball. Wait, I go on vacation and don’t see a movie for over a week and this is what I come back to? (full review 4/17)

Meet John Doe (Frank Capra, 1941). If politics today is dominated by the creation of a “story” around which events can happen (as opposed to working from a reality-based premise), then Capra was certainly on top of the game a few decades early. Even if this movie is considered something of a “bridge too far” postscript to Capra’s best films of the 1930s, it still contains some awfully dynamic moviemaking, and the tendency to speechify is almost always tempered by the right-on actors — Stanwyck and Cooper, for sure, but also James Gleason, whose drunken conversation with Cooper, which begins with Gleason’s confession of a soft spot for the “Star-Spangled Banner,” is a classic.