I have 460 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
Howdy folks! I’m Michael Rabattino, and you might remember me from such film websites as CHUD.com, and….CHUD.com. I’ll be sitting in for Jared again this week, and maybe some other weeks in the future. The far-off future, when there will be flying cars and hoverboards and such. 2015, in other words!
What’s the movie? The Perfect Host (2010)
What’s it rated? R for imaginary sex, dangerous red wine, and fake stabbings
Did people make it? Yep! Directed by Nick Tomnay, Written by Nick Tomnay and Krishna Jones, Acted by David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford
What’s it like in one sentence? It’s part The Usual Suspects, part American Psycho, part creepy.
Why did you watch it? A friend of mine recommended it and told me he wouldn’t speak to me until I watched/reviewed it. I obliged.
What’s it about in one paragraph? John Taylor (Clayne Crawford) is a career criminal and a fugitive on the run. He stumbles upon the residence of Warwick Wilson (David Hyde Pierce) and cons himself inside with the story of how he knows a friend of Warwick’s and she said he could stop by if he ever needed help. Warwick is getting ready to host a dinner party, and invites John to stay while he waits for help. Warwick soon learns that John is not who he says he is, and it’s not long before Warwick decides to show his own true colors.
Play or remove from my queue? *SPOILERS within…it’s hard to discuss this movie without spoiling it, so beware*
Play it if you want to see David Hyde Pierce own your television for 90 minutes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, because I had only ever seen the trailer a couple years ago before the film came out. I didn’t remember much and the film pretty much dropped off of my radar, but that’s a good thing. You should know as little as possible before going in. But even if you know a little bit, the film still has many tricks up its sleeve which keep things fresh up until the very end.
John seems like a good guy forced into a desperate situation, and through the use of flashbacks we learn that he was doing this one last job. That job? A bank robbery in which he was assisted by a teller (whom he became intimate with) to procure the money she needs for a medical procedure. And then they were going to run off together.
So after the job goes to shit, one way or another John stumbles onto Warwick’s property, talks his way inside, and slowly but surely realizes that Warwick is insane. We aren’t sure what to make of things at first. John seems as if he’s going to make his move and reveal who he really is to Warwick, and we can sense that Warwick may be a very vulnerable, timid man. This is not the case, because Warwick, we soon learn, is the total opposite of who we thought he was.
He has drugged John (John picked red “spiked” wine and Warwick drank white) and we can now see who Warwick’s guests really are. They’re figments of his imagination. He’s exhibiting some sort of multiple personality disorder, clearly, and almost everything in his life is fake. He even has a picture of him holding his arm around an imaginary person. This is “Forever Alone: The Movie” in every sense. His dinner guests aren’t real yet he’s as animated a host as anyone would be. He really is the “Perfect” host. But Pierce pulls it off so perfectly, it’s really a genuine sight to behold. In my estimation he plays 3 parts as well as anyone in any movie would play 1. He’s the timid homeowner taken aback by a brash criminal, he’s the diabolical, methodical serial killer-in-the-making, and then he’s the hardened, corrupt cop. It’s a masterful performance that few actors could pull off so convincingly.
It’s revealed later on that he never actually kills his victims; he simply pretends to by using movie make-up. Whether or not he has a background in that sort of thing or dabbles on the side is anyone’s guess. But he makes it look like his victims’ have been brutalized just so he can take pictures of them to relish over later in his scrapbook. That’s not to say Warwick doesn’t get rough with John, but as for slitting his throat? That’s something we only briefly believe has happened. John awakes the morning after the whole ordeal outside of Warwick’s development near a dumpster and rips a fake laceration off of his neck. In a parking garage where John plans to make his escape with Simone (who effectively betrays him by making plans that didn’t include him to leave the country), he secures the money and Simone is captured by Warwick’s partners. John is confronted by Warwick who blackmails him into a large share of the robbery money. He gives John just enough to make it to Mexico.
You of course need to wonder just how Warwick can afford such a lavish lifestyle on a police lieutenant’s salary, but I think it’s obvious that over the years he has abducted quite a few criminals who could get him what he wanted or done many a shady deal over the years under other cops’ noses. Either that or he does movie makeup work on the side. It’s anyone’s guess.
From Mexico, John has mailed a Polaroid photo of he and Warwick to Detective Morton with the note “Watch Out!” underneath. The scene where Morton questions Warwick is pretty intense, and Warwick of course talks his way out of it, chalking it up to photoshop or something like that. Morton wants to search his home, but Warwick has a better idea: why not come over for dinner? That the cycle Warwick has put into motion could continue, or it could come to a screeching halt with Detective Morton seeing through his invitation to what it really is (a trap) is left up to us.
The film isn’t perfect, of course, but I thought it was great watching things unfold and letting David Hyde Pierce mesmerize us for 90 minutes. You can certainly question why John as a fugitive would want to be around people in a neighborhood when there’s a chance that his face is plastered all over the evening news, but it’s a minor complaint. Moreover, it seems like the whole film is based on a coincidence. But I feel like nitpicking isn’t really necessary here. It just works and while it’s not the greatest film you’ve ever seen, it’s one you might talk about for awhile. And there’s something to be said for how subtle and haunting the score can be, which sets the perfect tone for this story. I only wish the ending, while a nice tease, had a little more resolution. That being said, ambiguity is sometimes your best bet.
Do you have a favorite line? “You can’t kill me, I’m having a dinner party.”
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? It was filmed in 17 days.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Let Me In (I see what you did there, Netflix..though I’ve never seen the original, I LOVED that film), Insidious (love love love), and Red State (fantastic).
What does Michael say I’d like if I like this? The Usual Suspects (people who aren’t what they seem to be), American Psycho (living well and being batshit insane), and The Human Centipede (capturing people in your house for your own sadistic pleasure).
What is Netflix’s best guess for Michael? 3.9
What is Michael’s best guess for Michael? 4.0
Can you link to the movie? What kind of wine…red or white?
Any last thoughts? I want to partake in an imaginary conga line, don’t you? No? Okay, then. Also- why do I keep picking films with former television stars associated with the Cheers universe??
Did you watch anything else this week? The Three Stooges (you know, for what it was…I really really liked it), American Reunion (pleasantly surprised by it), the season premiere of Boss (WATCH THAT SHOW) and the latest episode of Breaking Bad (Shit happens, Jesse).
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, House 2? It’s still better than House. This argument will never die, Bill Smith!
Next week? Not sure! Throw some suggestions our way.