I have 469 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.
What’s the movie? The Perfect Host (2010)
What’s it rated? R for Clayne Crawford’s sweat chops, Helen Reddy being woman and David Hyde Pierce chewing so much scenery he throws up other, different scenery.
Did people make it? Written by Nick Tomnay and Krishna Jones. Directed by Nick Tomnay. Acted by Clayne Crawford, David Hyde Pierce, Megahn Perry, Nathaniel Parker, Joseph Will and Tyrees Allen.
What’s it like in one sentence? A game of chess where everyone thinks that they are smarter than they actually are.
Why did you watch it? prunetracy reminded me Helen Reddy was in it and I have a soft spot for that lady.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Clayne Crawford plays John Taylor, a desperate man who just robbed a bank and has a city wide APB on his ass. When he picks a random house and fast talks his way inside in order to stay low for a while, he gains entrance to the home of Warwick Wilson (played by David Hyde Pierce), a clean and proper gentleman who is preparing for a dinner party. As the evening progresses, John starts to realize he might be in way over his head as Warwick continues to play his role as the perfect host.
Play or remove from my queue? Play it. The second half isn’t as satisfying as the first half, but it’s well worth watching just to see how much fun David Hyde Pierce is having. He lets every single syllable drip from his tongue as if it’s the most delicious thing he’s ever had in his mouth and his work makes the script seem much smarter than it actually is. His role isn’t a far cry from the effete panic of Niles Crane, but it’s different enough to make me miss the man and wonder why he doesn’t choose to work more. I was a bit worried about Clayne Crawford because his role on Day 8 of 24 (the horrible diversion about Starbuck and her redneck ex-boyfriend) made me hate the season more than I wanted to. After watching The Perfect Host, I can safely say it was the role and not the actor I loathed (even though the characters are similar in numerous ways and his name is Clayne, which strikes a sour note in my grey and wrinklies). The supporting characters all do a fine job (with Nathaniel Parker being the biggest standout while looking almost exactly like a younger Ciarán Hinds), but this film ultimately lives or dies based on the work of Crawford and Hyde Pierce and they nail it to a door like so many Christian hands.
I don’t want to go into the second half of the film and why it doesn’t work quite yet. This movie is still pretty new and hasn’t been on Instant Watch long enough for me to feel like everyone has had a chance to view it before getting into spoilers. I will say that this is a bit of a “twist” movie that relies on being so charmed by the film’s cleverness that you overlook a few glaring plot holes and some inconsistent characterization. In the comments of next weeks column we can discuss issues with the film we have while giving chewers a chance to catch up. It’s a fascinating movie to pick apart because so much of it works, but still, once the credits start rolling you’re left a bit empty and already feel it slipping away. The direction is assured and the score is flawless. The acting is impeccable and (for the most part) the writing is top notch. Probably my favorite aspect of the film is the tone, though. It flits back and forth between black comedy and psychological thriller so well that I never wanted it to pick a genre. I was perfectly content with just letting it be. If only it had stuck the landing.
Do you have a favorite line? I know it’s lame because it’s even in the trailer, but when David Hyde Pierce is getting threatened by Clayne Crawford and says “You can’t kill me, I’m having a dinner party,” I giggled my dicks off.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? The only thing I could track down is that the film only grossed a little north of $48,000. The film overstays its welcome a bit, yeah, but it definitely didn’t deserve that fate.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Inside Out (an agoraphobic Elliott Gould with a penchant for whores and coke? Added to the queue), New Town Killers (somebody told me this blew), American Perfekt (Robert Forster, Amanda Plummer, David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk in a thriller together sounds gangbusters), Inside Out (Eriq La Salle Vs. Steven Weber? Leaning towards amazing. Also, don’t ever rent a porn with this title) and Stranger Than Fiction (even the presence of Todd Field won’t get me to watch a movie starring Dina Meyer AND Natasha Gregson Wagner. Life’s too short for that shit).
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? For some reason it kept making me think of Swimming With Sharks, which should be seen by everyone.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.3
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.5
Can you link to the movie? I sure can!
Any last thoughts? My wife came in while I was halfway through the movie and asked how it was and I enthusiastically responded “Kind of amazing, babe”. She asked me once it was over how it was and I verbally shrugged my shoulders with a “meh”. But that first half is good enough to squirt some goodwill over the finale, anyway.
Did you watch anything else this week? I watched the pilot for American Horror Story which made me laugh until I cried. It’s incredibly flawed and tonally recockulous, but I haven’t been that entertained by any of the other new shows of the season by a long shot. Any show that stays constantly cranked up to 11 while also not taking itself seriously is okay by me.
Next Week? We’re going to spend the rest of October doing horror movies, so Ghoulies is the logical choice unless you’ve got a better idea.