June 12, 2012

Lbs., the Movie

I watched Lbs. the movie last night.  I love this kind of lower-budget character-based flick (another is A Cool, Dry Place).  I love how it balances the expected story arc with unexpected twists.

I love the two main actors ~ Carmine Famiglietti (Neil) and Michael Aronov (Sacco).  They did such a fabulous job, and the two worked so great together.  (Two scenes that shone like the sun was where they are arguing at the trailer about their respective addictions and at the end when Sacco is a homeless addict yet Neil imagines what he would have been like if he’d gotten clean ~ so charming and beautiful.)

The story is about an Italian man, Neil, in the city who is overweight and addicted to food.  He has a heart attack while driving a bus for his father’s business and ruins his sister’s wedding.  He takes off and drives into the country and buys a rundown trailer in a rural area.  And he tries to figure it all out.  He convinces his buddy Sacco, who’s a drug addict, to stay with him and try to get clean.  But they fight and Sacco leaves.  There’s the neighbor woman who’s a love interest. 

The ending is predictable yet unpredictable at the same time ~ great balance.  I won’t spoil it for you, but I love how we get the satisfaction of the ending we want, yet there are surprises.  I think about things like that a lot.  How do you give closure without resolution?  When should you resist the happy ending and when should you let it happen and when is it cliché and how do you do have a happy ending without cliché?

And Carmine makes this huge physical transformation.  I haven’t read much background on the movie, but I wonder whether they filmed the last part, where he’s fit, first or second.  Either way, he really transforms himself, an amazing thing. It’s like the movie The Machinist.  Christian Bale is concentration camp thin, and I found myself so repelled and transfixed by that that I had a hard time watching the movie. Why would an actor do that to himself?  Because he wants it so badly, he’s willing to really commit his instrument.

I could talk about many things related to Lbs., but maybe I’ll just leave it with this.  Like Carmine the actor, we artists need to leave in on the page, on the stage, on the screen.  We need to make the commitment and give it up for our art.  It shows in  the final product.  But there are lines that make it become spectacle, like in The Machinist. A very delicate balance.

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