Sunday, December 20, 2009

From the Roku: Defending Your Life (1991)

For some reason I had never seen this before. I don't know why, up until now, I had skipped over this. But, I am glad that I finally did. I feel like Albert Brooks should be a bigger star, even just from his 80's/early 90's output. He was acclaimed to a point, but I really like his sense of humor. He could be the non-pervy Woody Allen if he had been given a chance. They are different, though, I suppose Brooks is more, I don't know, gentle. And this was a good vehicle for him too. Its gentle to be sure, and it is funny, but it also makes you think: is there, or could be, anything worse then having someone choose a certain number of days (mostly bad days) and painstakingly go through the bad decisions you've made? Its a nightmare scenario to be sure, and its not easy for Brooks' character who, from a certain perspective, he did make a lot of mistakes. But thats only from a certain point of view. Its breezy and easy-going, which seems to be the persona that Albert Brooks cultivated, and Meryl Streep is very good as Brooks' almost exact opposite on Earth, an almost perfect person who made all the right choices. I also particularly liked the idea of heaven, actually its not heaven-purgatory? limbo?-Anyway, I liked the idea of an afterlife that is like being at a city in Epcot Center, where everything is just a little off, perhaps a little artificial seeming-because that is what would give us humans ("little brains") the most comfort. Its like being in a strip mall (there is six now built outside of Judgment City!) Oh, and I would be remiss in not mentioning Rip Torn and Buck Henry, the former being particularly good here.

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