The gift featured in the new movie, The Gift, is one of those gifts that you are sometimes better off not receiving. Personally, if it were my gift,
I'd try to return it for something useful, like a pot roast or some tweezers.
What kind of gift makes you see dead people in your yard and blood dripping from your plumbing and makes everybody want to pull a Joan of Arc all over
your face? No thanks, next time just send cash. Or maybe a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble or something.
And yet, what kind of movie could you make out of a $20 gift card from Macy's? Probably not one quite as spooky as Sam Raimi's new boo-fest, The
Cate Blanchett, a talented Aussie who does an amazing job replacing her natural Australian accent with a backwoods Deep Fried Southern one, is Annie
Wilson. Annie has a gift, and it's not a free subscription to Sports Illustrated or a miniature boom box. She can sense things. ESP things. She
uses this handy deck of cards that look suspiciously like the ones Bill Murray used to hit on that co-ed in the beginning of Ghostbusters and tells
people the future, or the past, or what they need to do to fix their urinary problems, or what have you.
Which is all well and good until the town slut, Katie Holmes, disappears and the police ask her to use her special whammy to figure out what happened
to the youngun.
The script was written by Billy Bob Thornton and some other guy, and they do a pretty decent job of making everyone seem a suspect and keeping you
guessing time and again with red herrings and false leads and everyone acting all suspicious-like and what not. There are also a number of places
where you jump up and gasp, but then, I tend to jump up and gasp during movies like Terms of Endearment and Grease, so what do I know?
The true strength of this film, that which sets it apart from being just another run of the mill thriller, is the killer cast. That Blanchett woman
can act, baby! And serious praise should go out to Academy Award Winner Hillary Swank, Academy Award Nominee Greg Kinnear, surefire future Academy
Award Winner Giovanni Ribisi (the most intense actor in Hollywood) and even perpetual dreamboat Keanu Reeves, who proves that he's pretty good at
being a total jerk.
I'd include Gary Cole on that list, but I can no longer see him without thinking of his character in Office Space.
This is basically a whodunit. And it's not so much a chance to figure out the clues, as it is a chance to guess which clues are fake. In the absence
of huge blockbuster thrillers, this movie is a nice little respite from all the damn Academy Award Wannabes floating around:
Go see me! I'm important and a cinematic achievement!
No, go see me! I star high-caliber actors in a human story about feelings!
No, go see me! I'm a touching telling of the Pulitzer prize-winning novel, as seen on Oprah!
Screw it, go see the movie with dead naked bodies floating in the trees.
I'm giving The Gift the gift of 3 1/3 Babylons. That's my gift, and I hope they like it and don't try to exchange it for something silly, like two
thumbs up or something.
My gift to all of you is not writing about what a pain in the ass it is being the SMC's editor. I'm going home.
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, Gary Cole and the stench of death.