Volume 77 / Number 43 | March 26 - April 1, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Koch on Film
By Ed Koch
“Funny Games” (-)
There were moments when my interest was piqued by this intended thriller, but its many plot failures added up to an unacceptable film.
A family consisting of the mother, Ann (Naomi Watts); the father, George (Tim Roth); and their son, Georgie (Devon Gearhart), are vacationing at their Long Island home. Two thugs, Paul (Michael Pitt) and Peter (Brady Corbet), show up at the house and proceed to hold the family hostage wreaking enormous psychological and physical havoc on them.
The acting of the five principals ranged from good to exemplary. Pitt is very convincing as an extremely menacing brute while his sidekick, Corbet, is less compelling. The pair can easily be compared to the Leopold & Loeb psychopaths. Watts, who as the mother suffers many indignities by the criminal pair, including being required to undress, is most convincing in her despair and shame. Gearhart as the father suffers a broken leg at the beginning of the film and is unable to help his wife and child, who are being degraded and threatened with death before his eyes. He realistically conveys the fear and self-loathing of a man unable to help his family as they are threatened in his presence.
“Funny Games,” written and directed by Michael Haneke, is an English-language remake of the German-language film he released in 1997. I found the grisly incidents that multiplied throughout the picture to be repetitious and felt that an out-of-the-blue surreal scene utterly failed.
Because of other commitments this past weekend, I was only able to see and review this one film. I regret not having a second and favorable one to recommend to you. Since there’s not much to say about this movie, I thought I’d tell you what used up my movie time. So, if you’re only interested in my review, read no further.
On Friday night I attended the annual Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner where former Senator Bill Bradley was the keynote speaker. Regrettably, he bombed, using the opportunity to make crude jokes about Eliot Spitzer. Those jokes are okay for late-night television comedians, but not for serious speakers.
On Saturday night I attended the annual Inner Circle dinner, which is akin to the Washington Gridiron Club event where the press puts on skits lampooning public officials. The New York press corps poked fun at the mayor and other public officials, including Eliot Spitzer, but in this case it was properly done. Mayor Bloomberg held his own in his rebuttal. As I watched the show I fondly recalled the 12 such rebuttals I performed during my mayoralty. This year I was asked to participate in a video for the reporters’ section and another one for the mayor. I enjoyed my unexpected return to the stage. The only other invitation I now look forward to receiving is the invitation to perform once again on “Saturday Night Live.” As mayor, I performed in a skit with Eddie Murphy, which the show has replayed almost every year for the last 18 years. Ah, those were the days.