Friday, October 2, 2009

Sleepover with the Enemy

“Evil is a word people use when they’ve given up trying to understand someone.”

When an actor feels like he’s being typecast or decides that he wants to win some awards, he plays gay. Macauley Culkin, hot off the runaway success of Home Alone and at his peak earning potential, was no exception to this rule. Thusly, The Good Son (1993) was born. The Good Son was written by Ian McEwan as an early-90s domestic thriller/woman in peril film. Only, somewhere along the line, Elijah Wood wound up playing the woman role.

When I was about 10years old, the boy who lived next door showed me his junk in a fort we made. Two days later he tried to kill me by throwing bricks at my face and we weren’t friends anymore. That’s pretty much what happens in The Good Son.

Elijah’s just lost his mother so he’s real torn up, blaming himself and crying a lot. Naturally, this is the perfect time for his dad to pawn him off on his Aunt (who has just lost her son in a mysterious bathtub drowning). Once Elijah starts hanging out with Macauley, he feels much better. Ian McEwan creates a curious world where children never have to go to school. They get their hair styled the same, Macauley shows him how to eat a lobster, they play tickle wars in a treehouse, they even see the same therapist. Next thing you know, they’re throwing dogs down wells and causing twelve car pileups on the freeway, a regular Bonnie & Clyde! Elijah’s aunt is too preoccupied standing on a precipitous cliff side staring out at sea and pontificating while her gay son is off on killing sprees, so it’s up to our heroine, Elijah, to take matters into his own hands.

I just love a movie where parents send their kids to live far away! When this film works best, it plays like a 1940s women in prison film. There are genius moments, like when Elijah’s aunt slaps him square in the face on the ocean bluff and when Macauley looks at Elijah, takes a beat, and says “…don’t fuck with me.” Much like the recent Beyonce/Ali Larter epic, Obsessed, The GoodSon’s final scene makes the entire film well worth the seventy-five minutes leading up to it! Trust me.

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