Saturday, November 04, 2006

Half Nelson is so good.

For a movie about a crack-addicted teacher falling apart while trying to keep a favorite student from falling under the influence of a suave crack dealer, Half Nelson is remarkably cheery and satisfying all the way through. Having taught in some similar classrooms, I don't think the portrayal of the school scenes is entirely true to life--I mean, he has what, like 12 students in his class? C'mon. Plus, they sit there and listen to him as he rambles on abstractly about history non stop. But still, all the kids act pretty naturally and, well, I don't know how to put it into words yet; it's just a great film.

At points, I wonder if it isn't almost romanticizing the bottomed-out life the teacher is living. He's a crack head, but he's a tortured artist, sleeping on a bare mattress with his little drawings scattered about and it almost comes across as a viable, hip, lifestyle. He wears cool sunglasses. You almost think that if his cat didn't die (not really a spoiler), he might have been able to keep things together. But again, despite this reservation, one of the best movies of the year for me.
The soundtrack is spiffy, too. I'd always wondered about Broken Social Scene, and now I know they're worth looking into.

6 comments:

T-Seabs said...

Well I finally know what I'm going to do tonight. Thanks! I just watched the trailer for it and yes, if it really is an urban junior high then there should be at least twice as many students there.
I heard about Broken Social Scene a while ago. I never got around to checking them out though but from what I read they were/are well worth it.

Mr. Hill said...

Let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

I had initially heard about this movie a long while ago, more specifically because Ryan Gosling was the "it" actor because of his role in the Notebook. I'll get around to seeing this one...eventually.

T-Seabs said...

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was refreshed seeing a movie where important and character defining events happened without being beaten over the head of the viewer or flat out ommited. And yes, he does make it the whole situation seem somehow cool. I had to ask myself twice "what does he mean by I feel good today."
I'm actually stuck at a point where I don't know if I want to buy a video camera or a couple hundred Polaroid cartrages. I think I'd enjoy movie making completely, but if you saw what I'm doing with Polaroid right now, it's hard to say which is better. I'll snap a sample and take a poll.

Mr. Hill said...

Glad you liked Half Nelson. I'm not clear on how it got its title. Maybe I wasn't paying attention at some crucial moment.

Yeah, post some polaroids over at your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mr. Hill, I figured you'd like to know that Half Nelson won some awards...

"The drug-addiction drama "Half Nelson" topped the list of winners at the 16th annual Gotham Awards Wednesday, picking up prizes for best feature, breakthrough director and breakthrough actor."