Monday, October 1, 2012

you’d be mad to miss it

The movie Mental is the story of the dysfunctional Moochmore family and the foul-mouthed Mary Poppins who changes their lives.

Yesterday arve we went to see Mental, a new movie by PJ Hogan, the man who gave the world Muriel’s wedding.

Do you remember all those weird coincidences about the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy? You know, elected President in 1860/1960… both names contain seven letters…shot by men born in 1839/1939. That sort of thing.

Well, there are some similarities between Muriel’s Wedding and Mental that are not so weird and, in fact, not even exactly the same. Well, apart from being made by PJ Hogan, that is.

MW: Toni Collette stacked on weight to play the part of Muriel
M: Rebecca Gibney stacked on weight to play the part of Mum Moochmore
MW: Set in Porpoise Spit
M: Set in Dolphin Head
MW: The backyard needs mowing
M: The whole house needs a makeover

One very conspicuous not quite the same coincidence is the music.
I’m not saying Abba music should be banned, or that people should not like it, but for me personally their very first hit went from annoying to grating after about a week of airplay. And for years I actually avoided watching Muriel’s Wedding, just because it had music by Abba in it.
I regret that now, because when I finally relented the movie was great fun in spite of the Abba Music.

Mental contains a lot of music from The Sound of Music. Apart from a couple of hundred others, The Sound of Music is the movie I most hate to be within a 20km radius of.
But I have to say Mental is a great movie, in spite of the Sound of the Music.

I’m trusting the trailer above gives some hints of just how over-the-top some of the humour is.
Aunty has a built-in “stupid” barometer. She has a great sense of humour, but there is a line beyond which she finds it hard to suspend disbelief. For the first 20 minutes of the movie she sat with a neutral expression on her face. It’s probably just as well her knee is bung or she might have got up and left. But eventually it got to her, and she started to laugh. This is high praise from a difficult customer.
And just as well the old girl is no prude, because eventually there was “language” – including that very, very, very naughty word. In the context though, this is funny too, and Aunty’s reaction was to roar laughing.

Being me, I focused on the profound, deep and meaningful theme as well as laughing hysterically along with TO and Aunty. Which is to say, this movie is high art as well as comedy.

Toni Collette was as good as Toni Collette at her best.

Rebecca Gibney ditto.

Deborah Mailman had a good, 3 dimensional character to play in The Sapphires, but here she gets a chance to really get into a 5 dimensional part, and she does it very, very well.

What can I say about Sophie Lee? I’ve seen her astonishing acting talent live at La Mama, but in movies it seems she always ends up playing a bit part as dumb blonde bimbo slut. It always seems such a waste. Oh well, she is focusing on her writing and making babies now anyway - in fact the plot of her novel Alice in La La Land is about an actress trying to get a break in Hollywood, and I suspect it has a grain of something autobiographical in it.


  1. On the list. Had to watch the trailer to see if I would like it, but I am a bit sorry I did.

    1. Oh dear. Did you find the trailer off-putting? Or are you concerned it gives too much away?
      [BTW, added a brief plot outline in response to your question. Good idea].

      I saw the trailer before the movie. The main character seems rather stereotyped in the trailer, and I found it a tad off-putting. I can only say there is a lot more to the character than appears in the trailer.

      Yes, it has some tacky moments.

      I always worry that reviews can give too much away. There are a lot of surprises in the movie.

    2. Good, thanks. Usually the best bits are shown in trailers.

  2. That is the sort of movie TOH will love.

    1. I hope you enjoy it as well diane, ... or at least a banana flavoured choctop.

  3. Deborah Mailman and Sound of Music music.

    This movie sounds like a dream come true for me.

    I laughed when you mentioned Sound of Music music.

    I imagine you were feeling tortured.

    Wait. I shouldn't laugh about that.

    I also like ABBA.

    Why do I suspect we have totally different taste in music?

    At least we both like Deborah Mailman.

    Funny about Dolphin Head and Porpoise Spit.

    I wonder if the movie will come here. Well, it will. But I wonder if it will have a wide release (whatever you call it).

    1. Laugh your head off Dina. There is probably a 400 page book of stories about why I hate the sound of music so much, and the many times I have been stuck with it. Worse yet, trapped watching the wretched movie.

      I'm curious about the US release plan.
      The UNIVERSAL logo appears in the opening credits, but at the end the credits say "

      How widely was Muriel's Wedding distributed in the US [if at all]?
      It will be interesting to see if The United States of Tara has made Toni Colette more "bankable". [One episode of that was more than enough for me].

      I can't wait to hear what you think of it - you will encounter ideas close to your heart, and I think the ending will appeal to your personal sense of humour.

  4. Fruitcake,

    I looked at the release date on IMDb; and they didn't have one listed for the US.

    I don't know about Muriel's Wedding.

    From my observations; Australian movies aren't usually widely released in the theatre. The only recent exception I can think of was "Australia".

    We do have a fair amount of Aussie movies on cable.

    As for actors. I don't think it matters if they have prominent careers in the US. If they're playing Americans in American movies. Fine. If they're playing Australians in Australian movies...I don't know. I guess the-powers-that-be are afraid American theatre audiences might implode if they hear too many foreign accents at once.

    I think Toni Collette is fairly bankable here. For Tara; and...maybe The Sixth Sense, and stuff like that?

    Then PJ Hogan directed a popular American film. My Best Friend's Wedding. They could use that angle to attract viewers.

    Anthony LaPaglia had a popular TV show here.

    I'm glad to hear the movie has ideas close to my heart.

    I watched the trailer you posted yesterday; and I liked that.

    1. Most US movies likely to be box office hits are first released here through the larger chains. The next market they hit is pay TV 'on demand' which I think is $5.50 per movie.
      By the time it is available on DVD it then shows on ordinary pay TV channels [no extra charge.

      For movies less likely to do big box office, the chains tend to ignore them and so those movies are released to small independent [or 'arthouse'] theatres instead.

      So maybe Mental will go straight to smaller independent theatres in the States? The question is how long after the general release here it takes for movies to be released in the US.

      Do you have 'on demand' [i.e. extra fee] channels for newer films? Do you have trouble getting oz movies on DVD? Are they 'region 1' DVDs or just 'all region'?

      Our DVD player has been modified to play discs from any region. Has yours? Or do you not need to do that?

    2. I rarely get DVD's.

      We do have on-demand.

      I think some Australian movies are on it.

      Or I'll just wait till it comes out on the regular movie channels.

      I'm bad at seeing movies.

      I did manage to finally see Bran Nue Dae.

      I haven't yet managed to see another movie I wanted to see (Griff the Invisible).

      Hopefully I'll remember to watch Mental.

  5. Apparently Christopher Plummer loathed TSOM so much he referred to it as the 'Sound of Mucous'! You're welcome ...

    1. Another great line for my growing list of great lines.
      The Sound of Mucous it is. They must have paid him a bucket to play the part. They should pay people to sit through it. I'd demand penalty rates.

      As you have gazumped me with the YW, I don't need to TY.