Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Poetry and Puncture Wounds 

The Proposition oozes with Nick Cave's influence.
  • The Proposition oozes with Nick Cave's influence.
The Proposition (First Look)
There's an old saying about Ginger Rogers, who did everything Fred Astaire did -- but backwards and in heels. This Australian western seems to be saying something similar about gritty American westerns: You think that's hard? Try living in the Outback. The Proposition mucks about in dust, blood, and moral ambiguity with all the cheerfulness of a Nick Cave song -- which is appropriate, seeing as Cave wrote the screenplay and composed the score. Guy Pearce plays a scoundrel sent to murder his older brother so that his younger brother will be spared. It's all very gorgeous, solemn, and ponderous, except for the many excellent scenes of bullets and spears poking holes in people. The informative, dour commentary confirms that the filmmakers think their movie is important, but who cares? It's mostly a big bucket of sour-faced fun. -- Jordan Harper

My Name Is Earl: Season One (Fox)
Most TV-show boxed sets give you standard-issue bonuses: commentaries, maybe some deleted scenes, and a blooper reel. But this collection for a pretty-good/could-be-great show starring Jason Lee raises the bar by including the unaired pilot for My Name Is Earl, which upends the show's feel-good premise (serving karmic righteousness, Earl rights old wrongs) and takes it down a meaner path constructed on the cobblestones of vengeance and fury. You can tell it was never gonna work in prime time -- too many middle fingers and dick jokes and smoked cigarettes -- but you'll nonetheless admire its nerve. Eventually the show found its way back to the road of good intentions, but it would have been fascinating to see whether the audience would love a guy it was supposed to loathe from the jump. -- Robert Wilonsky

The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Sony)
He's the self-proclaimed "King Kong of show business" and a "sorry entertainer" -- Daniel Johnston, the beloved manic-depressive who penned perfect pop songs and mangled their delivery on his way to loony-bin infamy and indie-rock misfortune. Filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig rescues the man from rock's footnotes, using ancient audio recordings and interviews to illuminate the genius hiding behind the burned-out eyes and baby-talk voice. This is less a standard rock doc than a grim family portrait of a mother and father frightened by the creative child they understood no more than they would a Martian; they wanted to help, but they hurt in the process. Among the essential bonuses is a reunion between Daniel and his 26-years-lost muse-turned-obsession Laurie; rather than being freaked out at having hundreds of songs written about her, she seems even happier than he to be held at long last. -- Wilonsky

Hard Candy (Lionsgate)
There's a great movie to be made about our culture's twisted fascination with perverts -- and for the first 40 minutes or so, this is it. But even an incredible performance from Lolita-with-a-twist Ellen Page can't save Hard Candy from its downhill slide; it's one of the most uneven movies in recent memory. Page plays a 14-year-old in a flirty online relationship with a grown man, and the opening scenes of their meeting are subtly creepy and tense. Unfortunately, that subtlety is later shed like a prom dress. It's no surprise that neither character is exactly who he or she seems, and when Page first reveals her hidden side, she also reveals talent far beyond her 18 years. But then there's another twist and another, and pretty soon the whole thing starts to feel silly. -- Harper

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Latest in DVDish

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Casablanca 80th Anniversary Presented By TCM (Film)

    • Sun., Jan. 23 and Wed., Jan. 26
  • 19th Annual Standing Rock International Shorts Festival @ The Kent Stage

    • Sat., March 5
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show @ Cedar Lee Theatre

    • First Saturday of every month

© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation