Monday, October 18, 2010

Mom Always Liked You Best 2


Warning: Chances of Spoilers are Likely, Read at Your Own Risk

On the surface, both of these films are about addiction.  Both main characters Mark Renton (Trainspotting) and Harry Goldfarb (Requiem) are heroin addicts.  If you dig deeper into both movies, they are both about trying to improve your lot in life.  How does that work for the people involved?  Some better than others.  Let's explore...


Both movies were made for under $5 million dollars.  Tiny budgets, even for a drama.  They both were made independently.  In a nutshell, they didn't have huge corporate movie companies paying for everything.  Which is both good and bad.  Bad, for the obvious, very little money to make your vision.  It is good however for the director.  Most of the time, they don't have "big brother" watching over them and telling them, what they can and can't do.

Speaking of directors, both movies had guys making their second official films for the big screen.  Danny Boyle for Trainspotting, has gone onto make 28 Days Later... and Slumdog MillionaireDarren Aronofsky for Requiem, has gone onto make The Fountain and The Wrestler.  The first time the general public stood up and took notice of their talents.

These movies were critically acclaimed.  Ellen Burstyn was nominated (lost to Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich) for an Oscar as Sara Goldfarb, Harry's mother.  The screenplay for Trainspotting was nominated (lost to Sling Blade)for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Both of these movies were novels before making it to the big screen.

There are other similarities, but again, I try not to give too much away for those people that live in a box and haven't seen these movies quite yet.


Hard to overlook this fact.  Trainspotting was a box office hit and Requiem, wasn't.  Danny Boyle's first hit made roughly 5 times it's budget (budget=3.5 million, gross=16.5 million).  Pretty good return on your investment.  Darren Aronofsky had to wait for DVD sales for his movie to become a cult hit.

The casts of these films are both very talented, but the Trainspotting cast had breakout stars.  From Ewan McGregor right away to a little later with Kevin McKidd and pretty much everyone in between had huge career boosts.  For Requiem, the aforementioned Burstyn was already an Oscar winner.  Jared Leto is too busy trying to be a rock star.  This was Jennifer Connelly's first major adult role, IMO.  She's not just "eye candy," she proves she can really act and has done some good movies since.  Now for the scene stealer supreme, Marlon Wayans.  No, really...I'm serious  He's very good in this film and I've always wished he'd do more drama.  He's currently making the Richard Pryor biopic, which could be a star making performance.  Although, portrayals of real people, especially famous ones, are very difficult.  I'm hoping he pulls it off.

How does it all end?  Both films are fantastic, but one is more realistic than the other.  I believe Requiem to be the more realistic film.  People fall victim to their own personal demons everyday and nowhere does it say life has to have a happy ending.  Now, while it's true that not everyone in Trainspotting has a good time in the end.  Our main man Renton, makes it out alive and is much better off than his beginning.  Sure this could happen, but I think the odds are against it.

It's no surprise to me that both films are in the top 200 most popular/best movies on IMDB.  If you haven't seen these movies, please do yourself a favor and watch them.  Maybe not on the same day, both can be pretty graphic at times.  Still watch them and form your own opinion.  It will be worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Still haven't gotten around to Trainspotting, but you hit everything right about Requiem. I'll second the Marlon Wayans comment too. Hopefully he can pull off a performance similar to Jamie Foxx's Ray. Two things you didn't mention (or don't agree with)... Mrs. Goldfarb's decline was probably 50% more disturbing than Harry's, and this may actually be Aronofsky's worst film. That is saying something.

    Nicely done again.