Until the day you die, you, not me, will always be shit.
A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * · · · · ) DVD Rating: ( * · · · · )
In Stephen King's Wizard and Glass, there is a pink globe that lets observers see random acts of perversion and violence. The witch Rhea watches as a well-to-do housewife waits for her children to leave and then licks the corners of her kitchen as penance for some unknown sin. Watching Happiness, I felt like I was looking into the witch's glass. Happiness is a movie that focuses on the random perversion of its characters. There is no plot or central story and there is very little to like. Happiness may be the most perverse movie I've ever seen and just the last five minutes alone made me uncomfortable for simply having consciousness.
I rented Happiness because I've been on a Philip Seymore Hoffman kick. I watched Owning Mahoney and loved it. I was a fan of Hoffman since he played the sexually confused Scotty in Boogie Nights. He is an actor that acts. He takes roles of flawed characters, something rare in our Hollywood Tom Cruise / Jonny Depp picture perfect characters. Like Robert DeNiro in Jackie Brown and Taxi Driver, Hoffman doesn't shy away from the character's flaws. All of this, however, does not excuse Happiness.
People should be able to make any movie they want. They can have any story line or perverted character they want as long as they are not actually committing a crime on screen. In no way am I saying that a movie like Happiness shouldn't be made. If some guy wants to make it, great. That doesn't mean its at all a good movie. I am no prude, but I don't need to see a guy jerk off and use it to hang letters on his wall. I don't need to listen to a father telling his son how to masturbate. Its not an interesting story and it doesn't teach me something I really wanted to know. Many of the characters are so depraved that even their fine acting job pales under the glow of such depressive dysfunction.
There is no story to the movie. Things happen and characters progress but the movie could have ended in the middle and no one would even realize it. There is little conclusion except for what may equate to the worst five minutes of cinema I've ever seen. It wasn't funny and I don't think it was intended to be which makes it all the worse. Why do I need to see THAT! No, I won't go into further detail.
The DVD of Happiness is the worst I've seen in years. It was the first non-anamorphic transfer I have seen in a long time and while improved picture and sound wouldn't have made this piece of rotten meat left in the refrigerator over a two week holiday any better, it wouldn't have hurt. I really did want a director's commentary. I wanted to know what kind of sick mind would delve into this sort of pedophilia. None was to be found and there were no extra features. Strictly technically speaking, it is a DVD that never should have been.
Happiness was two hours and fifteen minutes of a movie that made me wish my flu would come back. It was a sick, twisted movie without any story and a magnifying glass on the rotten white underbellies of some of the strangest people you may ever seen in a film. Give it a miss and you won't be missing a thing.