Jeff & Sara's Top Ten 2013: Number 2

Posted 1:31 PM January 14th, 2014 by Binh Ngo
Enough Said

We are almost to the finish line in Jeff and Sara's top ten movies of 2013 at number 2. Here, they have This is Martin Bonner and Enough Said.

This is Martin Bonner is a drama written and directed by Chad Hartigan and stars Paul Eenhoorn as the title character who moves to Nevada from the East Coast to start a new job working with prisoners. There, he forms a friendship with an ex-con played by Richmond Arquette.

Directed by Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a divorced, single parent who enjoys her work as a masseuse. When she meets Albert, played by the late James Gandolfini, sparks fly between them, but upon hearing his ex-wife constantly speak poorly of him, she begins to doubt this budding relationship.

This is Martin Bonner is one of the best-reviewed movies of 2013 with a Tomatometer of 93%, but if anyone saw the movie, it'll be at a film festival or on VOD because it had a very limited release.

Enough Said is also one of the best-reviewed movies of 2013 with a Tomatometer of 96%. It did all right at the box office with a total of $22M, which is decent for a movie in limited release.

Here are the trailers:
This is Martin Bonner

Enough Said

Binh: Jeff, This is Martin Bonner is your second best movie of 2013. This must be one heck of a story.

Jeff: You know, on paper, This Is Martin Bonner really doesn't have a heck of a story. It's quiet, there isn't a ton of dialogue, and even the movie's big conflict doesn't amount to much. If you watched it and came away bored, I'd understand. But on the other hand, it's also a really sensitively directed film, and one that's been blessed with a pair of tremendous performances from two actors who do more work with glances than most stars ever accomplish with monologues. In its extremely subtle way, I think the movie has a lot to say about the cruel way life can winnow down one's opportunities, and how something as simple as hanging onto dignity can become what seems like an impossible choice. It's a film that doesn't ask for your love, but it really resonated with me. Maybe that's why it resonated with me.

Binh: Sara, Enough Said is something of a rom-com with middle-aged people, isn't it? Why is it placed so high on your list? It's not the Gandolfini effect, correct?

Sara: I haven't always jived with Nicole Holofcener. She's got a slight way about her that isn't for everyone's tastes but ENOUGH SAID hit my sweet spot. If you had a chance to hear about your prospective lover's failures--how could you resist that? Who isn't scared in a new romance and who wouldn't want to prevent pain? And the way the film deals with what it calls "middle aged sexiness" is really affecting. It throws into relief the countless pictures that easily and fatuously turn barely-legal bodies into objects of worship. Screw them; life gets better later. Gandolfini is wonderful, and I hope it's not disrespectful to say I wasn't the biggest fan before Enough Said, but if he couldn't have been in a more honorable, wonderful, meaningful last picture if he'd known he was choosing it.

Binh: Jeff, you teared up at one of the scenes, didn't you? Which one is it? :P

Jeff: I might have teared up! I don't remember. But I do remember watching the first scene in which Martin (played to perfection by Paul Eenhorn) leaves a message for his son. He doesn't say a lot, but it's all written on Eenhorn's face -- the distance between them, the way Martin desperately wishes he could erase it, and the way he's fumbling for the right words when there might not even be any to say. It's slightly devastating.

Binh: Sara, tell us about the scene that made Enough Said your second best movie of 2013.

Sara: I argued miserably with friends over one of the opening moments. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a masseuse carrying a heavy massage table up a long, stone staircase while her client, a man, stands in his robe drinking coffee. Watching her. It feels like a litmus to see if you'll get the movie. Either you don't see the joke or your perplexed by the dynamics. Should we think her client sucks and is wholly without chivalry? Is the point that we shouldn't expect anything or that it's funny to expect at all? And who's bothered here? Is it us or the character? We won't learn she's bothered by the (recurrent) event until later but if we didn't even think about the situation we're likely to miss any other pleasures the movie has to offer. More importantly it sets us up to ask what we already think about the world and how flexible that is: are we going down the tubes because the gentlemen are gone or we're insufficiently self reliant? Everyone's so selfish--like that lady who lied to her boyfriend about interrogating his ex about him.

Binh: The countdown is almost over so I have to work in John Hughes in here somehow. How would the movies be different if Hughes had directed them?

Jeff: I'd actually kind of like to see what Hughes might have done with the Martin Bonner script. The soundtrack would be terrific, of course, and I'm guessing he would have pumped up the dramatic stakes, as well as drawing out the redemption arc that closes the movie. It would have been a much more obvious film, but I think it still might have worked.

Sara: The spirit of John Hughes is in this movie and if he'd directed it I imagine it would have been his Vicky Christina Barcelona: a change of genre, a fork in his well traveled path, and one of the best things he ever did.

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