Monday, May 24, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So? Love Ranch

We've been ignoring trailers, so we might play catch up this week. Today's future enticement is the 70s brothel drama Love Ranch. Let's map out what makes us want to see it... and not.

If you'd rather not know the entire story, I'd advise you not to watch this particular trailer and just reading the less revealing text.



Most marketing teams don't realize (or perhaps have statistical evidence to the unfortunate contrary) that a well told concept, plot hook and name actors should be enough to hook your target audience. Why do they always think a point by point three act summary is best?

Do we want to see it?

YES.


The cinema has always had a preoccupation with prostitutes; Movie makers see the kinship between show & 'ho business' as well they should. Despite this infamous love affair, the brothel setting is underused. [This is completely tangential, but wouldn't a fictional brothel series be fascinating in the hands of the right HBO or Showtime creative team? There's more than enough TV shows about cops, lawyers and doctors so why not try some other drama-magnet workplaces! Those aren't the only three places where drama is a given.] Anyway, from the looks of the trailer the art direction (Bruno Rubeo and team), costumes (Melissa Bruning) and overall setting should provide moments of interest even setting aside the unknown quality of the script, directing and acting.

Plus there are the girls they're selling which include Bai Ling, Taryn Manning & Gina Gershon. Taylor Hackford and his casting team definitely weren't afraid of scene stealers when they went to work. Or maybe they knew that with Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci leading, scene stealing is a far less likely outcome than scene tug-of-wars.

NO.

The movies love boxers almost as much as hookers. Perhaps filmmakers see a kinship between show & body-blow business? But do we need both in the same movie? Love Ranch could be two full hours of clichéd story beats since we've got entrepreneurs, whores and boxers all battling it out for screen time and narrative arcs in the same movie. Those are three of the movies most familiar types right there. Explosive clichés are probably buried everywhere in that Nevada sand like so many film-derailing landmines.

MAYBE SO.

The casting intrigues. Helen Mirren is always worth a look (though "accent" work is always hard to adjust to in the time span of a trailer) and perhaps her chemistry with Joe Pesci will be odd couple fascinating? But I worry. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of Joe Pesci. He strikes me as an... um... excessive actor and I have a much easier time with 'over the top' when the performer taking me there has a vagina. It's just how I'm wired.

When it comes to Love Ranch are you a Yes, a No or a Maybe So?
And does 'maybe so' mean "wait for reviews" or "I'll watch it on DVD" for you?

31 comments:

Hayden said...

There's nothing like Gena Gershon playing women of ill repute. I'm already sold.

troyhopper said...

Is the black boxer Morris Chestnut? I know it's not the best possible picture, but it looks a lot like him.

adam k. said...

I'm a maybe-so, leaning toward no. I was pretty excited for this, but the trailer has not helped.

I can't get over Helen Mirren's "accent", and this is from someone who was totally looking forward to hearing her have a go at it. I guess maybe I was expecting more southern, forgetting that this is about Nevada, but whatever Mirren is doing with her voice isn't working.

I love her, but she seems to be having the same issue Reese Witherspoon faced with Vanity Fair (except in reverse). In my eyes, Mirren just can't quite shake "British". Just as Witherspoon can never quite shake "Southern".

And after Revolutionary Road, I've soured on the whole concept of director/actor collaborations between spouses. From watching this, I feel like Hackford refused to criticize anything his wife did, or to attempt to shape the performance in any way that might entail creatively stepping on her toes. I just feel like she's gonna disappoint in this one, and the collaboration aspect will just make it doubly sad.

Marsha Mason said...

I'm thinking no, unfortunately. As fun as seeing Mirren play a saw-see brawd might be, it looks like she's doing a Joe Pesci impersonation. Hard to imagine this actually being good.

James T said...

Sex scenes with Dame Helen and a boxer? I'm a YES.

But seriously, (actually, more seriously) I find it interesting.

adam k. said...

Jams T. if I thought those sex scenes would turn out to be anything but middlebrow and milquetoast, I'd be right there with you.

frederick_wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hayden said...

My issue is that in some of those shots, Mirren looks like she just stepped off the red carpet, as herself, in 2010. The lighting, make-up, and wardrobe are all too modern and flattering for this role.

Hayden said...

And then there's that moment where she's like, "I'm so old and unattractive--why would you want me?" I don't believe for a second that Mirren, her acting partner, Taylor Hackford, or anyone in the known world believes there's an ounce of truth in those words. Especially since we're then treated to Mirren's rocking body, dripping in nothing but diamonds in some love scene.

Jose said...

I'm a sucker for stories about hos. Nat, you should check out this Australian show called "Satisfaction", its combination of intrigue, melodrama, crazy customers, camp and actress relishing might just be right up your alley.
Also this is a yes for me, I hate Hackford's work but Mirren drags me to anything.

Clarence said...

I'm a Yes for Helen Mirren and the whole storyline of whores and boxers. I'm a maybe for Joe Pesci. Somehow, I only ever see him or imagine him as a character supporting actor.

I have an honest question:
Did you just classify Bai Ling as a "scene-stealer"? It's an honest non-condescending question. I seriously do not understand why she's famous (or infamous?) for. Like what movie was she in? The only reason I know her is due to the fact she's always in some worst-dressed list.

Andrew R. said...

"Maybe so" means wait for reviews. Unless it gets raves, no.

As for Pesci...other than Goodfellas and My Cousin Vinny, what has he done?

Jae Ly said...

Clarence, Bai Ling was quite good in "Red Corner".

Hal said...

HBO sort of already has their brothel series with "Cathouse," though it's "real" (I don't believe for a second that most of what they show there isn't staged -- there's been quite a few know porn stars posing in the episodes as johns, for example). But there could be gold with a fictional series though. "Brothel Love." Ha.

Christine said...

I am firmly in the yes camp, if only because I was living in Reno when this was being filmed and a friend of mine has a cameo.

jimmy said...

i would have much preferred angelica houston....

Hayden said...

I'd prefer Julie Christie! She has a monopoly in my heart on the position of "Wild West Madame" among other things.

vg21 said...

Surely yes as I'll watch anything that stars Helen Mirren. I won't wait for reviews, I would rather see it for myself:).

Corey M said...

I'm a definite yes. I like seeing Helen in modern roles. {Cate & Kate, please take note}

Alex said...

That Anjelica Huston suggestion is just killing me. A sort of "The Grifters" meets "Prizzi's Honor" with a dash of "The Royal Tenenbaums" thrown in. Oh that would've been soooo good.

I've always been a yes since I heard about the project, and the trailer doesn't really change that for me. I love Mirren and Pesci (happy to see he's working), but I agree that she seems a littler over-glammed for the role.

Glenn said...

Bai Ling and Gina Gershon sharing the screen is probably going to be too much awesome to pass up.

I had the same issues about the boxing and Mirren's accent though.

And, yes, Satisfaction is an Aussie TV series set in an upper-class brothel.

Lucky said...

I'm a YES.

I don't think it'll work, really, but I want to see it anyways. It looks fun, kind of light, and Mirren is always watchable, even with that accent.

principessa1121 said...

There are a few unconditionals for me in cinema, and if Helen Mirren stars as a lead in any film, it's definitely one of those, therefore, it's a yes. The subject is also interesting, so I suppose the reviews won't change anything for me (and I might not read them before I go and see the film, anyway :)).

Volvagia said...

GoodFellas? Really? Great movie, but not his best performance. I'd actually go with Casino. The Nicky character is such a big piece of dark comedy we probably didn't even need Jane Austen's Mafia. (Raging Bull is his second place. Yes, that means I think his top two roles are probably his most sceneary chewing one and his least sceneary chewing one.)

NATHANIEL R said...

People are all over the place on this one. As am I I guess.

about the accent work though. I really firmly believe it's hard to know if someone is doing good work there within the space of a trailer. i think if you're familiar with an actor's voice. you always need more than one minute if they're doing something different with it to adjust.

Bill_the_Bear said...

My first thought was "Well, it looks a bit better than 'Secretariat,' which isn't saying much."

I probably will see it, despite the fact that it's about hookers and boxers, neither of which particularly interests me.

I won't be going into it with much expectation, though.

Lenny said...

YES

This looks camptastic, and the Joe Pesci/Helen Mirren pairing is too good to pass up. I really hope that Bai Ling and Gina Gershon camp it up "Showgirls"-style and make this a fun night at the movies.

But this is the film that Joe Pesci comes out of retirement for? And his face. Sad. But I'll check it out anyway even if the reviews are bad. Nothing's getting me from missing "Sex and the City 2" on opening night either. Can't wait!

Traviv said...

I'm a definite yes. Story looks intriguing, but the real hook for me is Mirren. She's an addictive drug form me.

Runs Like A Gay said...

Definite yes.

Helen Mirren could read the phone book - in monotone - and I'd buy a ticket.

NATHANIEL R said...

Lenny -- i'm hoping for a lot of high camp Gershon too. When Gershon is on she is something to behold... so crossing fingers.

Traviv -- you and many others i think ;)

Anonymous said...

Bai ling playing a whore? dawg that's original!