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A Wonderfully Eccentric RomCom
Oct 5, 2005
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Cast, script, surreality, music, humour, pretty much everything really.
Cons:Nothing I can think of.
The Bottom Line: One of the best, and nicest, romantic comedies ever to hit the silver screen.
Benny & Joon is a very sweet romantic comedy starring not only the brilliant and famous Johnny Depp but also the supremely talented though far less well-known actress Mary Stuart Masterson. Add in Aidan Quinn and Juliette Moore, throw in William H Macey and Oliver Platt for good measure, and you have a cast well able to handle a surprising but excellent script that results in one of the most pleasing films ever made.
Recommend this product?
Benny (Quinn) is havng a bit of a mid-life crisis. His sister Joon (Masterson) is afflicted by some kind of mental problem and his whole life is basically devoted to caring for her. (Both of there parents are dead.) He's supposed to be finding out about a Care Home for her to go to but won't let go. It's not having a good effect on his life.
Ruthie: Be serious. Benny: I am. Ruthie: Really? Benny: I'm always serious. I'm too serious.
For her part, Joon goes through housekeepers very quickly...
Joon: She was given to fits of semi-precious metaphors.
Benny: She's a housekeeper, Joon, not an English professor.
Then one day she plays poker
and ends up winning something she hadnt expected
Benny: You can't bet a human being!
Joon: You can't throw him out, I won him!
Enter Sam (Depp) not all that sane himself:
Sam: I'm Sam.
Benny: So I hear... I'm Benny.
Sam: With an 'n'?
Benny: Yea two of 'em... this is Joon.
Sam: With an 'n'?
Joon: One... You're out of your tree.
Sam: It's... not my tree
and partial to imitating Buster Keaton:
Joon: Did you have to go to school for that?
Sam: No, no, I got thrown out of school for that.
Soon Sam and Joon find they have something in common:
Sam: You don't like raisins?
Joon: Not really.
Joon: They used to be fat and juicy and now they're twisted. They had their lives stolen. Well, they taste sweet, but really they're just humiliated grapes. I can't say I am a big supporter of the raisin council.
Sam: Did you see those, those raisins on TV? The ones that sing and dance and stuff?
Joon: They scare me.
Sam: Yeah me too
Joon: It's sick. The commercial people they make them sing and dance so people will eat them.
Sam: It's a shame about raisins.
Sam: Yeah. Do you like avocados?
Joon: They're a fruit you know.
Sam: Ruthie, do you got any avocados?
and Sam has a very pragmatic viewpoint about Joons condition:
Sam: How sick is she?
Benny: Oh, she's plenty sick.
Sam: Oh. Because you know, it seems to me that, aside from being a little mentally ill, she's pretty normal.
In between all of this, Benny is becoming romantically attached to local waitress and former actress Ruthie (Moore) but because of looking after Joon, he doesnt really have time for a relationship. The burgeoning relationship between Joon and Sam is also beginning to cause him sleepless nights, though he does start to soften in his attitude to Sam and has big plans for him. Then all hell breaks loose
Quinn handles the loving but rather over-protective role of Benny superbly, with the eccentric performances of Depp and Masterson it would be easy to overlook him but he acts as the perfect foil for their antics. His slightly smothering nature is understandable given what hes been through in life. Depp and Masterson are absolutely superb, and although originally first choices, I dont think anyone could possibly have filled their roles better. (And apparently Depp did all his own stuntwork in the scene in the park where he does an entire Burster Keaton sketch.) There are moments of pure comedy that reduce you to moments of helpless laughter, such as Depp performing a dancing bread rolls routine (apparently taken from Charlie Chaplins The Gold Rush of 1925) and his mimicking of Ruthies death scene from her best-known (or only?) film have to be seen to be believed. Moore is effective and (I take back my comment about her from an earlier review
) looks quite stunning. Again her normality is a perfect foil for the more eccentric characters. Oh yeah, and Sam is a very god cook
but his methodology is somewhat different (cheese sandwiches via ion press and mashed potato with the help of a tennis racket!!)
Joon: He can really cook, can't he?
Benny: Yeah, although for grilled cheese, I might use the wool setting.
Joon: That's what I told him.
Benny: Really? What did he use?
Joon: Rayon. Silk would have been too soggy. Cotton would have...
Benny: Would have burned it.
Joon: Right. Fortunately, he consulted me before giving it steam. I was four square against it.
Joon: Some cultures are defined by their relationship to cheese.
Its not just funny with a good cast though, this movie has everything. Despite the humour it deals with serious issues with sensitivity, it has a brilliant soundtrack (apparently I Will Walk 500 Miles by the Proclaimers was included at Mastersons request), and it really leaves you feeling very cheerful indeed. In a word, wonderful.
So wonderful, in fact, that I have now included it in my Top Ten Romantic Comedies of All Time list.
This was an entry to Dbcints Quotes that make the movie 2005 Write Off.
Johnny Depp also starred in Pirates of the Caribbean
Julianne Moore also starred in Laws of Attraction (read this to see what I mean about taking back my comment about Julianne Moore!)
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: 12 (UK), PG (USA)
Benny & Joon was nominated for a Golden Globe (Johnny Depp Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy / Musical) and a further 3 nominations in the MTV Movie Awards (Johnny Depp again, the Proclaimers for Best Song in a Motion Picture, and Johnny Depp / Mary Stuart Masterson for Best On-Screen Duo.)
(For the record, the winners of those awards were Robin Williams for Mrs Doubtfire, Michael Jackson for Will You Be There in Free Willy, Robin Williams again, and Harrison Ford / Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive.)
Sam takes the "Help Wanted" sign from the window of a video store and walks to manager.
He looks at the manager and says: I wanna help...
(I just thought that summed up the whole atmosphere of this surreal and wonderful film!)
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