There is a part of me that wishes I had more Canadian content for my Canada Day posting for 2019. I should have held back Maudie, but I wasn’t looking that far ahead at that point.
This week I re-visited an old friend, and a movie I hadn’t seen in a very long time. I am at the point where I want to re-visit movies that I enjoyed in my youth, and yet ones I haven’r reviewed in this blog now or in recent past. Sid & Nancy fits the bill nicely as a film I saw as a teenager and it stars a very young Gary Oldman as the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious. It also stars Chloe Webb, who has played other supporting roles but this was her moment to shine. Gary Oldman is another method actor (like a Christian Bale, Robert De Niro or Daniel Day Lewis) where he embodies the roles that he takes on. He finally was given Oscar recognition for his role in Darkest Hour as Churchill, but the foundations for his skills are seen in an earlier role like this. Having said that, his Sid Vicious is a fairly quiet guy unless he is drugged out or on stage. He meets and has the enabling relationship with Nancy, who initially rips him off and leaves him hanging, but later reconnects with him and introduces him to the world of heroin. Oldman apparently at first didn’t want the role, but eventually bought in and went full out. He lost so much weight he was hospitalized for malnutrition. Nancy is a druggie, groupie, an American living in Europe basically day to day. She has massive mood swings and can push Sid to work and get things done, but the next moment drain him of any energy by railing on him and lashing out. It’s a textbook toxic relationship. They enable each other and their addictions. The viewer can see how she impacts him and directs his actions and attitudes. Think Yoko with John Lennon, but on a way more destructive scale. And the fact that Sid had a modicum of the talent that John Lennon did. This movie is a lot closer to Trainspotting than it is to Imagine. The Sex Pistols were the anti-establishment band that came around at the right time for Britain and its youth (late 1970 and early 80s). They music with an edge in the trailing days of disco and more middle of the road popular music. They found a voice and an audience. The structure of this film is setting near the end and then going back to the backstory on the first meeting of Nancy. Other more recent movies on the allure of drugs, like Ben is Back and Beautiful Boy, show what the user perspective is. This also shows how tragic it can be being in a cycle of dependency. If you like music and its history this can be a stop, but really it is more about seeing one of the great and versatile current actors of today (Oldman) seeing where he was as a younger man. This is the best performance of Chloe Webb’s career and worth seeing.
I also watched on Netflix, The Catcher Was A Spy. The interest was sparked with it being a WWII piece where the OSS (precursor to the US CIA) is looking to prevent a rumoured atomic bomb program by the Nazis. The solution is to track down the Head of the Program (played by Mark Stone, as Werner Heisenberg). Based on a true story, the US decides on utilizing the skills of an average major league catcher, and scholar, Moe Berg played by Paul Rudd. I have admit that I am not a huge Paul Rudd fan. He can play a role in This Is 40, and other more cheesey comedies with guys like Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill, and maybe Ant Man (not seen by me) but not a more dramatic role. This role didn’t convince me otherwise. This movie has an impressive supporting cast too. Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti, Guy Peirce, Connie Nielson, Jeff Daniels are all good and not given enough to do. The end I have to admit was disappointing despite what the credits go to to show as history. We all have seen enough Mission Impossible and Bourne movies to know what happens things don’t go as expected. Anyway, my reaction at the end of it all was that this impressive cast just didn’t have enough to do, and the espionage story was more compelling and interesting than the tangents, like the baseball story and playing stickball at the front. So I can’t recommend this.