Masked and Anonymous
**.7 GM
Starring: Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz, Christian Slater, Chris Penn, Luke Wilson, A Cast of Thousands


CriminyPete Awards

Good Movie Archive

Bad Movie Archive

The eGroup

Message Board


SUNDANCE REVIEW (which means I'm doing a lot of reviews in a hurry, so they might be shorter and less fantastical):

So, it was time for the superfly big-fuckin'-deal debut of the new Bob Dylan film "Masked and Anonymous," and I snaggled my way in there. Um. I don't really know quite what I saw, but it seemed like a surreal and bleak take on contemporary America. It was a bit off-putting and not entirely sensible, but I keep trying to come up with reasons to like it. Some bloke in the crowd described it as being like a Bob Dylan song - doesn't make sense at first, but will with repeated exposure. It was described as a "work in progress" by director Larry Charles, though, so we'll see what happens with this one. I should be more familiar with Dylan than I am. This is evidenced by the fact that I've had the one line I know from "Like A Rollin' Stone" stuck in my head all day now. "How does it FEEEEEEL....." And what with Jack Black in "High Fidelity" pitching a fit about how much of a crime it is not to own "Blonde on Blonde"... man, I'm ashamed of myself. Oh, and apparently we're not supposed to know that Dylan himself wrote this film.

Anyway, Bob Dylan is Jack Fate, an iconic troubador that's been locked up for a long time for reasons I'm not quite clear on. However, when sleazebags Goodman and Lange need to put on a sleazy charity concert for cash flow purposes, the only guy they can get is Jack Fate, so they spring him. Oh, and this isn't the real world. It's some sort of weird parallel America where paintings of a Big Brother/Saddam Hussein-lookin' President are all over the place and the world seems to suck a lot. Jeff Bridges is a reporter of some sort hired to grill Jack Fate for some reason. And he's dating Penelope Cruz. God, I dunno. It's all a muddled blur. What I remember mostly is Jack Fate sitting around, not having a facial expression and spouting off folksy one-liners and nuggets of wisdom while people try to manipulate him this way and that.

One thing I did like is that whenever Bridges gets a chance to talk to Jack Fate, he's constantly grilling him about the old 60s icons that Dylan was a part of - Joplin, Hendrix, what have you. What were they about, what did they really mean, what can we take from them today? Maybe that's a little catharsis for Dylan, as I'm sure he's asked questions about those guys anytime any schmuck talks to him, and it also seems like a really damn good question. Aside from lionizing them as rock gods, what can we take from these icons in this bleak new world we're facing here? How are the music heroes of yore going to deal with the advance of time, the changing of the intellectual climate and the threat of global oppression?

Or something like that. It's all very confusing and, shall we say, "open to interpretation." It's a hard film to get into and an even harder film to like, but I can't dismiss a movie featuring John Goodman out of hand, even if it might be a pretense festival.

Back to CriminyPete.Com Knee Jerk Spoilers