A new post; a funny funeral

Yes, I’m actually posting something. Finally.

I see my last post was in November. That is a long gap between writings. As I posted yesterday on my blog, “I’ve been a very bad blogger lately. But lifestyle changes can have that effect. Between having a house (as opposed to an apartment or condo), and a dog (as opposed to a cat), and a new location (New Brunswick) and new friends …”

I then proceeded to whine about not having time. But it has been true. There just doesn’t seem to be time anymore. A house requires a lot more attending than an apartment or condo, if only because they tend to be bigger and have yards and driveways. And with this winter … Good grief! All I seem to do is shovel snow. It’s been an astonishing winter. Completely unlike last year.

Then there’s the dog. Unlike a cat, dogs require more work, as any dog owner will tell you. Feeding, walking and picking up dog turds. And so on.

Then end result of it all is less time. Not just for blog posting but also for watching movies. I have a passle of DVDs that have been sitting on the shelf waiting for me to get to them: Lust, Caution, and American Gangster and The Prodigal, The Colossus of Rhodes, Tokyo Story, and on and on.

Death at a Funeral

I did, however, see a movie a day or two ago: the Frank Oz directed Death at a Funeral. Simply put, I laughed. Out loud. And being as it was a comedy, that’s a good thing.

It’s a British farce, slapstick comedy about a somber occasion (a funeral) that goes all wrong – yet, in the end, kind of turns out right.

The movie starts slowly, even quietly, and the initial jokes are a bit obvious, but as the film introduces more and more of its characters, and once one of the key comedic elements is in place, it gathers steam and builds to a wild, antic, chaotic crescendo that is just plain funny.

As I think about it, I think many, if not most, of the jokes are obvious. Normally, in most films, this would not be good. But in this case, with this type of movie, the jokes do work, predictable as they are, because the artistry is in how skillfully they are done. They become funny, even when expected, because of the skill with which they are set up and then executed. And I think this is where Frank Oz excels in Death at a Funeral, as does the movie’s editor, Beverley Mills.

This kind of movie may not be for everyone. In fact, comedy in particular is a hard thing to do well, pleasing all. But if antic farce, with a British tone to it, is something you enjoy (as I do), I think you’ll enjoy Death at a Funeral.

I also think there are probably many things wrong with the film, many things that might have been better, but in the end, I found it funny. It made me laugh and ultimately, that’s what comedies are meant to do. This movie isn’t trying to be Lawrence of Arabia. It just wants to be funny and, for me, it succeeds wonderfully.

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