Underground Film Journal

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Movie Review: Signs and Wonders

Coming out of SIGNS & WONDERS, there was a blue-collarish kinda guy in the lobby of the Quad Theater in NYC, pointing to the poster for the film REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and talking out loud to anybody who would listen to him saying how much he loved the flick.

It’s been almost a week since this happened when I started writing this review, so I’ve forgotten exactly what the guy was saying, which is a shame because he was quite funny expressing his love for the film. Not funny in a doltish kind of way, but funny in a cute way because from his speech pattern he didn’t seem like the kind of guy who would see a movie like REQUIEM much less even go to the Quad, an art house theater that shows mostly obscure movies. He sounded like he’d be more comfortable extolling the virtues of DIE HARD 8, than a disturbingly intense film about drug addiction. But I was very glad to hear such an honest, from-the-gut reaction to REQUIEM because it is a great movie.

However, as this blue-collar guy was waxing poetic about this great film, a woman pointed at the poster for SIGNS & WONDERS and said, “Whatever you do, don’t go see that. That had to be the worst movie I’ve ever seen.” Unlike with the blue-collar guy, I remember distinctly this woman’s comment, mostly because I was shocked since I happened to enjoy the movie so much.

It’s a pretty standard story. An American businessman works in Greece and, while apparently has a very happy family life, has an affair with a pretty co-worker, which he eventually confesses to his wife. That’s the set-up and after this point I don’t want to reveal any more of the film. Because, as I said, while it’s a fairly standard story, the plot unfolds like a dream and scenes cut from one to another across great expanses of time and emotion. I thought, for the most part, it was an ingeniously crafted film, and if I have any complaints at all it’s that part of the ending is a letdown, that after such a wonderfully intriguing build-up, the film meanders through a drawn-out conclusion. Regardless, it’s a cool flick and I recommend it, but be forewarned, you might think it was the worst piece of shit you’ve ever seen.

I didn’t feel like debating the movie with the woman who hated it, though. I could probably figure out what she didn’t like about it without asking her. I’d assume she hated it for all the exact reasons I loved it. But the raving REQUIEM guy noticed me looking at him as I watched him converse with the woman. So, after she left he turned his attention to me. I told him, “Don’t listen to what she said, SIGNS & WONDERS was really good.”

A couple other people in the lobby snickered at what I said. I don’t know why, but they did. After I made my comment, the REQUIEM guy replied, pointing at the poster for his film again, “But did you see this? This was an awesome movie” (or something along those lines). I told him I thought it was a brutal, brilliant film. He agreed. I then tried to say something again about SIGNS & WONDERS, but he obviously wasn’t interested. He just wanted to talk about his movie, which is I think one of the main reasons why I don’t like talking to people and keep to myself most of the time.

Here’s some Underground Film Journal “Words of Wisdom”: When somebody is talking, pay attention like you care what they are saying, whether you actually do or not. It’s polite. It doesn’t take too much energy. It makes the person speaking feel good and, believe it or not, it’ll make you feel good, too.

It seems to me that most people just want to pontificate. An example is when last year I was upgrading my computer so I could edit video on it, I’d start telling certain friends about it, but almost as soon as I said the word “computer” they’d launch into a story about their own recent computer buying experiences. Not that I mind hearing their stories, but I wish they would have let me finish mine first.

But it also happens with strangers or people I don’t really know that well. And it’s not just me because I’m a boring twit. People start looking in the other direction or cut me off before they can learn that I’m a boring twit. I’m not particularly perturbed with the REQUIEM guy. That was just an innocuous encounter. But it’s just odd when someone starts a conversation and then starts looking around after 2 seconds and acts obviously completely uninterested in what I have to say. However, I do tend to draw wackos to me like some sort of lunatic magnet, so maybe it is just me who ends up talking to all the nuts on the planet who have the attention span of a flea.

On the Underground Film Journal, I normally try to frame the subjects of my little essays in the forms of questions because I am definitely not the guy with all of the answers. However, today I do feel like dispensing this advice. So, the next time you are talking with someone and you feel a thought popping into your head that starts with the word “My” or “I” or some other singular possessive, suppress that thought and don’t let it out until your partner has spoken his peace.

Thank you and good day.