Thursday, January 15, 2009

Defending Your Life

Albert Brooks, 1991 (8.6*)
I’ve always liked Albert Brooks (whose real name is Albert Einstein!) and his understated humor; as an actor he can sometimes grate on you, but his screenplays can sometimes be both touching and funny, like this one (and The Muse). It’s the afterlife, everyone arrives in Judgment City, and an insecure Brooks must defend his life in a courtroom, with Rip Torn as his grouchy attorney, and it doesn’t seem to be going so smoothly, as you have to prove you had conquered fear. The prosecution selects from 3 to 7 days of your life to illustrate that you haven't. Meanwhile, he meets Meryl Streep, happy and pretty even after death, and she seems to be having a much easier time defending herself, which adds to Brooks’ insecurity. This is both a comedy and a romance, a very unique look at the afterlife, and a small gem of a fantasy.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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