Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Movie: Choke

Thanks to my cousin, Mitch, passing along the info I was able to attend an advanced screening of the movie, Choke. Nice to know that even outside of Los Angeles, I can still see advanced screenings. Even if it means seeing them alone (*sniff*)....(that was hint to move out here).

Choke is based off of a novel by one of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk. I discovered him after watching, Fight Club. Book-wise, Fight Club and Choke are my least favorite. Not to say they are bad, but just not on the same level as the rest of his work. However, Fight Club is in my top 2 favorite movies of all time (fighting with Godfather for who gets to be number 1). I think the movie cleaned up some of the issues that the book had, but that is to be expected since Fight Club was his first book.

The premise of Choke is according to "Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) is a medical-school dropout who has devised an ingenious scam to pay elder care for his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother(Angelica Houston): he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be "saved" by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor's life, go on to send checks to support him. When he's not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park. When, in a rare lucid movement, his mom reveals that she has withheld the shocking truth of his father's identity, Victor enlists the aid of his best friend, Denny and his mother's beautiful attending physician, Dr. Paige Marshall, to solve the mystery before the truth of his possibly divine parentage is lost forever. "

The fact that Sam Rockwell was in it and the trailer looked decent made me want to see it more than it being based off of a Chuck book. My expectation was set to mediocre and I was not disappointed in it's mediocrenessity. It was a spot on translation of the book. Therefore, all the reasons I didn't like the book were right there in the movie. They didn't shy away from the adult themes (i.e., lots of sex and nudity) and did some clever things with that, but all-in-all it was meh. I will say the performances were spot on and the direction was good, but I don't need to see it again.

As a responsible Chuck Palahniuk, I recommend reading his books. My favorites in order are: Survivor, Haunted (this book permanently scarred me), Diary, Lullaby, Invisible Monsters, Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (non-fic), Choke and Fight Club. I haven't read Rant, Snuff, Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (non-fic) or You Do Not Talk About Fight Club: I Am Jack's Completely Unauthorized Essay Collection (non-fic) yet so not sure where they will fit in. He only wrote the intro to the Fight Club essay book, but still want to read it.

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