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"Cherish"

Directed by Finn Taylor.
Written by Finn Taylor.
Starring Robin Tunney and Tim Blake Nelson.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  7/9/02 

Folks--

We like to support local work here at Bellview, so I went out tonight to see the new film “Cherish” since my friend Kat worked on the San Francisco production a while back.  “Cherish” falls under what I call “low-budget Hollywood” flicks, not independent flicks, since I like to reserve that for films that really are totally outside of the studio system.

As such, the film is written and directed by Bay Area resident Finn Taylor and stars Robin Tunney (her best work might be “Empire Records”, but she has been in bigger, shittier films like “End of Days”, too) as Zoe, a down-on-her-luck dot-commer that runs into some trouble.  After hangin’ out one night with a hottie co-worker (Jason Priestly, gloriously hammy) and getting tipsy, she gets to her car only to be accosted by a male assailant.  In a struggle to control her vehicle while fighting with the criminal, she accidentally runs over a cop and is put under house arrest by the authorities...which means an ankle bracelet, no leaving the house and stewing over the fact that the cops aren’t pursuing the real perpetrator in the case.

The film’s pace early on is excellent, with some good laughs and a completely random cast including Tunney, Priestly, Liz Phair (one assumes that Taylor is just a fan, because acting is not her forte) and Tim Blake Nelson, so wildly different in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” but well-placed here as an anal-retentive Lo-Jack administrator.  It is when Tunney is put under house arrest that the film just flat-out stalls.  Tunney is very good in “Cherish” but she really doesn’t have much to work with once she is left in an empty San Francisco apartment with no TV, no friends and some calls coming in a couple times a day from the police department.  Making Nelson her only visitor for half of the film brings mixed results—their growing romantic tension only gets the chance to surface in one scene about two-thirds of the way through the film, and getting there is slow-going.  But, the film does have a strong final half-hour, thanks to the fact that Taylor’s script allows for some adventure in the 11th hour as Zoe pursues evidence on her assailant.

But, I can’t say that I didn’t like the film.  In fact, the film has some really strong things going for it, like Ricardo Gil as Max, a cursing cripple confined to a wheelchair; I love when short guys in wheelchairs get the chance to say “Holy fucking shit!” in any movie, so there.  Priestly is great, familiar faces like Lindsay Crouse (“House of Games”, amongst many other credits) show up, and the soundtrack...Hall and Oates, baby!  Hey, I’m a hip-hopper to the fullest, but Hall and Oates?  Shit negro, that’s all you had to say!  When they slapped “Private Eyes” up in this piece, I was damned near singing:

Private Eyes (clap)
They’re watchin’ you! (clap clap)
They see your every move (baby)
Private Eyes (clap)
They’re watchin’ you! (clap clap)
Private EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYES
Watchin’ you, watchin’ you, watchin’ you, watchin’ you...yeah

In fact, I walked out of the theater wondering what percentage of Taylor’s film budget went to the soundtrack; the film has 20 songs listed in the credits from the 80s, and song licensing doesn’t come cheap.  I also wondered what “Cherish” would have been like if they had shot the house arrest scenes at a traditional San Francisco apartment, not the New York City-style loftspace in which Zoe is confined.  That part of the film is already pretty confined, both literally and figuratively...one can only wonder!

Overall, “Cherish” is not bad.  A comedy-thriller that does a dose of those at varying times, take this one in if “Minority Report” sells out in your hood.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09