Friday, July 23, 2010

Movie Recommendation: Sling Blade

I recently caught this movie replaying on one of the myriad channels we get from DishNetwork and was surprised again at how good it was. Surprised because I had forgotten how genuinely captivating the story of Karl and Frank. Surprised because I can't remember any other time when Billy Bob Thornton was quite this good on film. It's been said that playing a mentally handicapped person can either make or break your acting career--and Thornton delivers this performance with complete believability and utter sincerity. It is another huge surprise that this film not only introduced the American film-viewing public to Billy Bob, but he wrote and directed the piece as well.

So much of the film has been turned into kitschy comedy, from Karl's "MMM-HMM" grunts to the "Mustard n Biscuits" line to "Funny queer, not funny ha-ha." And, yes, I've been guilty of throwing the odd Karl-ism out there, too. Put into context, though, the character of Karl is by turns sweet and innocent, then vengeful and all-seeing. He sees justice in his own way and when the film is done, it is hard to argue with his viewpoint.

If you have not watched this one recently, do yourself a favor and put it on. You'll laugh some and, if you have a heart, you'll be touched by the story. Great stuff. Just wish Billy Bob had stayed with this level of Oscar material instead of slumming in Armageddon.

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