Hey, we’re still not out of bad 2016 movies! So I’m still saying nice things about them! On to …
THE LADY IN THE VAN
Oh dear. Some of you are bristling at the suggestion that a high profile Oscar-bait flick like The Lady In the Van belongs on any kind of bad movie list. Well, hush. It’s my list, and this flick bored the snot out of me.
The title is also the plot. There’s an elderly lady, see, and she lives in a van. The cops keep moving her along, until she parks in the driveway of a stuffy author named Alan Bennett (played by Alex Jennings), who opts to let her stay for a while. She stays until her death, 15 years later. That’s it; that’s all that happens. The real Alan Bennett used to delight people at parties by telling this story, because it’s a great story to tell at parties. If you were told this story at a party, you’d love it, and you’d urge Alan to make it into a play or a film. He did both, and now we have to watch it for 104 minutes, instead of three minutes with canapes and a martini. It’s not the same. We now have enough time to realize that 15 years worth of glancing out a window and muttering, “Yep. She’s still out there,” isn’t exactly riveting drama.
The British get away with this kind of thing all the time. They get us to overlook a bland story by putting a brilliant actress like Dame Maggie Smith in there, giving a magnificent performance.
Whoops; gave away the best bit right there. Or did I?
THE BEST BIT
Come to think of it, the best bit is where the Alan Bennett character has a moment of clarity, and realizes that he’s only helping the van lady because he thinks it’ll make for a good story. Damn, Al, that’s some cold s**t right there. It’s not like you helped her that much. You didn’t get her into a real house, or contact her family, or get her the mental health support she clearly needs; all you did was not make her move out of your unused driveway. And that heroic sacrifice was for this story? I am flabbergasted.
Coming up next: SUICIDE SQUAD! No wait, I did that last week. Um … something else!
John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook and Twitter. You can also watch Volume 1 of his new series produced for NUTV here.