Sunday, April 23, 2017

Before I Forget

Last Friday afternoon I found myself in sight of a movie theater with a couple of hours to pass. The solution was obvious.

Quick review:

Unforgettable (2017) – in theaters

Some movies are intended to be trash. In cinema (and several other arts) that is not the same as garbage. When indie cult film director John Waters says that American culture is trash culture, he takes pains to add that he doesn’t mean it as an insult. Something doesn’t have to be high art still to have its own integrity, just as a good hamburger can be as satisfying in its own way as a fine steak. John didn’t direct Unforgettable. Denise Di Nobi did. Nonetheless, and somewhat surprisingly given her previous work as a producer for films such as Edward Scissorhands and Crazy, Stupid, Love, her feature film directorial debut is trash. I don’t mean that as an insult, for it is satisfying in its own way. The title begs us to comment that the film is entirely forgettable, and so it is, but it nonetheless has the elements for a guilty pleasure.

Julia (Rosario Dawson) is a writer whose former boyfriend was horrifically abusive, but now she has a fabulous fiancĂ© David (Geoff Stults): handsome, kind, and affectionate with his own craft beer business. Well, there is his perfectly groomed ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl) with whom he shares custody of their young daughter Lily, but everyone has baggage, right? Julia decides to move in with David in his upscale small town and to work from home. She soon discovers, however, that Tessa is “psycho Barbie.” Tessa wants Julia gone. Julia has no social media pages due to earlier stalking issues, but Tessa opens a Facebook page in Julia’s name and initiates contact with her old obsessive and abusive boyfriend. Troubles multiply. David, as is typical of husbands/beaus in this type of movie, is well-meaning but clueless: utterly unable to see when he is being manipulated.

Dawson works her part well, but Heigl proves to be perfectly cast. Apparently Heigl has been miscast in her good girl roles all these years – a possibility of which we caught a glimpse in Home Sweet Hell (2015). She makes a perfect ruthless villain.

This movie will win no Oscars, but Thumbs mildly Up as entertainment.

Unforgettable trailer


  1. I guess my favorite film in that genre is Play Misty For Me with Clint Eastwood, and Jessica Walter. I enjoy watching it ever so often. I recently saw Walter on some late night fare, I forget what. It may have been an episode of Mannix (or Ironside), which I had never watched when they originally aired. I like Mannix however, sometimes cheesy, sometimes cliched, sometimes trash, yeah, but entertainingly so.

    1. I watched both TV shows back in the day but haven't revisited either in decades. It might be fun to watch a few to see how they hold up.

      Play Misty for Me is indeed a classic of the genre and in many ways its granddaddy.

  2. Yeah this movie got "trashed" by critics... get it, trashed! Ok I'll stop now. But if the movie knows its trashy and does it well, I don't see any issue with enjoying it. I'm curious who the target audience for this is, because I'm not sure those people are rushing out to the theaters to watch this.

    Heigl isn't a bad actress, but she has yet to really grab my attention. Like you said, maybe she needs to indulge in her dark side on screen. I don't think I've ever seen her play the bad girl.

    1. If the theater I saw it in is representative, not many people will see it. Granted, it was a Friday afternoon but the parking lot was pretty full so I presume there were larger audiences for the other screens in the cineplex.

      Even back during "Roswell," Heigl was far more intriguing in the two episodes in which she played her main character's sociopathic doppelganger than she was in the rest of the series. So, yes, I think she did miss some opportunities as scoundrel. The roles she has gotten by and large haven't been very interesting -- they weren't written to be very interesting.