Wednesday, January 13, 2010

May: A Study In Awkwardness

After my less than thrilling experience watching The Woods, it was demanded of me that I watch another of Lucky McKee's movies, May. (Especially by my dear friend Matt of Chuck Norris Ate My Baby) I had no expectations, and no prior knowledge really except for the fact that it was categorized in the "teen screams" section of Netflix. That alone made me worried as the other movies keeping it company were Twilight, I Know What You Did Last Summer and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre the Next Generation so....yeah. Obviously the word "worried" was fresh in my mind- but after hearing endless praise I knew that those I trusted would never steer me wrong.

What you need to know about May, is that she is the most painfully awkward person you will ever witness in your whole life. The victim of a lazy eye, a twisted mother and isolation- May only has one friend in life- the creepy doll her mother gave her, enclosed in a glass box. She is obsessed with the notions that there are a lot of good parts out there- but very few wholes, a simple idea materialized and terrifyingly realized by the time the end credits roll.

Although originally there was a much longer introduction to May's life that was later cut- my one major sore spot about the movie is that the time period between when she gets the doll and the present is so non existent and mysterious. I don't mind a bit of mystery especially in these kinds of situations, but young May wasn't very awkward- sure she had an eye patch but I would never have sensed she would turn into the May we all know and love. Granted if they did go into more detail- the movie would exceed my hour and 30 minutes perfect length rule and then I would be mad about that. But I guess I just yearn for a written explanation or possibly a book describing how May's adolescent years played out, what happened to her parents, and just how May landed a job as a Veterinarian's assistant with what I can only imagine would have been the most awkward interview in the world.

Other than that major thorn in my side- I can gladly report that I loved this movie. It was outrageously different and so uncomfortable yet pleasing at the same time. You feel so awful for May- yet possibly even more awful for Adam who did not see a loose cannon when he should of. Sure he likes "weird" things- but when a girl is massaging her face with your hand when your sleeping it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. Awkward or not- something is seriously wrong with May and if Adam did not realize it upon his fist encounter- then as my good friend Carrie Underwood would say- Jesus should have taken the wheel a long time ago.

I loved the plethora of eye imagery- the lazy eye, causing a distorted version of May's life- where she holds daily conversations with Suzy and believes that good hands are the key to a successful relationship. Then there's also the blind children, notable scissor to eye trauma, and the of course the problem with the doll at the end not "seeing" May.....and the solution to that.

I loved when the blind kids were crawling on all the glass- and I loved how dramatically things began to change and how although May's mind was never really there- you can still see a startling and abrupt change to her thinking- her ultimate descent into madness if you will. May's character is one of the most unique and interesting ones I have seen in a long time- and although I would have liked to know more- the film still works on the level that it does.

If you've never seen May you should definitely check it out. It's such a completely different kind of "horror" movie that you can't even classify it into a character- it certainly doesn't belong in "teen screams" though....Netflix. It's wildly hysterical with great writing that does not even for one second border on Juno/Diablo Cody territory. It is honest, and alarming and fits 100% in with the overall feel of the movie. The relationship between characters are static and just cringe worthy- and rightfully so. However, the film is also responsible for just simply freaking you out. There are moments in this where you can't believe what is happening- and moments where you have an idea of what will happen next but you just really hope that it won't actually happen- and of course it always does! That's the true genius of May- the predictable always gets turned on it's head while being predictable at the same time! It makes no sense- but it's OK- May will make everything better.

Oh and there is one really traumatic animal experience in this movie- so be forewarned. Also, Anna Farris is a crazy lesbian and the fat guy from Borat is a Veterinarian. What's not to love? So many good moments to talk about but so little time. And as BJ-C would say, the less you know the better.

If you can't find a friend-make one.


Matt-suzaka said...

I loved May too and it is due to it being such a different film from most horror out there. Angela Bettis' performance is incredible and her decent into madness so frightening and just how it all ends if pretty fucked up too.

I love that Sisto's character is a fan of Argento, yet the film stays far from self referential crap, which is always a good thing in a horror movie. He is a horror fan, but that is not the drive of his character, he is just a dude. I also have to say how much I loved Anna Farris in this one...that bitch is mad funny!

I think I was one of the peps that told you to check it out, so I am happy that you enjoyed it - great review and good call on the eye ball shit!

Andre Dumas said...

You were one of the ones! that was an odd sentence but yes it was you I was thinking of! I am also watching Spiral in the near future HOORAY!

Matt-suzaka said...

You are the quickest responder ever! I can't wait to hear your thoughts on isn't a straight up horror movie, but that is what makes it more shocking in a way.

Also, I met both Lucky McKee and Angela Bettis at two different conventions and have May signed by both. I'm wicked cool!

Andre Dumas said...

Ugh you ARE too cool for school! I want signed things. I heard both of them actually have a lazy eye, true story?

And I'm only a fast responder because my comments are linked to my email and my email makes this chirpy noise thing so when it chirps I come a runnin'

Fred [The Wolf] said...

I actually reviewed this one a while back. I think MAY is an underrated and underappreciated gem. Angela Bettis is incredible in this film and she actually creeped me out quite a bit. I did wish the ending was not as open ended as it was, but what can you do? I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

Chris H said...

Andre, Andre, Andre!

Take a look at Roman, which is a brother/sister piece to this one in which the roles were reversed: Angela Bettis directed and Lucky McKee stars as a not-quite-as-equally awkward character.

Pretty interesting flick and good (if not inferior)companion to May.

May rules, btw!

Andre Dumas said...

Fred- I know what you mean. In some ways I secretly wished that May died- who knows maybe she did. But I did sort of enjoy how in her mind- everything in the end was O.K. Oooh poor May.

Chris!- I have heard great things about Roman so I will be checking it out soon thanks : )

BJ Colangelo said...

Fuck that eye scene. fuck it hard. a;jsdfl;adjfla;dj horrifying.

Matt-suzaka said...

I didn't notice...Bettis was actually kinda cute in a mousy way and beyond nice. And McKee is like 5 inches taller than me and I'm 6' I only saw his nipples. They were very tender.

Theron said...

One of my favorite flicks. Glad you found it! Angela Bettis is wonderful here.

brian said...

Comparing Bettis in this and The Woman is amazing, two different but awesome performances