Friday Favorites 12/2/2011
Monday night, as we were hanging around our house in Arizona, recovering from six days of grandkids, I went channel surfing. Since our cable service in Arizona is superior to what we have here in California, chances were good there’d be an old movie that I just had to watch. Sure enough, I found Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a film that proves that movie excellence isn’t a necessity for Friday Favorites. Loosely based on John Berendt’s Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction book, Midnight centers on the killing of Danny Hansford, a male prostitute by a respected antique dealer, Jim Williams. It is filled with Savannah’s eccentric personalities, including Chablis, drag queen and entertainer who provides comic relief and testimony in Jim William’s trial. While the book won the Pulitzer Prize (known in some circles as the Pullet Surprise), in the theaters Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil earned only 47% on the Tomatometer. Mike Clark of USA Today called it An oppressively long cinematic oddball.
Kevin Spacey stars as Jim Williams and John Cussack is John Kelso, a reporter (and alter ego of John Berendt) who happens to be in Savannah at the time of the murder and trial. Both are excellent and I’ll watch anything with Kevin Spacey. Director Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Allison, is sweet as Kelso’s love interest and the Lady Chablis is convincing … and hysterical … as herself. The atmosphere of the film is quirky and eccentric, befitting the Savannah setting. Then there’s the soundtrack of Johnny Mercer compositions performed by vocalists like Allison Krause, Paula Cole and Tony Bennett. Mercer was a long time Savannah resident and the original owner of Jim William’s house. And perhaps best of all, for an investment of 151 minutes, I get to listen to k. d. lang’s amazing version of Skylark over the closing titles. That could be a Friday Favorite all on its own. Have a listen in this video:
Tomatometer or not, I love this film. I suppose I should read the book.