Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Benny & Joon (1993)

Benny & Joon (1993)
Rated PG-13
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aiden Quinn, Julianne Moore
Directed by: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Tag line: A romance on the brink of reality.
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Watched: Netflix

Quick summary: Joon, a mentally ill young woman meets and falls in love with Sam, an eccentric young man who aspires to be Buster Keaton, a silent film comedian. Benny, Joon’s overly protective brother and caretaker, disapproves of their relationship and tries to keep her safe from the outside world.  

The best I can do to sum up this movie is to say that it was cute. It wasn’t great, and it wasn’t bad. It was just a cute movie and that’s not a bad thing, either. It was a very early-90s type of movie. It looked and felt like any other early-90’s romantic comedy. It was quirky and sweet. There was a little bit of drama, not a lot of bad language or anything else risqué.

It’s not a movie that could be made now. I don’t think it would work. They would try and make it raunchier and edgier and take out the sweetness of it, and make it something completely different, and it just wouldn’t work that way. I don’t think they are making very many rom-coms that are like this anymore. They also wouldn’t make a movie about a mentally handicapped person without specifying what type of illness it was. They never addressed what Joon was afflicted with. If it were made today, the movie would focus on her specific illness and how to treat it.
It’s weird to me now how young Johnny Depp looks in this movie. It is also distracting how much he and Jack White look alike. I couldn’t get over that the entire time I was watching the movie. He did a pretty good job. He was quirky and zany and strange, which is what you come to expect from him now. I believe him as that character.
Mary Stuart Masterson, on the other hand, I didn’t believe that she was all that mentally ill for most of the movie. She just seemed quirky to me. It didn’t make sense why everyone was acting like she was insane or needed to be watched 24-7. She wasn’t bad as Joon; she just didn’t convince me that she was a mentally ill person.
Aiden Quinn was ok as Benny. He did a decent job as an overprotective brother caring for his mentally ill sister. Though I was distracted because, to me, he looks almost exactly like Hugh Jackman, so I kept picturing him as Wolverine. 
Benny & Joon had a pretty good supporting cast as well, Julianne Moore, Dan Hedaya, William H. Macy and Oliver Platt all had supporting roles and they all did a good job.
All in all, it was a cute movie. Plus, anytime you open a movie with the song “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers, in its entirety, it’s a good thing.
Was it better than Avatar? Meh. But it was sweet, and there were some funny parts, and I like Johnny Depp movies, so I’d watch it again before I’d watch Avatar.
Here's the trailer:

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