“Two Tears in a Bucket, Mother Fuck It…”
This film is listed under my favorite movies category in the “About Me” section on facebook, and has been there since I joined
facebook in 2006 as was requested by the college I attended. This is quite possibly the most underrated Clint Eastwood film ever… in fact, I didn’t even know he directed it until recently, or that his daughter Allison Eastwood played leading lady Mandy Nicholls.
I’m not surprised this movie wasn’t a box office hit… the title is too long, despite the book being a popular non-fiction novel, not many people know about the events it was based on, who lady Chablis is, or what the hell is an Uga. And this was all way before Million Dollar Baby and that other movie about Clint Eastwood beating up Asians in L.A. I mean, he didn’t really have the same reputation as a director back then as he does now. And the quality of his work hasn’t much changed, just the collective mood… I guess.
Anyway, you may be asking yourself, why is this movie “so gay”? Hmmmm… there is the plot for one. The story takes place in conservative Savannah, Georgia, actually more quaint than conservative… but still not tolerant of overt homosexuality, which is in itself very gay. Kevin spacey plays Jim Williams who murders his prostitute boyfriend Billy Hanson (Jude Law). This is the catalyst for a series of court sessions and events that writer John Kelso (John Cusack) is covering for the book he is writing. Cusack sort of goes on a little investigation to help prove Spacey killed in self defense and not cold blooded murder. His pursuit introduces us to some of the most interesting characters in the movie including local drag queen The Lady Chablis.
Despite the ominous theme of murder, the movie is very blithe in nature and very reflective of the people living in Savannah… it’s as if they’re all in on some secret joke that you don’t know and that has no obvious punch line. They’re a little sardonic that way. There is naturally some voodoo incorporated in the plot and a little mysticism regarding the existence of the afterlife… a revenge of the living dead sort of thing.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has all the makings of a great movie: a shockingly convincing transsexual, ghosts, murder, gossip, great court scenes (more humorous than Law & Order, but still very suspenseful and thrilling), antique art, and that good ol’ Spacey panache. I mean… my point is, Kevin Spacey rarely ever disappoints. Some marvel at his likeness to the actual Jim Williams… I marvel at his likeness to the Mr. Monopoly (Rich Uncle Pennybags) and the Pringles guy.