- « Galapagos – Les Iles Qui Ont Change Le Monde. On DVD June 30th. (********8/10)
- Stone of Destiny. On DVD June 30th. (****4/10) »
To hear the review
To hear the review
That’s about the extent of each of the myriad phone conversations Val Kilmer has with his ex-wife, Marg Helgenberger, in Columbus Day, out on DVD June 30th from Alliance Films. Kilmer is trying to win his ex back, one phone call at a time, from a phone booth in a park. At the same time, he is trying to get a ton of money for the item he just stole, by calling his fence many times, from the phone booth in the park. And at the same time, he is trying to reconnect with the daughter he abandoned, one phone calle at a time, from the phone booth in the park.
The fact that fifty percent of this movie takes place over the phone wouldn’t be so bad if the plot, the dialogue and Kilmer’s acting weren’t also phoned in. He is a master thief, you see, and he has just pulled off the Job Of A Lifetime. This theft will have him set for life, and he can now win back his ex-wife, teach his daughter that he isn’t such a bad guy, and pick up right where things left off. This would be fine in a movie where the lead character believes all these things and then discovers that abandoning your daughter can’t be forgotten overnight, or that your relationship with your ex can’t be fixed by six phone calls when she still hates you. But this isn’t that movie. In Columbus Day, it all seems plausible.
So we wait for Kilmer to make it through this day, and we know that if he does, everything will work out just fine, as he imagined it, and be hunky dory. In the meantime, he strikes up a strange friendship with a little kid who hangs around in the park because he doesn’t like school and his mother is terrible. The kid, played by Bobb’e J. Thompson, is precocious and funny, and he has a few good moments because Thompson is really trying here. But he’s the only one in the movie who is, so all his efforts are in vain. At no point is the unlikely bond between him and Kilmer even close to plausible, and the kid’s involvement in the story, although it forms the bulk of the movie, is totally unnecessary. Which makes the bulk of the movie totally unnecessary. Which makes the movie totally unnecessary.
One more thing before I finish this review. I don’t want to think about this film much more, and I will likely have forgotten all about it in about an hour. But I need to mention the case. Whatever Kilmer has stolen, from the Big Bad Gangster Guy, is in the case he carries around. Whatever it is, it’s the ticket to his freedom, his financial independance, and the rest of his worry-free life. And he has an irritating conversation with the kid about the case being the city of gold. But we never get to see what’s inside. That’s a concept that worked once. After Pulp Fiction, there was nothing remotely interesting about a case carrying a Nameless Something Valuable.
But the fact of the matter is, Columbus Day is so scattershot, and so badly realized, that even if I had seen what was in the case, I wouldn’t care. I didn’t care what was in the case, I didn’t care what happened to Kilmer’s wife and daughter, and I didn’t even care what happened to the cute and personable little kid. I did, however, care about what happened to Kilmer. I feel I should say that. I was even rooting for something to happen to him. That is, I was rooting for him to be shot. Not only did his character appear to be a pretty bad thief and a pretty bad husband and a pretty bad father and a pretty bad friend to the little boy in the park, but his death would have hastened the end of this movie.