In Ed’s Head – ‘The Lookout’

All right, today begins the start of a new, regularly recurring series called In Ed’s Head.

First, a disclaimer. I’ve blatantly stolen this idea.

I first came across is at Ain’t It Cool News. Now, for the record, I am not a fan of site-runner Harry Knowles or his writing style and his site construction is in dire need of an extreme homepage makeover. That said, Knowles has assembled a crack team of excellent writers, with ‘Moriarty’ (aka Drew McWeeney) standing tall above them all. He really is very good and is always worth a read.

Anyway, Moriarty recently began a recurring series called ‘One Thing I Love Today’ where he takes time each day to simply write about something that really made him smile. Where Moriarty is often called upon to deliver in-depth movie set reports or behind-the-scenes exposes of some of the bigger flicks yet to come – these little quick hits allow him the free form ability to just riff on something he’s come across in pop-culture that just came along at the right time and hit his sweet spot.

It’s a great concept and for a writer, sometimes all you need is the concept in order to get the words flowing.

So I’ve decided to adopt it and make it my own. My new feature is called In Ed’s Head but it’s largely the same. Essentially, I’ll lead with “One Thing I Love Today” (Or go one further and offer up “One Thing I Don’t Love Today”) and then drop a few paragraphs on whatever that something is. Maybe it’s a movie. A TV show. A song. The 6th inning of last night’s Sox game. Something funny the kids said. A new Real Men of Genius radio ad. It could be anything.

I can’t promise I’ll run it every day but the intent is to fill in the blanks between bigger posts. These pieces will be smaller in structure – aimed at giving you a quick hit at what I’m currently grooving to and offering up a little evidence for you to chase down the same experience.

All right – that’s enough rambling preamble for a pretty basic concept. Without further adieu…

One Thing I Love Today is… The Lookout.

One of the fringe benefits to my recent switch from Charter HD to DirectTV has been the 3-month trial of all movie channels. I mean every single last one of ‘em – meaning I have 14 HBOs, 14 Cinemax (who knew they really had one called Skinemax), 14 Showtimes and no use for The Movie Channel (seriously – do they own anything other than Hostel).

With this influx of flicks – and the fact that my gaming jones has waned of late – I have found myself seeking out the myriad of flicks that I’ve missed over the last few years. In the last few weeks, I’ve caught Hot Fuzz, Déjà Vu, The Prestige, Grindhouse, Miami Vice, United 93, Blades of Glory, The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine and Children of Men.

Last week, I spied The Lookout. Simply put, you should catch it too.

The Lookout stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun) as a rising high school college star whose future is cut short due to a tragic accident that renders him slightly disabled. We catch up with him four year later as we see he is pretty much normal from the outside, but the trauma of his head injury renders him incapable of remembering things without a lot of prompting – meaning he carries a notebook where he jots down things he’ll need to remember in order to go through his daily life (for example – Lock Your Door From the Outside, Take a Shower With Soap, etc). He ends up taking a job in a small town bank where he toils as a janitor with eyes to someday reclaiming his neural abilities and potentially becoming a teller. It’s a far cry from the promising future dreams that were dashed that fateful night.

Along comes a spider in the guise of Gary – a small-time criminal looking to make a big score by seducing Chris with dreams of taking back his life by scoring a big payday through the bank’s vault. Chris is brought in to be the lookout for Gary’s scheme to rob the place. And from that, we watch Chris looking to see if he’ll go along with Gary or work his way out of his web.

While this has a ‘bank job’ at the center of it, I’d hesitate to call this a heist picture. It shares more in common with films like Fargo and A Simple Plan – where we see normal, up-standing individuals sucked into criminal schemes that seem to spiral out of control. And with the memory issues, there’s a slight gloss of Memento, although this film is told straight through.

And that’s what was most refreshing about it. These days, it seems every thriller has to have the last second twist that contorts everything that came before. Not here. The Lookout tells a nice, straight story that while offering it’s share of taut situations, keeps the geography of the plot laid clear

Best of all, the character of Chris is so engaging – you get so sucked into seeing how he lives his daily life – that had the film just been about his ‘rehabilitation’ it would have been just as interesting. I’ve seen Levitt in two flicks this month (I caught the first half of Brick – he was good, it was not) and he’s certainly an actor to watch. Also, very good in the cast are Jeff Daniels as his blind roommate/mentor and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashes) as the femme fatale of the piece.

Look out for this one.

One comment [now closed]

  • Like the idea of this new “feature.” I think you were telling me about this flick when we were out a few weeks ago. I certainly remember you telling me how bad Brick was… hey, maybe I need a notebook too…

    I just dropped this in my Netflix queue.