- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

By Mick LaSalle

COPYRIGHT 2014, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Dear Mick LaSalle: “The One I Love” (2014) versus “The Lake House” (2006)?

Mick Hansen, Lincoln, Neb.

Dear Mick Hansen: That would be an interesting double feature, two movies about love that have a big supernatural component. They’re both good. “The One I Love” is more perfect, but “The Lake House” is more ambitious. “The One I Love” is clever, and everyone would like it. “The Lake House” is emotional and won’t appeal to everybody, but if you get on its wavelength, it offers more rewards. I’d choose “The Lake House.”

Dear Mick LaSalle: I just put myself through the ordeal of sitting through the greatly lauded French film “The Piano Teacher.” This is a well-crafted film, but the subject matter is so revolting that I wonder why this isn’t taken into consideration when they’re giving out prizes. To my mind this is an ugly little shocker dressed up in art-film clothes. What do you think?

Ellen Milenski, San Francisco

Dear Ellen Milenski: I think you’re making the mistake that people often make. You know the movie was well-crafted, but it annoyed you, so you’re trying to figure out a way that it was, in fact, no good, that it wasn’t really what it seemed to be, but rather a cheap exploitation film in disguise. You are trying to restore order to the disordered universe of your own reaction, when the truth is in the disorder - this is a great movie that you didn’t like.

I can’t blame you. “The Piano Teacher” is extremely unpleasant. I put it as my third best movie in my top-10 that year, but I’ve never watched it again - in 12 years. In that time, I’ve taught classes on women in French cinema and often put it on the syllabus and then, invariably, take it off in favor of another Isabelle Huppert movie. But it’s brilliant all the same, a weird balance between a sober psychological inquiry and a sex farce, and Huppert’s performance, as a woman coming undone, is one of the greatest of the decade.

Hi There Mick: Friday night we were searching for a movie with Emma Stone and came across “Movie 43.” We laughed ourselves sore. As you know, the reviews were completely awful. What gives with all the reviews?

Richard Levitt, Oakland

Hi There Richard: I didn’t review the movie at the time. But I think it’s fair to say that the scene in which Kate Winslet goes on a blind date with what seems to be the ideal man (Hugh Jackman), only to find that his testicles are hanging from his neck, is hysterical. I have said before that a large percentage of people, including critics, resent being made to laugh. They go through life with ideas of what they consider funny, and they will not be persuaded to broaden their range, even by the sound of their own laughter. They’re too invested in some idea of themselves as a person who approves of this and disapproves of that, and so they’ll laugh out loud and then insist that the reason they laughed was that the joke was lousy. This is a particular disease of people who consider themselves intelligent.

Dear Mr. LaSalle: You write that Richard Burton made many low-down movies you’ve never bothered to watch. Don’t you feel an obligation to watch all the movies of one of filmdom’s all-time great actors?

Tom Lukens, Concord

Dear Mr. Lukens: No. Actually, I feel my obligations are in another direction: (1) Not to become a complete, weirdo movie freak, with no contact with reality; and (2) To keep actually enjoying movies, because critics who come to hate the discipline they’re writing about are useless. The surest way to start hating what you’re doing is to approach the watching of movies with a sense of obligation, which could easily turn to dread after two or three bad Richard Burton pictures.

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