Monday, August 30, 2010

Knocking "Schultze Gets the Blues" Off Our Family's List as Worst Movie Ever Rented ...

... here comes Man Push Cart.

Ahmad is a Pakistani immigrant who dispenses coffee and bagels and suchlike from his food cart in New York City. He has to haul it manually to his corner and back.

That's the essence of the plot.

We could not but agree with BBC reviewer Digby Lewis who, in part, commented in his review:
A modern day retelling of the Sisyphus myth - in which a man spends his days heaving a large rock uphill, only to watch it roll back down the slope every time - Ahmad (Ahmad Razvi) is our ill-fated cart-pusher, who succeeds only in having a thoroughly miserable time of it in the Big Apple. ...

... Unfortunately, the characters are so tediously one dimensional, poorly scripted and amateurishly acted, that the most sympathetic character is a neglected kitten.
Or the San Francisco Chronicle review which observed:
... The makers of "Man Push Cart" seem so dedicated to making a film that defies Hollywood conventions that the finished product lacks enough entertainment value to justify price of admission. ...
Would that I had seen this before having believed all those other critics who I know know think that a dreary movie going nowhere is the height of artistic achievement.

I don't have a problem with watching a movie about the downtrodden immigrant experience, which was all we could conclude the director was aiming for.

However, I have a huge problem being subjected to a movie about a stupid, downtrodden immigrant experience (spoilers follow, but you won't care because you're never going to watch this, right? Please promise us you won't watch it ...):
  • When you make the payment on that food cart, then get it insured, just as you were advised to do. You have some money in that box you leave lying around your room (which I was continually expecting him to return to find stolen ... they missed that one ...).
  • That uninsured cart? Don't go jaunting off after a toy vendor around the corner to buy your son a toy ... and then be stunned when you find that New York City's criminals whisked it away when you were gone.
  • That fellow Pakistani you met? He's a phony and you had tons of clues. If you were the Bono of Pakistan, as he explained to someone, then you should have had lots of time to learn how to identify a phony. You didn't figure that out? Like I said ... stupid.
  • That phony's pal who is going to reestablish your singing career if only you will do menial work in the meantime? Not only phony, but just a jerk who is using you. Again. Tons of clues. TONS.
  • That Spanish girl you like? She likes you. TONS of clues. And you like her. We know you do. So when she is dating that phony you both know, don't just stand there giving her longing looks and shoving her away when she tries to kiss you. That would be ... oh, right ... stupid.
  • The kitten? Ok, we're giving you a break on that one. Although if you did know someone who was wise to the ways of two-week-old kittens, why didn't you ask him for some info earlier? But as I said, we're giving you a break. We like guys who rescue 2-week-old kittens.
There was more, but not much more because little happened in the movie ... we watched the guy in his daily grind which was not pleasant, but we didn't see him learn a darned thing. Except not to leave his cart alone when he's going to buy a trinket. He didn't progress. He didn't improve his lot or anyone else's. He didn't get beaten down by the man. He was just ... a victim of his own stupidity.

There's an hour and a half of my life I won't get back. Ever.


  1. Tante Léonie8/30/10, 1:10 PM

    Don't hold back; tell us how you really feel, Julie! :)

    I thought it was a modern "The Bicycle Thief" and liked it very much, indeed.

  2. :-D

    I don't believe I've ever seen The Bicycle Thief. Did he spend his days circling despairingly lower and lower until finally he hits rock bottom with no hopes, no dreams, and no improvement ever having had happen in his life? Though he did defy The Man by burying that kitten. Pretty American of him.

    Though we realized that we were in the minority, after looking at all the movie reviews, some of which made me rent it. :-)

  3. Tante Léonie8/30/10, 1:41 PM


    I saw Ahmad as deeply depressed and beaten down, but still determined not to give up.

    Yes, some of his decisions and judgment were bone-headed, but so are mine. I was able to relate to him in his difficulty, and, to tell you the truth, I saw him as a Christ-like figure.
    I was quite moved by the film.

    But, for a palate cleanser, I urge you again to see "Sita Sings The Blues." Although, you might not trust my taste in movies after this! :)

  4. I was going to rent Sita Sings the Blues but it was out ... again. :-)

    For me to see someone as Christ-like, I have to see redemption or at least a possibility thereof. The three of us, and we are very different movie watchers, didn't see anything like that at all. He showed no change, or possibility therefore. He just showed despair to us. Which is not Christ-like but rather more like Judas in the end, or Peter before he goes running to the tomb. In Bruges, was not the most cheery movie but there were redemptive themes and sacrifices for others all over the place. I didn't see anything approaching that from anyone in that movie...

  5. You didn't like "Schultze?" I really liked it! I thought it was sweet. Great photography. Nice story about a man who discovers passion late in his life. I loved the part where the Germans would wait at the train crossing on their bikes and would not cross, even though there was no train, until they had permission.

  6. With tighter editing and a bit more story it would have been ok.

    There is nothing like several minute long shots of home exteriors with nothing happening for building interest, I always say. Oy veh. :-)

  7. Yes, it was slow. And what was the point of the flamenco girl with the boobies?

    Still, I would watch "Schulze" a million times over "Avatar," which a friend lent to us this weekend. We have watched half of it over two nights and are both yawning dead bored. Sure, the animation is fabulous, but the story is predictable, dull, one-sided, shallow and preachy. (Military/corporation bad, indigenous people good!)

  8. I deliberately avoided Avatar for the very reasons you mention. I don't need beautiful if underneath it is simple and ugly. :-D