July 14, 2002

Road to Perdition

To quote:

The new gangster Tom Hanks movie Road to Perdition is chock full of hateful main characters and dry plywood cut-outs! An hour of strained story building with no character development! Michael Sullivan shot a man! Sullivan shot another man! Sullivan wants his son to grow up to be a newspaper columnist that only shoots people on the weekends! Sullivan shot a large group of mans in the rain! Was he right? Was he wrong? Who cares! See it anyway!

End quote.

The film begins with a wake, which is a horrible place to try and introduce characters. Dripping with solemn faces and forced happiness, trying to realize characters during a wake is like trying to read a book through a glass of motor oil. Perhaps this was their point, to stress the fa�ade that the gangster path puts on life� but this point should never be made at the expense of developing main characters. Mother and son soon got shot in the face, and I simply shrugged my shoulders. Without proper introductions they were reduced to scenery; a backdrop against which the story could take place. Since the entire movie is based on their deaths, I would think the filmmakers would have taken a bit more care in making the event more pivotal. My only thoughts were: Mom won’t be helping Michael jr. with his math, anymore. Well, at least no one will mistake the boys for one another. One has black hair, the other is a bloody mess.

Maguire the death photographer/hit man was an awesome character, and a story about him would have been much more interesting than what had becometh. My friends insist that everything I liked about the photographer came from Jude Law, but I must disagree. Bribing the police for a photo-op, suffocating the dying rapist, framed pictures of death hanging in the living room� the writers had a fun time creating and developing this character, in striking contrast to the strained cut-outs of Mr. Sullivan and Michael. They gave Law something beautiful to work from; a perk that was not presented to Hanks, whose acting everyone is raving about. Good job, Hanks! They gave you a flat character, and you kept it flat! Let us shower you with golden statues molded in your sullen likeness!

Speaking of ugly, Michael jr. is foul looking kid with no personality. All we know about him is that he’s bad at math. Character-driven storyline, indeed. The audience develops little love for him (as well as his brother, mother, father, and any other person in the movie), as his character is not sufficiently developed. Yes, yes, yes, About a Boy had an ugly urchin child as well, but at least he grew under your skin and killed a duck. In Perdition the boy is just a slouching turd that learns to drive so he can rob banks. And he’s too fat. No kid could get that fat in the 30’s, and never by filling up toast.

The toaster in the Sullivan residence was too old. I recently picked up a 1925 Toastmaster, and the family in Perdition had a model that appeared to be from the late teens. Yes, it is the Great Depression, and yes most people would be happy to warm their sawdust cakes in the scorching prairie sun, but this is a gangster family. They got the money, honey. The Sullivans would definitely have had a new toaster, and not some sissy-ass one slot model. They knew their toast, as they are seen eating it at every breakfast, with a metal cereal box on the kitchen table that says (in part, as the kid’s ugly head is always in the way) ‘Toast-‘. Besides the toaster, the rest of the film looked remarkably accurate, and I am an authority to say so because I grew up in the 30’s and I know so much about the 30’s and ever since Pearl Harbor the movies have become living and breathing history lessons!

Oh. The music was splendid.

Did anyone else notice how the beginning of Perdition was remarkably similar to Spiderman? I didn’t notice, but a friend brought it to my attention:

Who am I? Do you really want to know? My name is Michael Sullivan, jr. I whooped it up with my gangster papa for six weeks before developing superpowers and saving Chicago from the Green Capone.

The story ran so many clich�s it ground my teeth into a fine powder. Mr. Sullivan didn’t have a father so he was taken under wing by old man Rooney, who he joins in his unpleasant business of transporting bootleg whisky and shooting men in black coats. Whenever a lot of people need to die it rains (just like summer camp). Auntie May has a summer home on the lake where we will hide. Father and son didn’t get along until unfortunate events spun them together. Genetically modified vampires tried to take over the city but were stopped at the last minute by Wesley Snipes carrying five silver-bullet shotguns duct-taped together.

Wait, doesn’t silver only kill werewolves?


One way to always shut up know-it-alls is to do some light research. The wise know-it-all does his own research, realizes he was wrong, and prepares deft answers for when others question his authority on a subject.
Hey man, I think you’re wrong. Silver bullets DO kill vampires.
Oh yeah? Well I think you’re wrong!
My subject of authority is toasters, and I am going to break the know-it-all code of ethics by refuting myself. Listen up, this will only happen once.
My toaster is the Toastmaster model 1A5, serial number 1,052,040. According to the Cyber Toaster Museum (a division of the National Toaster Museum of Charlottesville, Virginia) it was built between June 1940 and June 1941. It is a single-slice automatic toaster.
I would really like a Toastmaster Model 1B14, which went into production in July 1947. They look quite nice in the standard chrome, but there are a rare few that came in a beautiful copper shell.
The Sunbeam T-20 from the late 40’s is very nice, as well.
I’m still looking for the Sullivan’s toaster. It was a tall two-slicer, chrome, without the rounded edges of 1940 models. In all likeliness they probably had the right toaster for the era. This still doesn’t excuse the fat kid.
To discuss toasters with others, visit the Toaster Forums at Toaster.org.

your review of Road of Prediation saved my seven dollars so in the spirit of giving i thought i would save you seven dollars. DONT SEE MEN IN BLACK II. The movie is filled to capacity with rehashed jokes that might have worked in the first movie but failed miserably in the second.
Next the damn dog that should have been shot between the first movie and the second movie was not put to sleep to save humanity, instead it was give MORE lines and a big part in the movie, to the horror of the audience. The damn worms, thats all i can say about that major mistake.
The orchestral (is that a word, if it isn’t it is now) music was rehased from the first one and leads me to believe that Danny Elfman is NOT a good composer.
All but a few lines sound like the actors are just reading and putting no emotion into it.
There are more plot holes in MIB II besides the obvious SCI-FI crap that the movie makes Dante’s Peak look believable and scientific.
Save yourself the movie and the headache, i felt less of a man for seeing that movie.