Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)

Between the blog and work and getting the munchkin to the Petri dish that is daycare, it appears I’m getting a little forgetful. The other day I went to the library and accidentally checked out a book I’d already read. I didn’t notice until I started reading it on the train to work. To make matters worse, my phone battery was completely dead because I left my only charger at work. (Fucking non-backwards compatible iPhone 5 plug. What the shit.)

45 minutes goes by in a flash when you have something to do. Read a few pages and miraculously the commute is over. Without? AGONY. I was forced to look at my fellow human beings and I did not like what I saw. So much semi-intentional, passive-aggressive jostling, so many exasperated sighs. I found myself staring uncontrollably at a man with a wart on the tip of his nose so large it ended in a tiny wart of its own. I couldn’t tell if it was even a wart at all. It might have been an outcropping of cartilage or maybe he was Mansquito and that was his proboscis. I turned away but all I found were people being awful to each other and HOLY FUCK THAT IS SOME LOUD KATY PERRY YOU’RE LISTENING TO. I totally get killing sprees.

More like, “Ow, man!” Get it?

The story: Back in high school Ken Boyd was bullied a little more than most, which is to say sadistic assholes tied him up and fucking tortured him. Fifteen years later, Ken is still dealing with the trauma. Recently released from a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt, he works at an ice cream shop and lives with his betimes belligerent, chain-smoking mom. Ken’s life is not awesome. But things start looking up when he unexpectedly connects with an 11-year-old daughter he’s never met, who in turn helps him woo a pretty lady named Stephanie. Bonus: one by one the dudes who picked on him start turning up brutally murdered. Each time, Ken is among the last people to see the victim alive. That is probably just a coincidence. Five coincidences.

Skip from The Burbs?

Biggest letdown: Because Ken is such a sweet, sympathetic character, you really want him to not be a serial killer so he can live happily ever after with his daughter and Stephanie. That alone is enough to start the audience playing “Is he or isn’t he?” And since the killer hides his face with a ski mask the whole time, that question more or less consumes the entire movie. It’s the same thing So I Married an Axe Murderer did so well, but in that case the mystery gave the central character something to do. Here, the central character IS the alleged murderer, so from his perspective there is literally no drama. I would have much preferred knowing for sure early on. That might allow the climax to deliver some kind of unexpected curveball, rather than just a yes or no answer to the question the audience has been asking since the opening titles.

I will have more Barry Bostwick and I will have it NOW.

Why you should watch: First off, I don’t know how this guy isn’t a household name but there is still time to get Barry Bostwick another leading role on a sitcom or something. You probably remember him as the mayor from Spin City, where he spent eight seasons upstaging Michael J. Fox, but that show was about as high quality as Two and Half Men. He deserves better, the way Ed O’Neill got his renaissance with Modern Family (and to a lesser extent the vastly under-appreciated John From Cincinnati). Bostwick is hysterical as the affable town sheriff. He is amazingly able to appear goofy and plodding, while giving the impression of strength and cunning underneath. His brilliant blue eyes, set cartoonishly close together beneath a mop of wavy white hair, reinforce that duality when juxtaposed with his tall, powerful frame.

Now I’m kinda wishing it was porn.

The best part of Some Guy Who Kills People (the title sucks, by the way) is the freedom given to the stellar main cast to have fun with their roles and add their own tics and flourishes wherever they see fit. Ken’s inherent weirdness, his mom’s vitriol, even the perky awkwardness Lucy Davis has made a career on, all benefit from generous injections of ad lib humor, elevating otherwise disposable exchanges into something more organic. The result is a set of characters you care about for reasons beyond finding out how the syrupy romance and precocious daughter storylines will play out.

A serial killer buddy comedy. Delightful.

Memorable Moment: I realize I just said the romance was dull, but I will always have a crush on Lucy Davis thanks to The Office so forgive me if I focus on her first date with Ken. Things are going well until he mentions his recent institutionalization. Her shrinking reaction hit me right in the gut, like the way you feel your insides go cold when you know you’ve really screwed something up and you’re about to be called on it. It’s just a beat but it stuck with me.

Uh…I think I left the kettle on.

Choice quote: “We’re gonna find the bastard, Ernie. We’re gonna find him and we’re gonna tear his skin off. Make him wear his own skin.”

About the Rating System

5 Responses to “Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)”

  1. […] all that, I really did enjoy this movie. Bruce Davison is fucking awesome. I need to put him and Barry Bostwick in a room together so I can decide which one I want to be my uncle more. (Hint: it’s a tie!) […]

  2. […] Some Guy Who Kills People – Deserved a better title. […]

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