Friday, July 1, 2016

Odd Job

As promised, we watched Odd Thomas (2013), starring the late Anton Yelchin. It is the way I want to remember him.

Yelchin plays the title character, whose first name is truly Odd. He is a regular guy, known around his little Southwest town of Pico Mundo as the nice short order cook at the diner. But he has a secret: he sees dead people and does something about it. Ghosts tell him who murdered them and he takes them out - usually with the help of his friend, the police chief (Willem Dafoe, a guy with a whole lot of face). The only other person who knows his secret is his girlfriend and soulmate Stormy (Addison Timlin) who works at the ice cream shop at the mall. Just like the girl in Burying the Ex, but not really.

Odd can also see invisible demon creatures called bodachs who feed off of massacres and tragedies. So when he starts seeing flocks of them, he knows something bad is going down. So he uses his psychic powers to figure it out, and, we hope, to prevent it.

Although it is full of ghosts, ghouls, and serial killers, this is not a horror flick. It's based on a a beloved series by Dean Koontz which makes sense, because the characters have a mythic quality, like they have a bigger life outside the movie. I was pleasantly surprised by how earnest and unironic the movie is. I especially liked Odd's relation to Stormy. She was his childhood sweetheart, he has always loved her, and she feels the same. There is no hint of deception or unfaithfulness between them, which might seem saccharine or unrealistic. Also, she is very spunky, calls him "Odd One", and speaks in a kind of stilted cool girlfriend speech. And I don't care - I love her and I love the way they love each other.

So, not a horror movie, but a romance.

It was directed by Stephen Sommers, who directed the Mummy movies and Van Helsing, which I actually like, and in fact own. I don't have much to say about the directing, except that Pico Mundo looks like a very nice place. It was clearly filmed partly around Santa Fe - one scene was recognizably Santa Fe's old town square.

But our favorite part was the sweet, brave, and noble characters of Odd, Stormy and the chief. It made a nice farewell to Mr. Yelchin.

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