Double Feature Duel: Requiem For a Dream vs. How To Train Your Dragon

Double Feature Duel:

Requiem For a Dream vs. How To Train Your Dragon

Only the second installment and I already changed the name (Thanks, Annie). Anyway, this is another one pitting two completely different movies against each other, but this is one that I have no idea who is going to win. I’d have probably had to tweak my system a bit if a movie nominated for 6 Oscars lost to a movie with a 32% on the Tomatometer Rating System last time. But not this battle.

Requiem for a Dream is the final movie in my quest to see all the movies by Darren Aronofsky. Some were decent (Black Swan, Pi), one sucked (The Fountain) and this one was a really riveting peak into the lives of a couple drug addicts, shot in a way to take you with them on their journey. How To Train Your Dragon is a DreamWorks buddy film about Viking times where a clumsy, scrawny youth accidentally grounds a super-special dragon and they become friends. Believe it or not, these movies were written by completely different people.

Funnier: Kind of another no-brainer unless there’s a sadistic meth-head out there who revels in the drug-induced pain and panic of others. Plus, Marlon Wayans is in Requiem for a Dream. Point, How To Train Your Dragon (0-1)

Better Turn: It’s hard to really pinpoint when Dragon’s Act II started, but it doesn’t matter. Requiem had such an emotional scene when the main character came to visit his mother after starting a profitable dope-dealing business to find that she was getting unknowingly (to her) high on her diet pills. It showed an earnest love for his mother, which we weren’t really sure about yet, and a powerlessness to help anyone else out of their situation, as he was too messed up to really dig his own way out of his. Point, Requiem for a Dream (1-1)

Better Ending: I really would have liked to see one of the four main characters make it out of Requiem. All four suffered pretty gruesome fates, depending on your take on Jennifer Connelly’s situation. But the quick montage with the disturbing music and the violent clips were pretty moving. I had to watch it several times to get it. This led to the imperfect but moving dream sequence, mirroring all four of their nights, with the camera pulling back to find them all in their beds. Meanwhile, Dragon’s ending was cute and feelgood, but typical and predictable by kid’s movie standards. Point, Requiem (2-1)

Better Message: Requiem’s message is not simply “don’t do drugs,” though I can see how one would confuse them. It delves a little more into how anyone can get hooked, knowingly or not. Dragon’s message is the same as most movies of this nature. Give the people who aren’t like us a chance. They may not be all that bad. Also, just because we always did something this way doesn’t mean we have to do it that way now. Maybe it’s been done before, but Requiem was a little too over the top to really have an effect on the way I see the world. Point, Dragon (2-2)

Better Acting: Ellen Burstyn was amazing in Requiem. I couldn’t believe she didn’t win Best Actress (which she was nominated for) until I found out it was the year Julia Roberts won for Erin Brockovich. She puts this movie into a much different category than it would have been had you had to concentrate on Marlon Wayans any more. Dragon is an animated movie. I should have started and ended with that. Point, Requiem (3-2)

More Creative: Tough choice here, but I feel like movies about drug addicts have been done. This one brought the mother into it and it was shot very well, but I can appreciate the idea of trying to fix a dragon’s tail feather to make him functional again. That was pretty cool. However, the plot of Dragon was pretty formulaic and Requiem’s “Juice by Tappy” commercials were a creative way to make the film even more disjointed and disturbing. Point, Requiem (4-2)

Watch again: Another tough choice, as I’ve waivered back and forth with this even as I’ve been typing. I feel like I could watch Ellen Burstyn’s performance many times over and that’s where I’m leaning now, though I’d rather see either compared to the last two movies I saw. Point, Requiem (5-2)

Overall: Well, I’d probably rate both of these movies pretty high on the bug rating, but the facts have played themselves out and made Requiem for a Dream the winner of this Double Feature Duel. Thanks for reading and I’ll probably have another title for this column next time.

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