Tideland (2006, Terry Gilliam)

I’d long put off watching this because of reports that it wasn’t any good. But of course it is good . . . it’s just maybe not GREAT. The lead girl (Jodelle Ferland, currently playing the one-armed undead girl in Cabin in the Woods), a playful innocent surrounded by grotesque adults, is captivating and manages to carry the movie. But despite all the darkness and death, the movie manages to feel slight. Maybe you need to see it in theaters – I would’ve liked to, but never got the chance.

Jeliza-Rose (great name) lives in an apartment with her junkie parents. When mom Jennifer Tilly overdoses, dreamer dad Jeff Bridges (the same year he was in some Full Monty-meets-Zach and Miri-sounding movie called The Amateurs), always going on about Jutland (part of Denmark?), takes her to the family’s abandoned, unsafe house in the country.

Tilly, following her second Child’s Play sequel:

J-R and her late father:

Soon he’s dead as well, stinking up the place, but J-R never loses heart, has fun narrating events to her troupe of doll-heads. She befriends an idiot boy named Dickins, and runs into his (mother? sister?) Dell, an amateur taxidermist who stuffs Jeff Bridges. The lunacy increases until Dickins finally manages to blow up the “monster shark” (passing train) and J-R wanders onto the crash site, mistaken for a surviving passenger and presumably taken off to a more normal life.

A nice family dinner. In background: mummy-dad Jeff Bridges

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