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July 27, 2011

Movie Review: 51 Birch Street (2007)

No matter what the topic, documentaries are usually interesting. Usually. If only that was the case with 51 Birch Street. It's always sad to me when someone ruins my favorite film genre. After his mother died, first time filmmaker Doug Block decided to compile footage of his mother and father and dig into their relationship only to reveal a deep dark secret. Well, a deep dark secret to him and his sisters. Actually, it's a terribly boring secret that I stopped caring about four minutes into the movie.

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Doug is your typical negative stereotype of a New Yorker. He is whiny and annoying. He makes you want to slap him in the back of his head. He has two sisters. One seems like she's on happy pills, and the other is just as annoying as him, but she also has a tone that makes everything sound like it should end with, "Can you believe this?" Honestly, I can't believe that this movie got any good reviews. I just can't.

So, here's the story. After mom dies, dad marries a woman he knew forty years ago. He does this three months after becoming a widower. The kids are shocked. The guy is almost eighty at the time, so they really shouldn't be too surprised. He doesn't have much time left. They suspect the dad was cheating. Turns out he wasn't, I think. I'm pretty sure. I might have slipped into a coma while this mess was on. They find mom's old diaries, where she admits to thinking about cheating. Block's parents didn't have a perfect marriage. Holy shit. Call the newspapers.

I'll tell you the most fascinating thing about the whole movie. When mom was young, she looked like Brittany Murphy. Not bad. Before she died, she looked like a female version of Lloyd Kaufman. Not good. There you go. We now know what Brittany Murphy might have looked like in forty years. The rest of this garbage should not have been committed to film. It should have stayed in a therapist's office. It was beyond boring. Apparently, Block made another documentary about his kids growing up. I'm sure they're asleep during most of it due to the heavy doses of lameness their father supplies. Skip 51 Birch Street. You're better off watching a liver spot form on an old man's head.

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