Saturday, May 07, 2005

Three Films and a Girl

I just finished another Netflix movie and realize I have fallen behind in my little critiques. Because you're just dying for my opinions, right? Trendsetter that I am - pinnacle of discriminating taste.

Tonight was "Finding Neverland," a film many people have told me was wonderful, a film I just had to see. I need to figure out who those people were and make a mental note not to listen to them again. I was really bored. I feel like it gave me nothing beyond the story I already knew - struggling playwright meets family with four boys, has fun with them, writes successful play. Yawn. Everything around that was just sentimental hooey. I hate sentimental hooey. I don't like sappy sickbed scenes and romantic deaths and profound little kids. The most interesting part of the movie for me was seeing Johnny Depp with Freddy Highmore and thinking, "Oh, yes, there they are, Willy Wonka and Charlie. That should be a good film." Maybe it would have been different if I'd seen it in a theater instead of my living room TV, so that the fantasy/play scenes would have been more magical. I don't know.

Last weekend I watched "The Big Lebowski," which I'd never seen, and while it was somewhat entertaining, its reputation was too big for it to live up to, I think. Or maybe you really have to be stoned to appreciate it.

Before that it was "At Home at the End of the World," which, I realized quickly, was the first film I'd seen Colin Farrell in other than "Minority Report," and I don't think of that as a Colin Farrell film. So I was surprised to find I liked him. Yeah, there was a bad wig for the first half of his role, but then Robin Wright Penn gave him a super-trendy (fit for 2005, though cut in the 80's - how prescient of her!) cut and he was very cute. I think I did the film a disservice by watching it in fits and starts, because my overall reaction was that it was somewhat disjointed. I think though it wasn't just because I didn't sit down and watch it start to finish. I think it is a much fuller novel that had its highlights lifted into film, hoping to capture the overall life of the book. That's how it felt to me, and I didn't even read the book first. I'm reading it now, though, because I want to know what was missing (because it really felt like so much was missing.) So far, I have been proven right - so much more has happened in the novel already. Not that you can't take a longer novel and trim it to a screenplay, but I think it's hard to be successful at it.

I was interested to see Robin Wright Penn, who might not be as old as her husband (see my sad commentary on his sudden agedness in "The Interpreter" in a previous post) but is still quite a bit older than the leading men in the film. She's supposed to be, of course; her character is just that much older so it was cast correctly. The problem is she doesn't look her age, so it wasn't really believable to me that she was an older woman with them.

I guess I liked it, or else I wouldn't bother reading the book after seeing the movie. There are moments in the film that haunt me, and I think that's Michael Cunningham's genius. I loved "The Hours" (well, except for boring Nicole Kidman's story) and I am incredibly drawn to his themes of parenthood and abandonment, of family and loss of family.

I need to get off my lazy ass and write more.


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