Monday, December 11, 2006

Stranger than a Holiday

Yesterday I wanted to see "The Holiday," which meant leaving the comfort of the home neighborhood for a theater in Manhattan. Luckily it was playing just down the block from a store that was essential to my holiday shopping, so I hopped the subway and went in. And, somehow, screwed up the starting times (how? I have instant access at all times via Vindigo on my Treo), and arrived at the theater in between showings. But just in time for "Stranger than Fiction." So, instead of light pretty mediocre chick-flick, I get that weirdly-reviewed film that looked good but disappeared. I mean, it did, right? I haven't heard much about it after that first week.

Maybe because it's about a writer with writer's block and the process of writing, but I enjoyed it. I walked away thinking that if it didn't star Will Ferrell and had less promotional dollars behind it, it would have been a gem of a small indie comedy. I mean, it had Maggie Gyllenhaal. But also Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, not your usual small indie players.

I would have loved it if not for Will Ferrell. First of all, his attempt at a serious quiet nerd came across as bland, empty, and uninteresting. Seriously, it's a struggle to accept that Gyllenhaal (playing the usual funky-yet-lovable goofball) would ever fall for him, especially not in the short time frame we're shown. She's a thousand times more interesting and more attractive than he is. I admit I'm biased when it comes to Ferrell - I find him singularly unattractive. The long face, tiny close eyes, brillo hair. Shudder. (I think it's similar to my aversion to Justin Timberlake, whom I find physically repulsive.) Now, someone like John Cusack would have been believable - he could pull off the nerd but bring a bit of the hot as well.

I'm unbelievably shallow.

And that theater didn't even have very good popcorn.


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