I got a chance to see Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere on New Year’s Day, and would go onto to call it Lost In Translation Lite as I lightly chuckled myself to sleep that night. Stephen Dorff was great, but much of the film’s “real time” aesthetics lost me fairly quickly into its start. I heard Coppola mention on Fresh Air with Terry Gross that she wanted her audience to be on the same page with Dorff’s character from the first scene. Hence the multiple long shots, filming cigarettes being smoked in real time and all that other good artsy stuff. It’s an interesting choice that sometimes works, but can be off-putting. In fact, if you’re out of the right frame of mind, the whole movie can leave you wondering when it’s all going to be over. Not unlike a recent conversation I had about Mad Men, I often fail to buy into uber-subtlety in storytelling – style really only goes so far, in my mind.
Either way, interesting flick, but not one I was in love with; Stephen Dorff’s performance is great. Great acting is something Sofia Coppola is excellent with in all her films.
It’s painful to think that I’m writing something unhappy about the guy who also gave us The Brothers McMullen and She’s The One, but the latest offering from Edward Burns – Nice Guy Johnny – truly takes the cake for what could be a terrible, terrible movie. If you haven’t watched the trailer by now, do so before you read any further. I’ll wait …
Okay, you done? Question: what is that movie about? Seriously, from what the trailer told you, what could you surmise the plot to be other than “It’s about beautiful people who just can’t figure out how to not have sex with each other!”? Here’s the official PR blurb…
Sure, she can be a little overbearing sometimes, but baby-faced Johnny Rizzo loves his fiancée Claire, and he made her a promise: by the time he’s 25-years-old, he’ll trade his current dream job as a local sports talk radio host (even if it is the 2 a.m. slot) for something that’ll pay bigger bucks. And Johnny’s nothing, if not a man of his word.
Now he’s flying to New York to interview for some snoozeville job that Claire’s well-to-do father set up. Enter Uncle Terry, who lives in New York, a rascally womanizer bent on turning a day in the Hamptons into a final fling for his nephew. Nice guy Johnny’s not interested, of course, but then he meets the lovely Brooke…
Where in the Nice Guy Johnny trailer does that story seem to REMOTELY appear? What kind of movie would deliberately mislead an audience, or just not tell them, the plot? The answer: a movie that doesn’t have much to stand on; and the director and studio are painfully aware of that fact.
I think Katherine Heigl could benefit from some serious blacklisting. It would help her steer clear from choosing to act in more candidates for Worst Film of 2010. True – Sandra Bullock kept piling the schlock onto her resume until one piece of schlock won her an Oscar. But Life As We Know It, the latest offer featuring her and Josh Duhamel, is pure schlock with a very clear undertone of morbid. In it, Eric and Holly just don’t get each other – there’s NO WAY these two would ever get together; until their best friends die and leave them in charge of their infant daughter. Because, not only would that happen in real life, but it totally sounds like a great premise for a romantic comedy. Look, I get it – rom coms are easy moneymakers, and Hollywood isn’t going to stop making them. But, seriously – this? This movie looks terrible, and it – sadly – starts with the script. I do predict an upside in marketing to niche religious audiences. Plus, I will give the film credit for literally putting poop on Heigl’s face.
Don’t listen to anything Bill Murray tells you – Ghostbusters 3 is happening! Or, uh, happened. I should know, because I spent my summer working on it. Fed up with waiting for Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd to get the band back together, I decided to assemble my own ghost bustin’ team, and here’s the fruits of our labor – Ghostbusters 3, live on YouTube this morning – written and directed by me, produced by Caitlin Brodnick, and featuring some of the funniest talent in all of New York City. Enjoy internet, happy Friday.
I finally got a chance last week to watch Greenberg, Noah Baumbach’s serio-comedy starring Ben Stiller that released earlier this year (psst, link baiters, the song in the trailer is “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem). In it, Stiller plays the title character: a failed indie rock musician who still nurses his old wounds, and has – in turn – grown to become distant and self-centered at 40 years old; more so than all his friends remember, if I may clarify. Anyway, I loved it. The film is not only funny, dry, has a great soundtrack, and is a remarkable character study, but you can also see that Baumbach didn’t venture far from the script itself, which proves that that method can work. Sometimes.
Which brings me to the point I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: what works and what doesn’t in this life? And when is it okay to admit that, and figure out a new plan from there? At the heart of Greenberg is the story about a man who didn’t get what he wanted, and as a result, he’s been clueless about his next move ever since. Very few films capture arrested development so well, because there are a millions easy pratfalls for a storyteller in that process. And in that same respect, isn’t it so easy to write off people we know in real life with similar problems? The scariest thing in adulthood is “to finally embrace the life you never planned on”. Often times, it seems like the natural human inclination is to run away. But what I got out of Greenberg was that running is rarely a good option. And, if you’re going to run, don’t blame someone else for lacing up your New Balances. True, there is something scary about thinking beyond a life you cherished, or an ideal that helped you sleep at night. But also, you won’t know what else is in store if you keep wondering about what never happened. Keep your head up, work hard, be kind, and don’t get angry when your girlfriend makes you a Pink Floyd mixtape – it could be something amazing.