December 29, 2008

I saw the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," about a man who is born old and grows younger.

Afterwards I read the F. Scott Fitzgerald story with the same title, and it seemed to me that we ourselves are living backwards, because the old story is crisp and unsentimental, and the new movie long, slow-moving, and nearly all soft edges. We younger ones are older.

Or, no. We like to think of ourselves as younger than the people who lived years ago, but we are the ones who live in an older culture. Even though F. Scott Fitzgerald would be terribly old -- 112 -- if he were still alive, he lived in a younger culture. So it's not backwards at all for us to be the ones who've gone all soft and sentimental.

Sentimental things that are in the movie but not in the story [spoiler alert]: baby Benjamin's mother dies in childbirth, his father is horrified by his old-man baby and abandons him on a doorstep, he's brought up by a kindly black woman, his love interest is named Daisy, he earnestly loves her all his life, she's a ballet dancer, she dances in the moonlight, she suffers a crippling injury, we see her as an old woman reminiscing and dying, there are churches full of histrionic black people, the Button family actually makes buttons, Benjamin sails the seas, Benjamin goes to Russia and to Paris, there's lightning, there's a hurricane, Benjamin carries his father down to the waterside to watch the sunrise, various characters philosophize about the transiency of life and the need to accept death, etc. etc.

88 comments:

Zachary Paul Sire said...

So, did you like it...or? I did not.

My cousin was in it. She was one of the ballet dancers (an extra, basically), and it's the only reason I saw the damn movie. 5 seconds of screen time for her, 3 hours of utter misery for me.

Ann Althouse said...

It was okay. It would have been much better if it were tightened up... and livened up. Like many high-budget, high-aspiration movies of today, it was embalmed. Its "I have always loved you" theme was very conventional, and I never felt much real passion between the 2 lead actors. And neither of them ever said anything clever. But there were some excellent special effects in aging and youthening Pitt and Blanchett, and there were some nice moments. Where to cut? You can cut all whole old dying woman and her daughter scenes, as far as I'm concerned. Reminded me of "Titanic," bringing in an old, old woman to tell the story of her big love to her daughter.

Palladian said...

Sounds like a miserable Oscar-bait remake of "Big". Just the title sends shivers up my spine. And Brad Pit and Cate Blanchett? Can there be two more overexposed, boring actors on the planet?

And seeing a billboard advertising the movie on Houston Street I was again reminded the art of the movie poster has hit bottom. Seriously, is there a computer program that generates these execrable things? I call them "big head/bad font" posters and that's basically the extent of them. Big, cropped, staring heads of the "stars" accompanied by unimaginative decorative fonts. Seriously, can we do an intervention? What's the last great movie poster design that anyone remembers?

Palladian said...

"and I never felt much real passion between the 2 lead actors"

Because the 2 lead actors don't have a drop of real passion in their overpriced veins!

Oh, here's the boring poster. Cate looks like Angelina after a lip reduction and Brad is starting to look freeze-dried. Does that poster make you want to see the movie? All I want them to do is turn sideways so I can try to see the vase.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I love Cate Blanchett (anyone seen "Notes On A Scandal"? Now that's a good movie)...but Brad Pitt has never, ever been interesting to me. I can't think of one movie he's been in that I've enjoyed. Maybe "12 Monkeys," but that's because he was a supporting character. He and Cate, like Althouse said, had absolutely no passion or believability. Lifeless. Boring.

Palladian said...

And why do people think Brad Pitt is so sexy? Snore.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

There's certainly a difference between being "sexy" and being "handsome," isn't there...

EDH said...

Compared with prior generations, perhaps, we are older.

As for the span of a single life, however, what ever happened to... Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now?

mariam said...

I am glad I was not the only ambivalent viewer of that movie. My mom and younger sister were both quite enthralled with the movie, but agreeing with Zachary Paul Sire, I would say that I found his role in 12 monkeys far more amusing.

I actually kind of enjoy his role in the Ocean's 11/12/13 series, though I don't enjoy the movies solely for his presence either.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I agree with Palladian (teehee). The poster is awful-how many times do we have to be subjected to those kind of posters? Are we supposed to be awe struck by them? Blech.

I also agree with ZPS-loved Notes on a Scandal-one of my favs.

I saw the movie and liked it. It was long but I thought it was kind of interesting.

Why do interesting film directors have to go the way of the big box office though? I liked his earlier films much better.

For the most part I hate almost every movie that comes out because I find them too boring and too much made for "normal America". I also hate sitting in a movie theater for two hours with other people.

I did like three movies very much this year: Frozen River, Wendy and Lucy and The Wrestler. Milk I liked as well.

On a seperate note I have a fear of the dentist. I am only able to go once a year because I literally freak out 24 hours before I go. I have to be sedated, gased and anything else to go. I go every year in January but I now have a toothache so I have to go tomorrow and I am freaking out.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I could never watch Oceans whatever number. The thought of seeing them makes me cringe.

Watching any movie with Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, and so many other popular actors is foreign to me.

I actually saw a great movie on IFC last week. I can't remember the name but it was Japanese and it was a black and white movie shot in the 60's. It was about a guy who was a scientist but who's face was damaged so badly he needed to wear bandages. He ended up getting a new face. I read about it afterwards and it was from some Avant Garde director from Japan. I like shit like that. You know Avant Garde-that's me.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I read somewhere more than 1/2 of the top 10 grossing movies this year were either cartoons or comic book characters.

I haven't even seen Batman. It is on Ondemand now so I might watch it. Is Batman good?

I did enjoy season finale of Summer Heights High. I loved the high school drama production's show.

Chris said...

I picked up The Dark Knight and didn't even finish it. Everything up to the point where I gave up was hackneyed and obvious. I'll have to give it another try in a couple of months.

Beth said...

The more days I am from having seen it, the more little "hey, that didn't add up" moments I think of. I too could have done without the entire mother/daughter hospital plot. I kept dreading possible outcomes, and that was a distraction.

And no, there's no real chemistry between the leads. There were much more appealing relationships -- b/w Benjamin and the folks in the home, mainly. And the tugboat captain was a favorite of mine.

But I am a partisan for it still; there are lots of movies shot in New Orleans, and this one made such wonderful use of places I love. The bandstand where Daisy does her nighttime dance is one where my friends and I would perform late at night, running wild in the park as teens. Lanaux House, the setting for the Button household, was also the setting for the nasty Gallier sibling household in the 1982 version of Cat People. Overall, I just loved our streets and houses and streetcars and greenery. It all looked so good.

chuck b. said...

I always enjoy the Althousian disdain for sentimentality (or is it a midwesterner's disdain? or maybe it's just very lawyerly), although I myself enjoy many sentimental films.

Actually, I'm not very good at recognizing sentimentality when I see it. I just let myself get played.

(although I don't cry as much during commercials and sentimental television things as much as Althouse does. Actually, that's interesting. A'house report tearage not infrequently. Does that have something to do with her negative reactions toward...ineffective sentimentality?


Oh, who cares.


I watched Savage Grace last night, the movie with J. Moore about the Baekeland family two generations south of the Bakelite fortune. I had to avert my eyes during the incest, but otherwise I loved it.

But then I'm a sucker for Mediterranean languor. How do you spell Mediterranean?

chuck b. said...

I've had two pints of sparkling wine tonight.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Beth, I agree...it really was a beautiful movie to look at. But, that was it, for me.

So far my favorites of the year are still Wall-E and Slumdog...and I just saw the Wrestler last night, which was freaking fantastic. Marisa Tomei's tits look great...what is she, 40-something?

Palladian said...

I cry at the end of "It's A Wonderful Life".

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Pussy

Beth said...

Thinking more, I realize my point earlier is that New Orleans is a character in the movie, and one with which Benjamin has actual chemistry.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Actually, I cried at the end of "Mannequin" the other night when Kim Cattrall realized she didn't have to be a mannequin anymore and could live happily ever after with Andrew McCarthy. Such a good movie.

Beth said...

Zachary, if I watch it again on DVD, it will be to enjoy the visuals. I can do without Pitt's and Blanchett's accents as well. They're not very New Orleans.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I saw Sleepaway Camp the other night and loved it.

Is this the all gay blog comment section?

chuck b. said...

I almost cried when Tamra got upset that her son tattooed "nugget" to the inside of his lower lip. She declared herself a failure as a mother. She was sooo drunk.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

The only good news about going to the dentist tomorrow is he gives me good drugs.

He is a big liberal. His wife works at the front desk and his dog runs around the office.

My dentist is a straight queen. Every time I go in there he shows me one of his new Yoga poses that he has just conquered.

chuck b. said...

I only got online to buy Magda squash and kabocha seeds. Honestly, I don't even know what I'm doing here.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

You are so right about New Orleans being a character, Beth. It was the most vibrant part of the movie. I was also slightly intrigued by the movie's obsession with water. I realize that water is often seen as a symbol for birth/re-birth, and thought they used it well. Spoilers: The dad nearly throws Pitt in the water in the beginning, Pitt takes the dad to sit by the water, Tilda Swinton swims the English Channel, all of the work Pitt does on the boat and the sailing, Daisy takes up swimming after her injury, Hurricane Katrina...anything else?)

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I got a little hard when Kate Blanchett was fucking that high school kid by the railroad tracks in Notes on A Scandal. I wish the high school kid in that movie would of been a little hotter though.

chuck b. said...

"My dentist is a straight queen."

I loathe heterosexual gay men. What's the phobicity for that?

My dentist is a feisty latina and I am devoted to her. As a regular flosser and non-drinker of sugary beverages, my teeth are always clean and my gums are "tight". I love it when she tells me my gums are tight. Noone else tells me that.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

Is New Orleans even the city us tourists once use to love to go down to party at?

I have a friend that actually moved back there last year because he is orignally from Baton Rouge and his mother was getting older so he went back to be closer to her.

He is the Director of HR at Loyola-is that right-is that the college?

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I have been thinking about going to New Orleans for a weekend to see him.

It is the only city in the south I ever actually liked.

chickenlittle said...

chuck b. wrote: I always enjoy the Althousian disdain for sentimentality (or is it a midwesterner's disdain?

Since when do midwesterners disdain sentimentality? It must be Althousian.

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Palladian said...

"Actually, I cried at the end of "Mannequin" the other night when Kim Cattrall realized she didn't have to be a mannequin anymore and could live happily ever after with Andrew McCarthy. Such a good movie."

Kim Cattrall Kim Cattrall... Kim Kim Kim Kim Kim Cattrall... You were in Mannequin and that was a really good movie...

chuck b. said...

I was in N'awlins once for a week, drunk the whole time. I ate every meal at Paul Prudhomme's place (spelling?!) and marvelled at the cockroaches on the sidewalk that came out when the sun went down. I walked all the way back to my hotel stepping on one cockroach after another, like stepping stones. God, what a great town.

Palladian said...

"It's A Wonderful Life" is a perfect movie. I know that some people think it's commie propaganda and that some douchebag at the New York Times (natch) trashed it this year, but still. Brilliantly detailed, perfect performances. Sob, sob.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I've actually never watched the entire "It's A Wonderful Life" from beginning to end. I've also never watched an entire episode of "The Simpsons" from beginning to end. Some things just don't appeal to me.

chuck b. said...

I've never seen It's a Wonderful Life, even a little bit of it.

Palladian said...

"I've actually never watched the entire "It's A Wonderful Life" from beginning to end."

"I've never seen It's a Wonderful Life, even a little bit of it."

Watch it. I think people who haven't seen it get the wrong idea about it from the fact that it's become a "Christmas movie". But it's not a "Christmas movie" at all. It manages to negotiate comedy and tragedy, despair and happiness in a way that most contemporary movies can't do. It's really a well-constructed film.

Beth said...

Zachary - well, we are surrounded by water. I live a few blocks from the river, and work by the lake. In between, I cross several canals and a bayou (not the spooky Cajun bayou - a lovely waterway that connects the city to the lake). If birth and rebirth are themes in the movie, this is a good place for it.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Palladian said "It's A Wonderful Life" is a perfect movie.

You're so right. I love that movie. So many great characters.

The women in my family made me take them to see Benjamin yesterday. I agree that it was beautiful to look at. The end bothered me. I just couldn't buy the dude turning into a senile baby.

Beth said...

titus - yes, it's very much still the tourist city. Most of the parts that are far from recovery are not really on the tourist route (though, of course, someone will take you on a "Katrina Tour" when you visit.)

Come see your friend - yes, Loyola is a university. It's on the streetcar line, on St. Charles, adjacent to Tulane University and across from Audubon Park - lots of beautiful people running there every afternoon. I'm sure you'll enjoy the view.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Next time Wonderful Life is on...I will watch it. And I will think of Palladian while doing so!

Joan said...

Notes on a Scandal was brilliant. This thread reminded me I had seen it on DVD some time ago. Cate Blanchett is one of those actresses who often makes poor choices (Indiana Jones 4) but really can act.

I'd put Brad Pitt in the same category. He was luminous in Thelma and Louise, and brilliant in Fight Club and 12 Monkeys. I guess I like him better psycho than charming, but I enjoyed his turn in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, he actually had screen chemistry with Angelina.

Having said all that, I have no desire whatsoever to see this movie -- maybe I'll watch it in a year or two when it's in rotation on HBO. I can't be bothered to make more of an effort than that for something that sounds so schmaltzy.

If I want to be emotionally manipulated, I'll join Palladian in enjoying It's a Wonderful Life. I don't care who dumps on it, I'll always love it, and only partly because Jimmy Stewart is so evocative of my father. (BTW, "That's some bad hat, Harry," is a quote from that movie.) I agree that it's a perfect movie.

Beth said...

Palladian, I like IAWL, too. I've avoided it for a few years after overdosing on it, but I don't feel embarrassed to admit it makes me cry.

chickenlittle said...

But it's not a "Christmas movie

That's right. I think it only got labeled that because of the unusual parenthetical time sequence- begins and ends on the same Christmas Eve. And it's not even religious- despite the appearance of angels and all. It is however, a highly moral story- but it only really rips on greed and money. what's not to like?

LoafingOaf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoafingOaf said...

I don't see a Palin thread amongst the recent posts. Bristol Palin gave birth, and the drug her baby daddy's momma was busted over was (as LoafingOaf predicted in the comments of the thread on this) OxyContin.

It wasn't hard to guess. The National Enquirer had run a story during the campaign that the Palin kids were involved with OxyContin. Track Palin was an all-out OxyContin fiend of Rush Limbaugh proportions, according to the story. I guess maybe Levi's mom sold him some.
The mainstream media brushed this under the rug to go soft on Palin.

No word yet on when Bristol and Levi will be married. The National Enquirer had also reported that Levi didn't wanna marry her. We shall see.

chickenlittle said...

I don't see a Palin thread amongst the recent posts.

I noticed Zach has one up at his blog.

LoafingOaf said...

I still haven't seen It's A Wonderful Life. I have always meant to, even though the title is a big lie. But I liked that other movie Mr. Smith Goes To Washington a lot. When I was in college I was briefly a member of the student Political Action Committee and we were coming up with ideas for political movies to show the student body. When I suggested Mr. Smith Goes To Washington I almost got laughed out of the room by people who never even saw it. It was perceived as too "uncool" compared to all the pro-commie contemporary flicks they wanted to screen. I still think it was a good choice, though.

Palladian said...

"Next time Wonderful Life is on...I will watch it. And I will think of Palladian while doing so!"

Excellent!

"Palladian, I like IAWL, too. I've avoided it for a few years after overdosing on it, but I don't feel embarrassed to admit it makes me cry."

Yeah, I kind of wish it wasn't shown every year, people do get kind of burned out on it.

"That's right. I think it only got labeled that because of the unusual parenthetical time sequence- begins and ends on the same Christmas Eve. And it's not even religious- despite the appearance of angels and all. It is however, a highly moral story- but it only really rips on greed and money. what's not to like?"

Yes, it's incredibly moral without being preachy in any way. And both conservatives and liberals think it's their kind of film.

Palladian said...

Sarah Palin's pussy still has a hold on your ankle, eh Pinching Loaf?

"I still haven't seen It's A Wonderful Life. I have always meant to, even though the title is a big lie."

Yes, it certainly is if we're talking about your life.

LoafingOaf said...

Very good movie for New Years: The Hudsucker Proxy. I watch it every year 'round this time.

Beth said...

Yes, it's incredibly moral without being preachy in any way. And both conservatives and liberals think it's their kind of film.

Because it's a great American film. It IS for both our kinds.

Palladian said...

"Because it's a great American film. It IS for both our kinds."

Yes! Most of the films that I love manage to walk that line.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

So, is Bristol's baby's name one last dig at Hillary from the Palin family?

Sarah's first grandchild is named after Hillary's husband's nemesis...Linda Tripp! Sarah always manages to one-up Hillary!

LoafingOaf said...

I'm sorry, Palladian. I always count on there being a recent Palin thread on this blog for when I need to get some Palin hate out of my system. I guess it was trollish to post that.

I'm also sorry I don't find life so wonderful. Will the movie change my mind? I still smile through most days, though. Life is depressing but you may as well life at it.

Sometimes I come to Althouse blog and the prof's life seems so perfect, and I've never been able to detect any terrible, or even messy, things going on beneath the surface. She's even chummy with her ex, and her sons seem way too well-adjusted. Does she keep it hidden, or is she for real? She seems so "together" I feel if I browse her blog enough it will rub off on me a little. But I do wanna determine whether she just keeps it hidden or if her having her shit so "together" is for real.

EDH said...

The end bothered me. I just couldn't buy the dude turning into a senile baby.

Sounds like the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

LoafingOaf said...

Oh, well, at least Sarah Palin's life and family turned out to be a mess.

Beth said...

LoafingOaf, I'm just making a guess here, so cut me some slack if I'm offbase.

You might find life a little less depressing if you cut back on the hating, just a bit. Take Palin, for example. She's not running for anything right now. She lost. Why bother looking for a Palin thread anywhere? I know, I know; there are scores of conservatives who can't get through a day without hating on Algore or blaming Bill Clinton for today's crappy economy or holding out for Obama's super-secret African birth certificate -- but they're not good examples for you to follow.

I'm not saying you should be Mary Sunshine, but a small adjustments might be in order. If you just keep your targets of anger current, you'll cut back on a lot of unneccessary bile. And that will increase the room for a bit of wonder in your life.

chickenlittle said...

She's even chummy with her ex, and her sons seem way too well-adjusted. Does she keep it hidden, or is she for real?

My ex-girlfriend is chummy with my wife. She's coming to visit next weekend--with her husband. We all laugh and joke about the past.
My point is that you can choose to get past horrible hurts in the past--or not. It all depends on the parties involved (and their will to party)

Palladian said...

"Oh, well, at least Sarah Palin's life and family turned out to be a mess."

A mess? She was nominee for vice-president. She has a beautiful family. If you want a mess you should look to yourself and figure out why this woman drove you crazy, why this woman turned you from an interesting commenter to a bitter, twisted loser. Take Beth's advice, Mr Sullivan, and chill out.`

reader_iam said...

the old story is crisp and unsentimental

Indeed.

chickenlittle said...

reader_iam said: the old story is crisp and unsentimental

Exsqueeze me?
baking soda?

reader_iam said...

Here's a weird-ass quirk of mine:

For years now, anywhere and everywhere I see the name "Benjamin" used in a narrative (especially a grand, old one) I substitute plain old "Ben." Amazing, how well that works and the perspective it brings.

(Of course, Benjamin-to-Ben is not the only conversion I employ to the same end.)

Freeman Hunt said...

For years now, anywhere and everywhere I see the name "Benjamin" used in a narrative (especially a grand, old one) I substitute plain old "Ben." Amazing, how well that works and the perspective it brings.

OT: I studied Arabic one summer during college, and there was a white guy in the program named Benjamin who insisted we all call him Ben-yah-meen. That experience, I think, has much the same effect on Benjamin perspective.

reader_iam said...

chickenlittle: Note my use of italics, which indicate a direct pick-up from elsewhere, and in this case from Althouse in her original post, right here.

I'm a little surprised by your comment, in this context and instance. Guess I missed some memo or another. Oh well.

chickenlittle said...

sorry reader, I'm still reeling from your quirks beginning at 8.22PM over at Chez York's
??

chickenlittle said...

My bad reader. I only word searched the comment section for you quote.

forgive?

reader_iam said...

Freeman Hunt: That doesn't strike me as OT, but then ...

that's just me talkin'.

reader_iam said...

ch-li: oh, whatever; link wherever you like--it's not like it's gonna surprise or shock anyone; and in any case people are gonna think whatever they [wanna] think, along whatever lines they long ago decided; and they'll only think "could it be irony?" if it suits 'em, anyway.

lol.

chickenlittle said...

ch-li: oh, whatever; link wherever you like--it's not like it's gonna surprise or shock anyone; and in any case people are gonna think whatever they [wanna] think, along whatever lines they long ago decided; and they'll only think "could it be irony?" if it suits 'em, anyway.

All those deletions of freaked me out. I felt awful for an hour afterwards--really bad--guilty bad, like what did I do. Then you wrote like it was cruel joke.

fivewheels said...

I actually think that as overrated as Pitt is as a celebrity, that has perversely made him underrated as an actor. Movies I like in which Pitt has been a positive force: 12 Monkeys, True Romance, Fight Club, Snatch, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the Ocean's movies, The Assassination of Jesse James, Burn After Reading. Movies in which he annoyed me: Se7en, Babel.

Not a bad ledger. I'll probably see this despite what sound like dead-on criticisms by our Althouse.

Chris said...

I had a girlfriend who hated sentimental films a ways back. She was a lawyer (come to think of it she was into financial restructuring--damn, she's probably in hog heaven right now).

OT: I'm sure this has been noted by some commenter already, but looking at Ann with the cheesy poster effects makes me think she should hire Sheppard Fairey to make a picture of her. Or perhaps some art wiz could mock something up.

TitusLastofTheFamousInternationalPlayboys said...

I have never watched It's a Wonderful Life from beginning to end.


I always left it when he lost his money or the banks money or something like that. I felt bad for him. Not as bad as I feel for myself though having to go to the dentist very soon.

LarsPorsena said...

"Slumdog Millionaire" is still the best picture of the year.

It's the "It's A Wonderful Life" for the new millenium.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Movies I like in which Pitt has been a positive force: 12 Monkeys, True Romance

True Romance? Huh? If memory serves he was in that movie for about 25 seconds and played a pot smoking dreg who laid on the couch watching tv all day.

Fight Club he was good in. Ocean movies not bad. Outside of that he's window dressing to bring the females to the theater.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yes, it's incredibly moral without being preachy in any way. And both conservatives and liberals think it's their kind of film.

I missed the moral lessons and the anti-capitalist messages and saw the lesson of how much of an impact you as an individual have on other people's lives. Whether it be for good or ill depends on what kind of person you are.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Oh and if Freder is around, It's A Wonderful Life is also a fine example of how individuals working together can make a difference rather than waiting for Uncle Nanny to come save us.

Sofa King said...

I always enjoy the Althousian disdain for sentimentality (or is it a midwesterner's disdain?

It's a German thing that often shows up in the Midwest.

ricpic said...

Althouse hit it: embalmed. The whole thing was embalmed from start to finish. Which doesn't take away from the technical wizardry or Pitt's acting chops, which frankly surprised me. But otherwise, emblamed. Yup.

Ann Althouse said...

"emblamed"

Yeah, that too.

DARWIN POBLETE said...

i thought the film itself was unsentimental- it could be from the passive and cool portrayal of button by pitt (see his reaction at church at his mother's funeral...or his reaction to any funeral). david fincher also directs it with an emotional distance...it's not forest gump sentimentality. even daisy dies alone with her daughter out of the room and with only katrina outside her window. (is the counterclockwise rotation of the hurricane supposed to symbolize the backwards clock that katrina will flood in the end?)

there was a line in the film where someone said at death 'you just have to learn how to let go,' and it seems like the film was built around that premise.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You're nothing but a warped, frustrated old man, Mr. Loafer!

Ann Althouse said...

"there was a line in the film where someone said at death 'you just have to learn how to let go,' and it seems like the film was built around that premise."

That line was said at least 3 times, in case anyone missed it, and it's on my list of sentimental things ("various characters philosophize about the transiency of life and the need to accept death"). Sorry, I consider it a sentimental (and banal) idea. It's what someone who wanted to spend the least possible time reflecting on death would come up with.

KLDAVIS said...

Posted this in the meta-thread, but it makes more sense here:

Haven't seem the movie, but a bartender I was talking to recently had. He said it was the first movie he's seen that appeared to have had a cocktail consultant. They drank vodka correctly (with caviar), and mixed up sazeracs in New Orleans (one of my favorite beverages, without a doubt).

Did anyone else notice the cocktails?

Methadras said...

A more interesting movie for Pitt to be in would have been modeled after Piers Anthony's "On a Pale Horse". He would have been perfect for that role. One of my favorite series, The Incarnations of Immortality series that covers things like Death, Time, War, Evil, Good, Fate, etc. etc. as actual occupations that people seem to find themselves in one way or the other.

However, I also realize that in typical Hollywood fashion they would completely butcher this wonderful story into a series of explosions, a few gratuitous nudity scenese where the leads would stress and strain under the press junkets about how difficult it is to do nudity, but if the script calls for it, well, that's okay because it's about the 'craft' afterall, some feeble hook involving a child as a metaphor for some deeper message that no one will get, but will be revealed on rotten tomatoes, badly worded dialogue and that ridiculous head-ache inducing, quick scene changing, shakey camera work that looks cool, but reveals nothing and is confusing during fight scenes and car chases.

reader_iam said...

It's what someone who wanted to spend the least possible time reflecting on death would come up with.

I hesitated to say this earlier, and frankly I'm still hesitant, but this rings so true to me, given my my mother's situation over the past year, first (and ongoing) with ALS and then various botched stuff having to do with abdominal surgery (when finally the underlying issue was pinpointed and the proper place for dealing with it was found) and three separate hospital infections before she got back home, and to a yet more changed life. But: Life!

Life.

reader_iam said...

Wish I could do effects, the way Palladian and Chip Ahoy can and do.