The Words is being touted as a rather sappy movie by critics, but fans seem to like it. It was written and directed by the duo that brought you the recent Tron… Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal and I would tend to forgive them a bit of sappiness. What I really liked was the layering of the plot and the fact that it all revolved around writing. You never knew exactly which turn it might take as to who was doing what to who’s manuscript.
The other thing to commend this movie is the cast. Led by Bradley Cooper, who I think is a fine actor if somewhat one-dimensional (the pretty boy who is only so smart) and then Jeremy Irons as the old man, Dennis Quaid as the uber-author, Olivia Wilde as the love interest for Quaid and a small and rather insignificant role for a favorite character actor, JK Simmons.
This story is worthy of any number of hedge fund managers that overhears a trading play at the Core Club and then meanders back to the desk to pen his or her own variation of the trade. Having Quaid write about the foibles is like a FoF manager layering the trade by including an allocation in the broader FoF portfolio.
The difference here is that you get all this layering without having to double up on the movie fees….which is a big improvement over what happens on the HF circuit.
I generally liked the film and found it more entertaining than not….even if a tad sappy.
[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] B [/dropcap] eneath The Darkness ends with the song “Love Sucks” and that is the single best description of this awful movie…..it sucks. Try as I might, I cannot understand what would possibly compel a good actor like Dennis Quaid to take this sort of script. The director, Martin Guigul, is unaccomplished with his most notable prior film being something called Cattle Call which is a National Lampoon film with a starlet in panties on the poster. The writer is Bruce Wilkinson, who is a rookie screenwriter who should not quit his day job. I was so intrigued by this decision by Quaid that I almost wanted to run a D&B on him to see if he has lent money to his wayward older brother Randy (despite his being a fine actor in his day). Quaid’s filmography is spottier than I realized. He is my age….Class of ’54. He has been churning out B movies since 1975 with only a few minor hits like Parent Trap, The Rookie and The Day After Tomorrow. Not like Randy, who did Last Picture Show, The Last Detail, Brokeback Mountain and more.
So this crappy movie isn’t even a scary movie as it purports. Quad is a Texas undertaker who was the local high school QB. He is basically the Norman Bates of the Mortician trade. The local gang of unlikely teenagers do the classic haunted house dare and find him out. He then proceeds to use his community standing to keep the authorities from believing the teens about his perversions. They keep at it and push Quaid to his limits and eventually to the looney bin. The finishing scene in the straightjacket is an embarrassment to filmmaking.
Demographically-driven businesses always do well if they are aligned with the cycle. If only Quaid knew that he was positioned for greatness in the next few years, maybe he wouldn’t have had the need to preempt the death business to the point of ridiculousness. Invest in death, but steer clear of whatever idiotic rationale lies Beneath The Darkness.
[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] T [/dropcap] o be honest, I am not a big re-make guy. I really never understand why movie makers feel the need to remake really good, iconic films like Footloose. There is one Top Gun, one Legends of the Fall, and one oonstruck. Isn’t there enough new good material out there to justify not re-making oldies? I guess not for the money guys…who think a re-make is a sure thing. The only thing less sure is a sequel in my opinion. At least they waited for 27 years to remake Footloose….unlike The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, where the re-make is coming two years after a very successful first release…..go figure.
The director, Craig Brewer can claim both Hustle & Flow (better than expected) and Black Snake Moan (what was Samuel L. Jackson thinking?), so let’s assume he was up to the task. The casting was always going to be tough given that the 1984 Footloose had the ubiquitous Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn. The good news is that Brewer did not try to compete altogether. Now he did cast Dennis Quaid and Andy MacDowell in supporting roles to anchor the marquee, but then appropriately went with Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough in the lead young dancing star roles..
For every dislike I have for re-makes, Footloose 2011 managed to pleasantly surprise me by freshening up the plot or the details just enough to not outdo the original, but still add a touch of interest. Overall I liked this version of Footloose…..not like the original, but still entertaining.
I like to think of this as the MF Global of films. Look, after Refco, Bear and Lehman, we really didn’t need a repeat lesson in why broker-dealers tend to abuse their client funds…..but look at how entertaining MF Global is turning out to be. We are riveted to the screen by this re-make and they even back one of the old stars….Jon Corzine, who has played more diverse roles in life than Kevin Bacon. I wonder if someone will launch a new board game where Kevin Bacon chases Corzine around the board until he finds and collects $600 million. Wait for Netflix, but then do watch Footloose 2011.