For a long time I’ve resisted the impulse to create my own blog due to the sheer volume/morass of other blogs out there and inherent vanity of publishing my own opinions which I felt was lacking in my character. But then I remembered that I’ve been posting my thoughts with great frequency on my website, facebook, and other online channels for several years. Clearly, I had no vanity left.
But, the difference, I assumed, in writing a blog would be the “personal nature” of the posts. I’d have to go and open up my psyche to those internet trolls who had the misfortune of having enough time on their hands to read about about how I felt about this or that local restaurant, how my local barista didn’t serve my coffee with enough fawning, and the usual dreck of people that feel they are being treating unfairly by life and want to rail to the heavens about it.
But this is my blog and can be as superficial and lightweight as I choose. No topic is too vacuous. I’ll leave the people who foam about politics, or this or that social social injustice to be alone with their opinions while I embark on the topics which obsess and perplex me.With that whole rambling intro out of the way, I’d like to talk about the recent movies I’ve stumbled across this week on cable and my random thoughts/criticisms about them.
“Wild” (with reese witherspoon)- (Those darn flashbacks) I started to watch “The wild” yesterday because it had been nominated for Reese Witherspoon’s peformance and I was curious about it. Reese Witherspoon has always struck be as a kind of female Tom Hanks in that she sort of has an “every woman” quality and you automatically root for her every time she sets foot onscreen. The film “The wild” also shares some similarities with Tom Hanks peformance in “Castaway” in that this film too is, in large part, a look at one person’s struggle with nature. The film strives to be a journey both figuratively for the characters psychological growth and literally through her 300 mile trek through some very harsh and unforgiving terrain. For a while we see Witherspoon’s character struggles with her past (drug abuse, divorce, and death) through constantly re-occuring flashbacks. Unfortunately, I found the sudden flashbacks distracting from the main action. Because Witherspoon’s character did not have another character to vent her feelings to, the use of flashbacks were meant to give us some background on why she set off on a 300 mile hike alone and how this trip was meant to cleanse her of past pain. This flashbacks, however, were disjointed and served as brief snapshots that did not allow the audience to get a true sense of this woman’s past life. only brief scenes of her abusing drugs, in the throes of casual sex, or railing at her mom were like a quick 20/20 treatment of the woman’s life Some prolonged 10-20 minute scenes prior to her trek might have filled in more of the blanks and been better for the flow of the piece.
Too “Hot” for Hiking Another thing which bugged me is that each time Witherspoon’s character was getting into some trouble: no food, no water, boots ruined etc, she would be saved by some convenient, usually horny male passerby who offered her just enough but no more than enough aid go get back on her feet and continue her pathetic journey. “Hot women are kinda scarce in these here parts” might have been the subtitle for a lot of these exchanges. Witherspoon’s looks, even without make-up or her usual Legally Blond pluck, was still too much for a lot of the local yokels and, for me, removed much of the danger element necessary for these survivalist flicks. In addition, as soon as one of the male hiker’s or motorists approached Reese, some wife or friend would come by and cut the tension. To be fair, there was one almost-rape scene later that was slightly tense but one gets the sense that even if attacked by some sex starved bark-eater, Reese would have pulled out some fancy judo moves she learned the night before by reading some self-defense manual.
Where’s the epiphany? – When I noticed that there was only 10 minutes left in the film, I feared that the ending would totally suck and I was not mistaken. There was a little obligatory voice-over narration where Reese looks satisfyingly over a bridge at the end of her trek and says some things about redemption blah blah blah but I wondered how, since most of her problems stemmed from her interactions with other people, how she got the tools to go back to her life by spending 3 months away from society. Vacations are nice too but they are only temporary. Not to be a shrink here, but I think Reese spent those 3 hiking months building up her survivalist skills but needed to get to the root cause of a lot of her problems and develop better people skills.
Some random other thoughts about “Inside Llewelyn Davis”-
I won’t talk at-length about this film but, aside from the pleasant soundtrack, much of the film just kind of lay there for me. The taciturn lead of the film, actor Oscar Isaac, had too much of a resemblance to The Jim Gaffigan show’s, foil character, Adam Goldberg so that I kept thinking, “Why didn’t they just get Adam Goldberg”? but other than a few tense exchanges the film, I felt, did little more than create a small time capsule of one forgettable folk singer’s life.