|Title:||The Trip to Greece|
|08.21.20||Internet|| This is supposedly the last one of these trips that Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, and Michael Winterbottom are taking. My memory of the last film is being disappointed that I didn't watch the show version instead, so this time around I wasn't terribly keen on watching the film. Instead, I was very keen to track down all four seasons of the show to see what I missed in the other ones, then get the "full experience" of their Greek adventure. This proved more than a little difficult and I was only able to find SD versions of the first three and 720p versions of the fourth. Still, even in cloudy low-res, I very much liked every episode of the show. With a structure such as this (where we follow two friends on a road trip and watch them eat at fancy restaurants), the magic is in the atmosphere and air of the conversations... the subtle moments between them as they drive or sit and eat or do whatever. The lack of much plot is perhaps why they could re-cut each season into a film for US audiences but it's also why it works a thousand percent better as six half-hour episodes rather than a 100-minute movie. You might think the film versions are just "best-of" compilations of the show... and that might be true for some, but I suspect for most it also guts the nuance and discovery of the piece. In broad strokes, we're meant to think that it's Brydon putting up with Coogan, but I got a very different sense with the show. I think the movies undercut Brydon's insecurity that makes him a more interesting character, as well as occasional moments where Coogan's bravado relents.|
But I guess it's not hard to say that a thing that is good because you like hanging out with these two people is even better if you get to do it twice as long. It's just weird that, on the Internet anyway, the artifacts that will persist are the films and not the show. But... 24 episodes later, I came to a realization: that i would have to watch the fourth movie to be able to write these notes about it. After all, this is a movie blog not a TV blog. I feel like there's some irony in there somewhere. So tonight I put the movie on and basically re-watched half the season just to make this entry.
I think most of this movie stands on the shoulders of the previous three. The most interesting stuff to me was seeing how Coogan and Brydon relate to supporting characters that we've seen in snippets throughout the years. Namely, Emma, Steve's assistant; Yolanda, the photographer; Sally, Rob's wife; and Joe, Steve's son. It's not only 10 years for the leads of these four projects but for the others as well, and they rarely get more than an episode's screen time to fill in their life. Whether it's editing or actual personality shift, Coogan laughs much more this time around, and seems to value the relationships that he has much more than in the past. And it's really these barest of story threads that the season hangs onto for structure because everything else is verbal sparring, imitation one-upsmanship, and travel photography. Which is great, because these movies are 100% hang-out movies. I doubt I could compete in any of their conversations, but nonetheless I feel like I've along with them on these journeys which is quite fun. I'm a bit sad we won't be getting together again in a few years, but I suppose you never know.