|08.06.07|| I thought I'd give this another chance now that it's been a few years. I'm generally a Cameron Crowe fan although his last couple have not done what most of his earlier films have for me. Elizabethtown... I don't know that it feels like he's deliberately retreating to safe ground after Vanilla Sky (although Kirsten Dunst's little snapshot mimicry definitely hints at that), but mostly I feel like this is a soup where the ingredients, although fine by themselves, do not quite come together. The atmosphere of rural Kentucky with everyone pointing the way as he enters the town to all the locals with their Southern charm and the whole big family thing works really well I think, but the whole romance bit seems really grafted on and I won't even mention how out of place the whole shoe failure thing is. Mostly I kind of wish that the stewardess never comes back into the story after his flight... I think a big part of this is Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. I... eh... for whatever reason I just think they're both wrong for this movie. I don't like Bloom or Dunst here, I think they're easily the fakest parts of the movie... I mean I get why Crowe included all of these elements and why he cast those people... I just think his target of a movie is at the margins of my target.|
I still think the whole road trip map is really cool and I wish someone would make one for me but again, it feels like a cupcake thrown into the soup. I like cupcakes and I like soup but... not together. Enough food analogies (I'm watching too much Good Eats). I ended up perhaps liking this a bit more than on the first viewing (which was shaded by disappointment), but it's still not my favorite. I'd actually put it on par with Singles.
|10.14.05||Cinemark Pflugerville|| I had it all planned out. Since I didn't like the remake of The Fog enough to even comment on what I didn't like since there was so much of it, I was gonna flat-out love this movie and make a nice neat pair of reviews: sucks, awesome. Unfortunately, while I generally enjoyed myself in this movie, it was not as great as I was hoping it would be. It's probably, after Vanilla Sky, my least enthusiastic reaction to a Cameron Crowe movie to date.|
Not only did it feel like a retreat to safe ground, it also felt like the first hour and a half of the movie is something quickly whipped up to set up a big road trip sequence at the end. Granted, it's like the ultimate road trip idea that I think everyone who watches this movie wishes would happen to them, but it still feels like the armored car robbery sequence in Dead Presidents to me. The rest of the movie feels a bit undercooked. A lot of the supporting characters don't have the love that Crowe's previous mini-parts had (like Todd Louiso's jazz-loving babysitter or Mark Pellington's door security guard)... Jessica Biel, Judy Greer, Loudon Wainwright, and virtually all of the Elizabethtown locals (save Bloom's cousin) are pretty much wasted empty parts... 80% of Kirsten Dunst's quirky charm feels artificial and forced... Bloom as well, especially in his voiceover, seems a bit hurried and rough-sketch in execution. There are moments here and there that are pleasant, and none of the movie is outright bad, but held against Crowe's previous works it falls short. Sure Alec Baldwin gives another Glengarry Glenn Ross-caliber cameo performance in the beginning but you know what, that's like five minutes. Even the music felt really overhanded. I really really REALLY did not think I was tired of the "Cameron Crowe formula" but this feels more like a knock-off than the original.
I also think that Crowe is a much better People filmmaker than Place filmmaker. Aside from knowing that the roads are confusing and the people are friendly, I never really got a sense of Elizabethtown itself. One comment is made about the oppressive heat but I never see anyone sweating or glossy ever. I hear the bugs once but after that, nothing. It made me think back to how well Savannah is handled in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, or pretty much any Coen brothers movie... this seems like it should be more about the place but it can't get away from the people.
It is a pretty sweet idea for a road trip though. I liked it ok, but it wasn't awesome, which is sad because look at all this typing I had to do.