Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The farther north I go...

The hotter it gets, lately. I've never liked heat. I hate how I feel at the end of a long, hot day and yet It's scheduled to be in the 90's in Milwaukee, except for a day of showers. Man, I'm gonna have to summer in Antarctica to keep cool.

Just watched "Little Miss Sunshine" finally...and I'm glad I didn't see it in a theater. I'd have been angry at paying the $10. I mean, it wasn't was just...hell, I don't know. Obnoxious. Condescending. Lacking in poetry. I did laugh a couple of times but I'd hardly call it a quirky comedy.

Let me make my own obnoxious point here -- two people directed this film yet every camera set-up was from Moviemaking 101. EVERY ONE of them. These two people couldn't find a way to work the images so they added to the story instead of just let it be told in front of the camera?

Case in point -- when Greg Kinnear's character finally hands his father's body off to a funeral home and he's given a box of "personal effects" (how the man's body even HAD any personal effects on it after being worked on in a hospital...we'll let that slide). Anyway, he's given this box, he's standing there and he watches the hearse drive away with a man he'd finally made peace with. This moment ached for a dolly around to show him cradling the box in shock or near tears or something...and Greg Kinnear's a good actor, he'd have given them that "something." This would have maintained the emotion, built it, even. Instead, there's a cut to a frontal shot of him holding the box...and that lessens the impact. Not a huge amount, just enough to show these people didn't care about their characters. Not really.

There are moments like that throughout the film -- like when Paul Dano finds out he's colorblind and Abigail Breslin is the only one who can comfort him, or Steve Carell runs into an old flame and hides his bandaged wrists in shame, or Greg Kinnear finally locates his partner in a business venture -- where all that happened was they put the camera here and the action occurs in front of it and that's all we need. Nothing to help the performances. Nothing to enrich the decent enough script.

I know it was low budget, but that's a weak excuse. Any hack can get a movie shot on time and on budget, no matter how limited, while a filmmaker rises above the limitations or uses them to enhance his art. It's sad, but "Little Miss Sunshine" could have been lovely if a filmmaker had been at the helm; instead it got two hacks.

Lecture over. Now I need to go practice what I preach...albeit, in writing.

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