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Teebonesy
12-01-2009, 02:56 AM
Just got out of this movie, which I would describe as the "feel good comedy of the year". It's about a man and his son on a crazy cross-country adventure full of zany characters and mishaps.

I'd link to a trailer, but so far every trailer released for this movie has been atrocious. So instead I'll post some quotes from various critics culled from rottentomatoes.com:

"An emotional highway robbery"
"How could anything so bleak be so promising?"
"You hang on to yourself for dear life"
"set in a world where fear of a living hell is more reasonable than hope of heaven."
"intense and depressing"
"This year's entry in the Movies You Admire and Respect but Don't Ever Want to Watch Again Sweepstakes. "
"It'll leave you exhausted, emotionally spent"
"so harsh it's almost unbearable."

Still interested? Then hunt it down! Scared out of your wits? Then stay away for God's sake!

The rest of this post is spoiler-ridden, so you've been warned.

Firstly, I'm a HUGE fan of the book. It's one of my favorite novels. Unbearably bleak and awful, but told with beautiful prose. This prose often gets lost or muddled in the movie, and you end up occasionally with a long series of depressing images to sentimental music. It doesn't always connect.

It looks amazing. I'm so glad John Hillcoat did the imagery justice, because it was one of the things that seemed totally unfilmable as I read the novel. I think he really did every image justice. Even the most awful, gut-wrenching ones are vividly realized.

The best scene in the movie is Robert Duvall's scene. It's finally a chance to realize some of the prose that can't really come across through voice over and music. Duvall is amazing. The scene is shot through the heat of a fire, with amazing performances and filmmaking. It's dreamlike and haunting, and practically made the movie for me. Duvall's still got it 100%. Wish I could say the same for DeNiro.

I wasn't a big fan of the music, I thought it was a bit too sentimental most of the time. It was from Nick Cave, and I expected better. The flashback sequences were too much alike, and all ending the same abrupt way: "sudden wake-up!!" Do they all need to be such overt dream sequences? It is a very interesting motif turned on its head - he's living in a nightmare, and he jerks awake from sweet dreams.

Anyone else get around to seeing this? I'm particularly interested to know what people thought of it who DIDN'T read the book.

supersickie
12-01-2009, 12:09 PM
Reading your post - spoilers included - I'm not sure if you liked or hated the film. I can't say I was even slightly amped for it, but I didn't think it looked as horrendous as I Am Legend.

Teebonesy
12-01-2009, 09:32 PM
Reading your post - spoilers included - I'm not sure if you liked or hated the film. I can't say I was even slightly amped for it, but I didn't think it looked as horrendous as I Am Legend.

I didn't at ALL hate the film. In fact I thought it was an admirable effort in realizing the novel, and for the most part pretty uncompromising. But I never really thought that it would make an easy transition to the screen, and it still doesn't. the gap is in the poetry of the book. You can't really translate that. The music doesn't do it; the flashbacks don't do it; the voice over doesn't do it... The Robert Duvall scene does it. A couple of little moments here and there get it. But the movie falls into the problem of being an extensively bleak series of horrific events, and without the prose that accompanies it in the book, it just doesn't work as well.

So, I hate to say it, but ultimately I think what I'm getting at is, "it's good, but not as good as the book". Which is the classic movie-adaptation cop-out review.

SHENOA77
12-02-2009, 07:06 PM
I found a copy of this book in a D.C. airport and I thought, "It's free, why not read it." Turned out to be one of the best I've read. If you think it's depressing, you miss the point of the ending. I like to think of a flower growing in a crack on a NYC sidewalk. That's pretty close... the entire book is a set-up for the author's fundamental point in my humble opinion.

Teebonesy
12-02-2009, 09:22 PM
I found a copy of this book in a D.C. airport and I thought, "It's free, why not read it." Turned out to be one of the best I've read. If you think it's depressing, you miss the point of the ending. I like to think of a flower growing in a crack on a NYC sidewalk. That's pretty close... the entire book is a set-up for the author's fundamental point in my humble opinion.

The book was beautiful even in the awful scenes. One of my favorite recurring struggles in the book was the man's constant attempts to remember the world. "You forget some things. You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."

"Make a list. Recite a litany. Remember."

I thought both book and movie betrayed themselves a slight bit by giving the boy a happy ending so SOON. He doesn't really deal with a single hardship in the world before being basically swept up by "the good guys". I think it's an incredibly bold move of optimism to give the boy this respite, and I'm so glad it happens - but I feel it happens so SOON after the death of his father that it's almost a juxtaposition against everything that's come before. Here's what I would like to have seen: One act of kindness by the boy to another on the bleak road. He's always trying to be kind in spite of his father, against the wishes of his father, and now he can do it freely. Perhaps this is a harsh lesson for him. This is one thing i would have liked to see before giving him the respite of the "good guys".

That being said, it's one of my favorite books of all time. There's one moment very early on in the movie that I think also finds the poetry in the book.
The film opens with a dream of the old world, green and alive. In the middle of all these sugary pictures of flowers and horses, the camera decides to focus on one detail of this world, to focus intensely on it: the porch light. It isn't putting out much light. It's dirty. it's slightly flickering. There's something about this image that the dreamer is unable to sustain. And so we wake up on the road.

TripleTremelo
12-14-2009, 11:15 AM
Wait a second... is this movie based on Cormac McCarthy's The Road?

I've had that on my shelf for awhile now, I LOVED No Country, (book and movie) so I've been meaning to read this, had no clue they made a movie.

Alex™
12-14-2009, 04:01 PM
What a funny song... ;)