Monday, January 30, 2012

The Descendants... why wait for a theatre near you?

It's a shame when these artistic and beautiful films get pushed out of the way for Hollywood crap like One for the Money or Underworld: Awakenings, but in all fairness I have not yet seen the other aforementioned, and I am only using intuition to assume they are crap. So far I have not failed myself too often with such intuition.

But that is what took place for this latest Alexander Payne movie that was picked up by Fox Searchlight (famous independent branch of Fox known for some great films, but often scrutinized). For a movie released in early November(limited release), and received to such critical acclaim that it is currently sitting at 90% fresh on, it is down right shocking that you barely hear mention of it in passing? Not on radio, not on TV, and not even on the streets.

So finally this weekend a local, "newer" style theatre(i.e. Stadium seating, etc. all the frills) picked up "The Descendants", and not a minute too soon from this movie-goers humble opinion.

(continue below) This powerful movie, powerful being a word that is often over or misused in the film industry but should have been held exclusive for a movie such as this; was yet just another masterpiece to the Alexander Payne repertoire. Breaking so vividly on the scene as a Screenwriter/Director to be reckoned with in 2004 after having huge success with "Sideways"(97% and a few years previous with "About Schmidt"(85% This is Paynes first return to the Tri-role of Producer/Screenwriter/Director since, and let me be the first to say, it was worth the wait. Although, that is somewhat of a lie, as my wife was actually the first one to relay the sentiment that if only all artists took the time to put out such a wonderful product rather than give into the pressures of the powers that be, there would be a lot less crap out there on the scene today.

But it is only amongst that crap that you can fully appreciate such a delicately crafted film.

Without giving away too much, this movie starts out with a thrill seeking mother of two daughters getting hurt in a power boating accident. It is through this that her husband begins to have to re evaluate what is truly important to him in his life, and for him to find a way to tie his family back together, which had been slowly slipping away from him. Through the twists and turns of this sometimes hysterical story, Payne does an amazing job pulling your heart strings in different directions, between sympathy, laughter and finally right back into sadness.

Amazing performance as always from seasoned actors George Clooney, Beau Bridges, Matt Lillard, Robert Forster, and Judy Greer, but the true stars were the new-comer children actors who stole the show. Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller, playing Clooneys daughters, as well as Nick Krause playing the comedic boyfriend, were not only genuinely believable, but they were downright impressive. Much kudos to the casting of this already well written and directed movie.

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This film is just further proof if you take Hollywood out of the picture(no pun intended), things can only become better. If this had been a major box office release, it would have been shot all wrong, it would have been cast entirely improperly, and it would have been half the film it ended up being.

I'm looking forward to future contributions from Mr. Payne in which he has full control of creative direction, and if it takes another 7 and a half years I am fine with it. Someone once said, and a million have since repeated "good things come to those who wait". I'm starting to believe this I think. The only thing you shouldn't wait for is to see this flick.

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