Stories of Friendship, Family, Fun and Food.
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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wise Movie(s) Review

It always surprises me to see what exactly motivates me to sit down and write (or blog). This past week, the Chef & I spent most of our time painting the guest room, our bedroom and the living room whilst discussing the future career paths we were pondering (see future blog on this topic). During the week, the Ffrench twins (high school friends) came out for a visit (twice) and we discussed the movie Australia which they had already seen. As it was already downloading we decided to curl up with a nice bottle of wine and enjoy the company of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman for the evening. I have finished the rest of the commentary down below the image of Australia the movie because I actually thought the movie we just finished watching a few minutes ago was better!

Now I know that in order to love this movie, one would have to be a dog lover. I do understand this, because I am (as is the Chef) true dog lovers. For the first 1/2 an hour I was a little annoyed by the raucous behaviour of the puppy, the bad acting of Owen Wilson (not sure he has even done a great job as an actor) and lets be honest about Jennifer Anniston - she made her fame and money during the years of Friends (I was never an avid follower) and that was about as great as I ever expected her acting to be.

The screenplay was written by Scott Frank (Little Man Tate, The Interpreter, Flight of the Phoenix) & Don Roos (Single White Female, Boys on the Side) and I was hopeful that they would make it memorable. WOW - did they ever. I am going out on a limb here and letting you all know that Owen Wilson can actually act. OK, it took him almost the entire duration of the movie to see what he is capable of, but he delivered.

The writers of this movie brought reality to the table. A marriage that goes through ups and downs, loss of a baby, a dog that destroys their house and keeps babies from napping, a couple that struggle to remember who they were before the kids came along, how they have changed or adapted to the new condition's of family, jobs (or lack thereof) and the threat of separation or divorce because sometimes you are just too tired to fight to get through the harder times.

As the story unfolds, the dog is there from destructo puppy hood all the way to the last day of his life at the vets office. My favourite quote from the movie was " A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his - Forever" . Don't you wish humans could learn from this!
Keep reading for a very honest review of Australia!

I will freely admit that I was dying to watch this because I LOVE HUGH JACKMAN. I do. Not because he is a super talented actor - just because he is cute and I am a huge X-MEN fan. Not to worry readers, the Chef is aware of my obsession and seeing as Nicole Kidman shared the limelight in this flick (his fav. female actor) he indulged me as we nestled in for a evening of wine and romance watching this chick flick.
I did not like it at all. I almost want to say I hated it, but I think that is a little harsh. Actually, no, I am just furious after watching it! I think what really happened was Baz Luhrmann co-wrote this with Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean) and as Baz has enough money to make the world go round, no-one told him it sucked!
It was Australia's attempt at a Gone with the Wind type of movie and even the cover image looks like a Mills & Boon (Harelequin) romance novel cover. Not that there is anything wrong with those, it was just not what I was expecting.
I must have set my expectations too high (ok, WAY too high). See, I had heard this movie was about the history of Australia during WW 2 and the mis-treatment of half cast (bi-racial children). Needless to say this would be something of great interest to me as my children are of that kind.
What I waded through (for 3 + hours) was a poorly written VERY HOLLYWOOD story of 2 people thrown together during the war in Australia and a little boy (awfully cute) becomes part of their life. If the story had the basics like a great beginning, one main climax and a killer happy ending, then it is possible I would have tolerated the cheesy one liners and camera grins from Hugh Jackman (sellout) and the stiff as a poker acting from Nicole Kidman (who can do soooooooooo much better).
But, NO! This movie started weirdly like an out of the west movie (Think old Clint Eastwood movie - crossed with the Mask of Zorro - Sorry - but it felt like that), then moved on to have 3 or even 4 climaxes, love found, cattle run completed, love lost, child lost or dead, love found again and then somewhere along the way after 3 + hours, they all lived happily ever after only the little boy left to go walkabout with his grandfather.
Bad, bad writing. Glad I did not pay for it!
Let us compare the 2, shall we?
With Marley & Me (in my humble opinion) the writers sucked you in to what is real today, right here, right now. Although I am not a fan of the actors, I could relate to being their with them and OH, feeling their pain. With Australia, it was never 'like' being in the late thirties or early forties, I never felt an ounce of compassion for any of the characters and when Nicole Kidman held up a PHOTOGRAPH of her, her partner (as they remained unmarried but lived together as a couple!!!) and this little boy (i.e. Happy Family photo) I almost threw up. Really, you want me to believe that y'all rode into town after one of the cattle drives, all dressed up and got your photo professionally taken - in 1942....................?????? This movie took up too much of my time. End of story.
Incase you are wondering after all this commenting, it was Marley and Me that motivated me to write. I love that a movie about a dog can make me cry like a baby.
That is all the WiseWords I have for today!


eric said...

So I havent seen either of these movies and I appreciate your reviews. Anyhow, my recommendation for you regarding Australia is movie called Rabbit-Proof Fence (takes place in the 1930s when Australia began their aboriginal integration program). Another lovely movie I saw on dvd recently and loved is Cinema Paradiso - 1988Italian flick & winner of best foreign film oscar.

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