Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Good Heart (2010)

We rented this on On Demand last night, it's in theaters last night. It made me think of this. Now, they have "foreseen" the end of movie theaters before and it still hasn't happened. Me? I could go either way. Obviously, on occasion I will watch a first run movie from my house with the technology available. But, personally, I have to admit, even with all of its pitfalls. Because like everything else started by humans there is going to be pros and cons. But, even with all of its pitfalls, I still enjoy the communal experience of going to see movies in the theaters. I like the way Roger Ebert spoke about that experience at a recent night honoring him. As usual, he puts it the best: "Introducing “Julia” as an example of overlooked films, Ebert railed against the studio system and the direction that they are heading.

“Incredibly, some studios have announced that they will no longer make what we think of as real movies. They will specialize entirely in 3D, franchises, sequels, special effects, and superheroes. We all know stories about how the best projects from even a few years ago could no longer be financed today. The studios are running like lemmings towards 3D. 3D is an annoying gimmick useful primarily for increasing ticket prices.”

It was appropriate that it was before an audience in a historical theater that Ebert should speak about the importance of cinema as a communal phenomenon. Channeling Francois Truffaut, he gestured grandly as the computer pronounced what he’d typed.

“Truffaut said the most beautiful sight you will see in a cinema is if you sit in the front and turnaround to gaze at all those eyes lifted up to the screen. They are a characterization of the movie and they are an audience. An audience forms a personality. It forms an identity. It is how we shape our collective dreams. I love my DVD collection. I love streaming video. But when I finally am able to see the restored ‘Metropolis’ I promise you it will not be at home on television.” "

Sure, it seems silly if that experience is seeing something like Iron Man 2, I'll grant that, but even the experience of seeing that in a large crowd, for me, makes the experience that much better even if the movie is no great shakes. But its also why it is amazing to see Jaws every Summer at the Coolidge Corner Theater.

Oh, I've gotten off topic, though. Well, sort of. But yeah, I watched The Good Heart on the in-theaters portion of On Demand. For the most part, I thought it was pretty unremarkable. The script tried a little too hard to make the characters QUIRKY and COLORFUL. Particularly the bar patrons. But I will say that it was nice in the way it took the idea of "the old person learns to live again through the magic of youth" and tweaked it enough to make it somewhat fresh. Brian Cox's assholeishness rubbed off on Paul Dano just as much as Dano's niceness rubbed off on Brian Cox. I'm not sure how real it ever actually felt, but it had its moments. And I sort of appreciated how Brian Cox'x character pretty much remained an unrepentant jerk for most of the time, and only slowly started to change, without any huge epiphany besides a failing heart. So it was definitely somewhat interesting, and Cox and Dano are reliably good, but there just wasn't a lot there to hang your hat on.

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