Saturday, July 07, 2007


There being absolutely nothing worth watching on television, I am working through my collection of DVDs. I finally got to see Elizabethtown (2005). Now I am considering what I thought of it. The MSM critics panned it, but it has a lot of supporters.

Here are a few of the comments about it available on the web:

"This is, without hyperbole, the worst film I have ever seen. It's impossible to summarize why it's so bad, and painful to relive the horrors of this abomination"

"It's not a movie for everyone, of course. But those who don't care for it are likely those who just don't find it to be their cuppa, because strictly speaking, this is a very good movie, with all its elements tying together gorgeously"

"could have been the basis for a real movie. Not the map part, just the wandering around and finding himself part. Maybe not an original movie, but a real one. Instead it was just one more disconnected sequence tacked onto a whole slew of them, and it made me angry that the movie was made in the first place."

"By the end of the movie, I found myself so in-love with the story, so in-love with living, and so in-love with America. Its exactly as a Cameron Crowe movie should be."

"How hard can it be to make another romcom? Well, very, apparently. For starters, it is extremely slow-paced. It just doesn't set off, drags on forever and simply won't end...Steer clear of this movie!"

"This film was excellent. ...the movie accomplishes what it means to. It tells a very moving story that almost forces the viewer to take an active part in it, a quality not found in most movies these days."

Very few come town in the middle; its a film you either hate or love. So what do I think?

First the plot is preposterous. There are so many flaws in its development that the director obviously doesn't intend us to take it seriously. I saw Cameron Crowe's previous movie Vanilla Sky, and in the end decided that it wasn't about plot; you had to let go of that and think about the characters. It's the same here. So who are the characters? Drew, played by Orlando Bloom is the protagonist, but he has no character. Bloom has presumably been chosen for the lead role because of his total inability to express emotion. Mark Kermode, the Radio 5 Live movie critic calls him Orloomo Bland. He's a pretty boy and can do sword fights, but he can't act. Luckily this part doesn't require acting. The director telegraphs this to us, he tells us that he is great at taking last impressions. Kirsten Dunst keeps taking these imaginary pictures. That is what it's about. Bloom is the camera. He is the voyeur watching a picture of America unfold.

The other lead, Dunst, is not real, either. Pollyanna-like she always sees the silver lining, but her purpose is to explain to Bloom, and therefore to us, the audience, that there are other things in life than money and success. I like Dunst. I enjoyed Wimbledon. Here she can't make up her mind how 'Southern' her accent was supposed to be. I think the movie would have been better were she less real. Had she appeared and disappeared without explanation, if Bloom alone could see her, the film would have been more interesting. Instead, we have to figure all this out from the ever present, ear-splitting grin and her Teflon personality.

The third character is Elizabethtown, representing small town America (especially of the South). It's a weird town and oppressively white. For non-Americans it is very alien. Had the plot developed to reveal that these were all pod-people I would not have been surprised. They are grotesques.

The final section of the film is a road trip from Kentucky back to Oregon to the accompaniment of modern pop music and a voice over from our guide (Dunst). It is added on to the film rather clunkily and makes the whole movie too long. It provides for the expected happy ending between the camera and the voice over.

Then there was the Susan Sarandon tap-dance at her husband's funeral. Gross!

Was it a success? Not for me. Then I hated June Bug.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. H.,
I'm thinking the movies you did not enjoy, throw
Little Miss Sunshine in there, are for younger people.
I enjoy the quirks of the teens and their adventures
good and bad. Fast forward to having grandchildren.
I did not want my children or grandchilden to copy cat them! We are all waiting for the next Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, may be waiting forever!

Is there a sunscreen you prefer for folks with CLL? Also do you feel clothes made for sun protection are
worth the cost? There are sunscreens with UVA protection.
Thanks, Carlin C. Hope you son and his family are
well in Wash.

Anonymous said...

I meant to tell you about a website for movies.
Rotten Tomatoes. They stomped Elizabethtown.
It is a movie for silly teen girls.

Terry Hamblin said...


I know almost nothing about sun protection. In the UK we would like to have the chance of worrying about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Hamblin,
I got an answer on David's blog. I decided to buy

Neutrogena SPF 45 Sunblock with Parsol 1789.

It is for my brother. I never go in the sun and as of
right now do not have CLL!

Thanks, Carlin

Anonymous said...

Exactly what is oppressively white mean?

Shall we condem Caucasians? Perhaps we should execute a bunch of them!

I happen to be white and I take exception to your statement.

Terry Hamblin said...

Do you not take exception to the fact that Kentucky is portrayed without any black people?

Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. H.,
Last night I watched a movie I think you may like.
The Last King of Scotland.
If you've not seen it, be prepared for some yucky
bloody parts. Of course because you are a doctor,
you are most likely use to a bit of that.
I watched a wildly popular movie, Half Nelson. I did
not care for it, but I'm not sure why. Next I'd like to see Sicko. I love watching movies! I also enjoy hearing what other people think of them.