If structure was your problem with GBG (which was one of my favourites of 2007), then you'd like The Town more in that respect; it has a much more basic structure.
My main complaint isn't that the structure isn't "basic" enough (the film is, after all, entirely chronological in its presentation), but that the transition between the first two-thirds and the last-third of the movie is abrupt, awkward, and ultimately off-putting. I didn't dislike the movie, certainly, but I thought it showed a first-time writer/director still working out his craft. Affleck has talent, but there is plenty of room for improvement yet. Money being short, and the reviews being a little less enthusiastic, I'm in no hurry to rush out and see The Town
Miller's Crossing owes a lot of its goodness to being a knockoff of Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key. Julian Symons was possibly right in thinking that was even better than The Maltese Falcon.
I haven't read The Glass Key
, though I have read The Maltese Falcon
, and the stylistic influences are definitely there. But calling it a knockoff seems a little harsh, especially since the Coen brothers don't seem intent on hiding their debt to Hammett in any material I can find online.
Comparing Delirious to Stranger Than Fiction, Pleasantville and Tootsie because of random elements in the construction seems a little odd. Delirious is a farce. The movie to compare it to is Soapdish. The trapped on TV element means it should be compared to that John Ritter movie about being trapped on Hell's TV (Stay Tuned?) Delirious comes up average, or above average if you like John Candy.
I haven't seen Soapdish
, but it is on Watch Instantly. I also haven't seen Stay Tuned
(IMDB confirms the title) so it would be hard for me to make the comparison. Anyway, it's not on Watch Instantly, so I'll have to file away it for later.
The comparisons aren't that odd, I don't think. Let me try to explain a little further.
is merciless in its mocking of daytime soap operas, especially in Hoffman's final monologue where he unmasks himself, but Delirious
doesn't let things get so absurd. Instead of assailing the absurd conventions of the genre (twisted family trees, characters returning from the dead, complete disregard for any sensible timeline, plastic surgery to hide re-casting, whole episodes or seasons being dismissed as dreams, etc,) the film mostly misses the opportunity. Instead it focuses on the odd physical humor of Dylan Baker slowly falling apart due to poisoning or the buffoonery of another character who has two eye-patches that has little in common with the genre that should be its prime target.
plays with the disconnect between the lives of the trapped characters in real life and in their television-created prison. Candy is too jovial to play a character so alienated (Kevin Kline would have been a much better choice for the role). The closest the film comes is his reaction to typos in his type-written changes, and the jokes are so lame (ice cold deer
instead of ice cold beer
) or so briefly sustained (a high school cheerleader from his past that he wrote into the script while intoxicated shows up, but she swiftly disappears) that neither offers much.
As for Stranger than Fiction
...you're right, it doesn't make for a great comparison. But it puts to more clever use the idea of a writer's words becoming concrete reality than Delirious
does. For a supposed farce, it's awfully dull, both in its writing and as it is visually conceived.
210. Say Anything [B-]
Say Anything: The second teen-movie scripted by Cameron Crowe I've seen this week, it's marginally better than Fast Times
, but a little too sweet for my tastes. Late in the film, the female lead discovers her father, who has been the one encouraging her to take piles of college courses to the point that nobody in her high school recognizes her and she's hardly been on a date in all that time, is a money-laundering sociopath, but not much is made of it. They have the prerequisite reconciliation without much strife. And, like her father, I tend to think that her romance with John Cusack (who has the fanciful Hollywood ability to fly off with his summer girlfriend of four months to live in London despite having no career goals, living parents to support him [he lives with his sister, a single-parent], or much of a job before the trip [we see him teaching kids kick-boxing only once]) has the longevity of about two seconds after the final shot.