Monday, February 2, 2009

The Curious Case of Mixed Reactions

This weekend was supposed to be all movies all the time, starting with a double-header of The Wrestler and Slumdog Millionaire with Jen on Friday night. Very, very sadly, Jen’s trip home was cut short, and we didn’t even get a chance to see each other face to face, let alone sink into several hours of movie watching together. I’m woefully behind on Oscar Watch 2009 and quality time with Jen. :(

I did see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Saturday, though, when Todd and I double-dated with Anne and Aaron. After much confusion about where we’d meet and eat, we finally caught up with them at the Old Castle Pub right across the street from the Ziegfeld, one of the prettiest theaters in the city.

The movie itself was a mixed bag. Anne and Aaron reacted very positively, describing it as beautiful; Todd and I were more lukewarm. There were undoubtedly elements that worked for me (the ending) and elements that did not (Brad Pitt’s NOLA accent). This being a David Fincher movie, it’s no surprise that it was unnecessarily long, and it definitely dragged at times. It is a beautiful love story, but for all of Benjamin and Daisy’s love, it lacked passion. Where was Benjamin’s anger? Why did he never rail against the unfairness of living a life no one else could really understand? Where was his fury that a long lasting affair with his one true love was impossible? Why was he so sanguine about his condition? Benjamin sometimes spoke in fortune cookie nuggets of wisdom, and a second life on a boat felt oddly Forrest Gump-ish. I’m not suggesting that Pitt should have been pissed-off for three hours, but without a full range of human emotions on display, Benjamin seemed even more other worldly, and, therefore, I felt less connected to him.

Having not yet seen any of the other best picture nominees, I’m still willing to make this claim: Benjamin Button, while a perfectly good movie, does not rise above and deserve to be called the best picture of the year. Movies not even nominated (Hello, Dark Knight!) deserve it more.


rena said...

I think Benjamin Button deserves the nomination just because they let us have some time with young Brad Pitt again :)

ellebee said...

I haven't seen this one yet, but you MUST see Slumdog Millionaire.

Tina said...

I second Laura. Hopefully I'll see The Wrestler this week, if the snow lets me out in public. But Slumdog Millionaire is AMAZING.

I do really want to see Mr Pitt, though. :)

anne said...

Yes, Slumdog is WONDERFUL (and better than this movie).

Honestly, my immediate reaction to BB (very positive) became considerably more critical after thinking and talking about it more on the way home, sleeping on it, etc. I still think it was a beautiful film, but I totally agree about the annoying Forrest Gumpiness, and I hated the part when Brad Pitt was roaming the world being all introspective (and totally not sad, for whatever reason).