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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It"s not "The debt"

Last week I saw the movie "The Debt". I really had no idea what the movie was about or if it was any good. I quickly saw that it starred Helen Mirron, and the brief description interested me. It looked like it would be interesting, and I like Helen Mirron in most things she has done. That is not to say she hasn't made some bad movies, she has. Everyone does. No one is perfect and actors don't control the directing, editing and studio decisions that can often make or break a film.
However, I saw it, and it was fantastic. Could not have been better and to me, that is what great film making is about.
Last night my wife wanted me to watch Julie and Julia with her. First let me say that Meryl Streep is a fantastic actress. If she isn't the best actress of all time, she is top 5. In the last 35 years I can't think of a better actress. Kramer vs.Kramer, Out of Africa, Sophies Choice and many more. The list of great movies and great performances from her are endless. She has star power and carries serious weight with me, just as Helen Mirron does.
Secondly, I have always loved Amy Adams. I loved her in The Fighter, and Leap Year. She brings a freshness and realness to the screen that you can't teach, and she really becomes the character in anything I have seen her in.
Stanley Tucci has always been a fine actor who grabbed your attention on the screen in various roles. With those 3 actors signed on, you would think any movie would be bound to be very good.
In light of that, I just watch Julie and Julia on tv, and it was just horrible. Barely watchable. It was a flawed movie, start to finish.
First off, there is a reason they never made a movie about Juliet Childs life. Meryl Streep nailed the performance, as she always does, but....who really wants to listen to that voice for half a movie? Nobody does. that's who.
Really her story isn't that interesting. Older bored housewife of a diplomat learns to cook and becomes a cooking and tv icon. Not much there. The movie really was a waste of Streep's talents. Stanley Tucci had hardly any scenes and did almost no acting in any of them.
The basic premise, that Amy Adams character (Julie), is a bored government paper pusher almost 30 woman who missed her dream of becoming a writer and takes up cooking, then begins a blog to pull all that together was an okay story. But then it seems they went off the rails and decided to make it about her character cooking one recipe from Juliet Childs cookbook for a whole year. At this point, the whole plot has bogged down. It is based on a true story, so they did stick to that, but if they had made it only about Julie and left the Julia character out of it, it might have had a chance to capture your attention. That would have been the artistic thing to do.
But Hollywood being Hollywood, it sells better as a contrast between the old Julia and the young Julie and gives them a chance to bring in Streep and market the film.
After about 20 minutes, you just can't wait for them to stop showing the Julia parts,and by an hour in, you hate the whole thing.
Quite frankly, I advise anyone who gets the chance to avoid this movie.
On a scale of 4 stars..I give it zero. It is that bad.

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