Monday, March 25, 2013

Don't you know that words ruin everything?

While my writing suggests otherwise, I actually love words. In fact, they are my livelihood. Though as a middle school English teacher, I feel like the only ones I use with any regularity are please stop talking and try to be less annoying. Anyway, this blog, as ridiculous and juvenile as it is, allows me to string words together however I want, free of the shackles working with children provides. I honestly revel in sitting down to a blank screen and attempting to tell a story, even when I ultimately botch it. And when I do, which is more often than not, there's still a level of satisfaction in creating something that has never existed before. Even when a post ends up a steaming pile, I'm still proud because it's my steaming pile.

In The Words, that handsome devil Bradley Cooper plays struggling would-be author Rory Jansen. Rory is actually a decent writer, but he can't get anyone to publish his novel. It's good, but he's a nobody and the publishing company is at a loss at how they would market it. Basically, it's tough break, kid. As the bills begin to pile up, the stress of not making it begins to take its toll. Rory thinks he should call it a day, give up the dream. But then, after inadvertently stumbling across a magnificent yet unpublished manuscript, Rory makes a decision that will change everything.

From the outset, it's obvious where this movie is going, but despite that, I had a good time along the way. Any positives will be immediately attributed to the cast, and that's completely warranted. While Cooper is the posterboy, I found the supporting turn by Jeremy Irons to be the most interesting. Obviously, the guy's a legend, but as I watch primarily bad movies, I've deprived myself of the force that is a pissed off Irons.

Outside of the solid performances, this flick sustains a decent amount of tension throughout. For a thriller about plagiarism, it's tightly wound and moves briskly. Unfortunately it's not all handsome actors and dramatic beats, as eventually things begin to spiral into absurdity. And by things, I mean the script, oddly enough. See, this movie begins to cave in on itself in the final act and the resolution could be classified as uninteresting (at best). Maybe someone smarter would disagree, but remember - I teach seventh grade English. You have to be a real wordsmith to do that. Or at least be a really savvy eighth grader.

Speaking of middle schoolers, here are the Yays and Boos, still reeling from a snow day they didn't get. We watched this together a week ago, so forgive them if they're a little rusty.

  • The title screen is awesome. Underplayed excellence.
  • Zoe Saldana likely plays the hottest Dora ever.
  • There's a scene in an alley where Cooper tells Saldana that he doesn't think he's who he thought he was. Maybe that he's a fraud. He's talking about himself, at least I thought so, but she internalizes it, and it's now about her. This scene was utterly convincing and unfortunately familiar. If I had a dollar for every time I thought I was criticizing myself, and it somehow turned out I was criticizing us (and immediately backpedaled), I might not mention middle schoolers so often.
  • Olivia Wilde! Glad to see her again, so soon. Though, her character of literary groupie is a bit puzzling. I mean, does such an animal exist? Are there shitty blog groupies? 
  • Irons first scene in the park is all kinds of tense and awkward. I actually felt like I was in trouble. Luckily, my wife cut the tension when she sincerely asked, Is that Fonzie?
  • Though I really have no interest to travel there, the hues of Paris are breathtaking. 
  • And finally, I really enjoyed watching a movie about writing. Even if they're fictional characters in a slightly above average movie, I fully appreciated seeing people actually invest themselves in the written word.
I had this job once. My fellow mailcart guy was less BC, more angry Russian.
  • Okay, it might've been late, or I'm just an idiot, but tell me this whole thing doesn't get just a bit convoluted. You have doubts? Well, there's point where we have a flashback in a retelling. Yep. We have a guy telling the story of a guy telling his story to the guy who wrote that story. Right? By the way, did you ever see Primer [review]?
  • On that note, my wife hated Dennis Quaid as a narrator. I didn't mind him really, but when the wife wants a Boo, the wife gets a Boo.
  • So, they're completely broke and they honeymoon in Paris? Makes sense.
  • As I said, I love Saldana, but when she gets mad and her eyes shift side-to-side in confusion and disgust? She instantly becomes blue and nine feet tall. Jake Sullyyyyyy!
  • Okay movie, easy on the whole _____ baby angle. Even if it's part of the story, Daddy-to-be doesn't need that. Nor does anyone anywhere.
  • I know it's mandatory in a movie like this, but watching someone write is a tough thing to maintain. I mean, someone can only stare at a screen intently before it veers into ridiculousness.
  • And the gold medal for Longest Conversation on a Park Bench goes to....Fine. It's still Gump, but it was a photo finish.
  • Man, his agent was a real douche. You can't do this to me. Really?
  • And finally, the ending. All I wrote was Hmm. Which I'm pretty sure is shorthand for That's it? What the f--k?
Like the writers of The Words, I'm not really sure how to end this. Since seeing it as the word of the day, I've been trying to work the word haberdashery into a post for a couple of weeks. But it's unwarranted and doesn't really make any sense.



  1. Nice review M. Bradley is fine in the lead, but it’s Irons who steals this movie as soon as he has his 15 minutes of fame by the end. He’s easily the best thing about this movie and they sort of treat him like an old-joke.

    1. I'm thinking I need to adjust my queue to crank up the Irons to eleven, but I don't even know where to begin. Thoughts?

  2. "Haberdashery" is a fine word that doesn't get nearly enough play. First-rate post, as usual. At first I was thinking "this movie sounds about my speed," but then I read about the ridiculous ending and decided, "Well ... maybe not."

    You really do know how to turn a phrase, my friend. "Obviously, the guy's a legend, but as I watch primarily bad movies, I've deprived myself of the force that is a pissed off Irons." Classic! :-)

    1. Just see it. C'mon, so at the very least I can have a rational person's take on it. Or, possibly, at least more rational. Wink, wink.

      Ha. That's very nice of you to say.

    2. Wow. My name and the word "rational" have never been used in the same sentence before. I'm speechless. :)

    3. Run that one by your husband and kids. Wonder if we'll share the same opinion?

  3. "Are there shitty blog groupies?" Well, this is not a shitty blog so I don't know if shitty blogs have groupies, but yours certainly does! :)

    As soon as I saw Olivia Wilde's name on the poster, I knew she will be the part of YEYS :) I don't think I'll see this one as the movies on my watchlist are a huge pile now, but it's great Irons still appears in films, he is awesome.

    If you haven't seen it - "Stranger than Fiction" is a great movie about writing.

    1. Okay, I've been looking around at these damn LAMMY eligible sights and it's equal parts inspiring and depressing. Some, yours included, are just so well executed and gorgeous it makes this place look like a real shit hole. But, I guess to my point, it's my shit hole, at least.

      Wow. Horrible vision, that.

      Even though I guess I told Steph to give it a shot, I would agree with your decision to pass. Sure it features the highly shaggable Wilde, but not enough to warrant a full viewing. As for Irons? Seriously, this guy rules. How'd this guy dodge the Harry Potter films?

      Anyway, as for Stranger than Fiction, I will take you up on that one. It's one of the half dozen or so films that my wife has seen that I haven't. and that kills me.

    2. I recommend Stranger Than Fiction -- it's not one of my favorites, but my family and I did enjoy it. And Emma Thompson is always a good thing.

    3. I's really not about design, I love it when people say they like mine but I appreciate it so much more when they say they enjoy my writing :) And you writing is awesome, I don't usually read all the posts on blogs I follow but here it's always the case.

      Oh, he would be awesome in Harry Potter films. I bet they considered him for Snape but since I love Rickman so much I'm glad it was him who was cast.

      It's really good. I usually can't stand Ferrel but he was pretty great in this one.

    4. Steph - Agree with you on Emma Thompson. Yes, please!

      Sati - Half the time, I have to skim your reviews on my initial visit, because I've never seen most of what you post. But despite that, your writing is very good (it's impossibly thorough and insanely clever). I guess I just mention design first because I'm avoiding your words. Um, in a good way! (hope that made sense)

      I think he would have made a great Snape...but no one is better than Hans Gruber.