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[DVDVRMC] STRANGER THAN FICTION

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Well at least being up stupidly early affords me the time to finally start this thread and as per usual - this will be all over the fucking place

 

Stranger Than Fiction is one of those movies that I love despite knowing that it is far from perfect. For whatever reason it just hits some special notes for me so I will watch it pretty much anytime it comes on.

 

The biggest thing about it - which is probably the "selling" point for someone who has never seen it - is that this is basically Will Ferrell as a normal person (well normal being a relative term since Harold Crick clearly has his own issues.) It's the over the top clown Ferrell which can be a huge turnoff to some people (like this is the only Will Ferrell movie that my wife likes.) and this is far from it.

 

The way the relationship between Harold and Ana Pascal develops is so nice. From when she clearly hates him to her being bemused by him (I loved that she only accepted his apology because he "stammered") to true connection. And the delivering flours bit was fucking brilliant. Like "I am so fucking pissed that something like that never ever fucking crossed my brain" pissed.

 

 

God Marc Forster has a WAR 6-man like director career - Monster's Ball then Finding Neverland. STF then the Kite Runner then Quantum of Solace. And then toss in World War Z.

 

Complete aside - I never knew Ferrell was nominated for a Golden Globe for this. Good for him.

 

Yeah - again - I just hope folks get enjoyment out of this. I am officially rambling.

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Really, to me this is a frustrating movie because it shows Ferrell is capable of a lot more than he gives us, and frankly, than he is sucessful with. I'm not saying he could be an everyman Jimmy Stewart, but he can channel something very relatable and very rarely does.

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God Marc Forster has a WAR 6-man like director career - Monster's Ball then Finding Neverland. STF then the Kite Runner then Quantum of Solace. And then toss in World War Z.

 

I'd call it more like an Ultimate WARrior-like career: constantly given pushes he should have NEVER gotten, usually delivers total bullshit, occasionally manages to accidentally crap out something decent.  Quantum of Solace and especially Finding Neverland were almost unwatchabley terrible.  

 

Stranger Than Fiction is admittedly by FAR the best thing I've seen out of Forster, I had no huge problems with this one.  Although it did kinda seem like someone was trying to make a Charlie Kaufman movie, without the benefit of having Charlie Kaufman involved.  I actually thought Ferrell was only average here; like Jim Carrey in some treacly nonsense such as The Majestic, everyone was Shocked~! that he WASN'T screaming and flailing around like Yosemite Sam.  What, you forgot the thousand ordinary not-loony characters these guys also played on years and years' worth of SNL and ILC sketches?  I'll save my amazement for true miracles, like when I actually rooted for Adam Sandler for once in Punch-Drunk Love, or Paris Hilton turning in a perfectly competent acting performance in Repo! The Genetic Opera.  

 

I've only seen the movie once, and that was years ago.  I vaguely recall a bunch of little things bugging me, especially Dustin Hoffman's unbearably smug insistence that Will Ferrell SHOULD die, who the fuck asked you buddy?!  So I gotta rewatch it before commenting further.  

 

But I will conclude with this: Emma Thompson.  Emma Thompson.  EMMA THOMPSON.  Emma!Thompson!  Emma Thompson.  Emma Thompson!  MARRY ME PLEEZ, YOU SEXY SEXY HUNK OF BURNIN' BRITISH BRAIN.  I even took my favorite method of extinguishing cigarettes (spitting on them, or spitting elsewhere and dunking the cherry into the loogie) from her sublime work here.  

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I promise that I'll add something more substantial than this, but there's one thing that always bothers me: Emma Thompson's British accent. Of course Harold Crick would mention to Dustin Hoffman that the voice he hears has a fucking British accent.

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So anyway, I think that this film is pretty remarkable, if for no other reason than the use of metafiction often detracts from the emotional content of a story. Not that stories need to have, as their primary focus, the invocation of emotions, etc., but here's a fairly sentimental, romantic movie that's also using metafiction, and the one mode threatens to undercut the other. So it's remarkable that it works at all.

 

Many people don't like Maggie Gyllenhaal at all--she gets a lot of grief--but I think she's pretty great, actually, especially in this. She definitely manages to make this particular Manic Pixie Dream Girl seem somewhat deeper than that trope usually allows

 

I can never quite tell if Harold slips on his apple at the end, and that's why he can't get out of the way of the bus in time, or if the apple plays no part. It's in his mouth at the start of the scene, and it's the falling apples that give Emma Thompson inspiration to write that part, but I'm not sure if it actually plays a role in Harold going splat.

 

As an English scholar, Dustin Hoffman's character bugs me quite a bit, but I can deal with that.

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The biggest thing about it - which is probably the "selling" point for someone who has never seen it - is that this is basically Will Ferrell as a normal person (well normal being a relative term since Harold Crick clearly has his own issues.) It's the over the top clown Ferrell which can be a huge turnoff to some people (like this is the only Will Ferrell movie that my wife likes.) and this is far from it.

Your wife is correct. I've liked him in nothing else and I had stopped watching SNL long before his time, so I have no idea if I would have found him funny, but he is really good here. I daresay, I was even moved emotionally....or maybe the room got a little dusty, I don't know. Hell, I even laughed when Harold took Prof. Hilbert's advice  to stay home and do nothing to mean actually confining himself to the couch. OUCH! I even like Hoffman, whose reputation for greatness I find to be largely bullshit. Everyone is good here and Emma Thompson is great. And it turned me on to Wreckless Eric, so it has that going for it.

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I can never quite tell if Harold slips on his apple at the end, and that's why he can't get out of the way of the bus in time, or if the apple plays no part. It's in his mouth at the start of the scene, and it's the falling apples that give Emma Thompson inspiration to write that part, but I'm not sure if it actually plays a role in Harold going splat.

He drops the apple when he jumps into the street and it clearly plays no role whatsoever. I assume that Karen Eiffel writes Harold taking the apple as a nod to her inspiration for the boy rolling into the street.

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