It was a well-made movie; well crafted. Everything was done right, correct, nothing amateurish or half-assed… but then why would there be? The guy definitely has a certain level of self-expectation that he has enough power, enough financial ability, to pull off, without having to cater.
The dialog is always perfect and he picks people that can act.
She’s been in a lot of things—pretty big variety, and though she often falls back on that nervous giggle, the ‘little-bit-goofy but definitely hot, and smart’ ,but he didn’t use that here. No, like in Zombieland, and The Help, the direction was to pretty much just let you look at her, in this movie, wearing a lot of skirts, looking very college-girl, and often shooting her from a little distance so the audience could ‘find’ her attractive. Nice one. I hadn’t noticed it before, but she does look good walking across a field from fifty-feet away. Not just up close.
Joaquin Phoenix has this sort of ‘weird-dude’ thing going on, his Andy Kaufman-like public antics from a couple years ago only adding; he’s weird to look at, his shoulders (scoliosis?), cleft lip, and in this movie, the extremely protruding belly. There were a lot of shots of that. My wife kept saying “ew-ucch…” at the kissing scenes but the story says the women love him (find him sexually attractive) for his mind/his writing.
So for me it added to the realism. Women (some… many, most?) are attracted to otherwise un-attractive men by the things they do (the obvious being the accumulation of a large bank account; just a ‘for-instance’…). I couldn’t help but wonder: the aging body being found attractive by the much younger—bit of auto-bio from the director as source?
Which made me wonder at the character’s lack of morality. He does whatever he feels, and does not seem to feel anything more than whatever it is at the moment. I’m wondering if the message is that the lifelong contemplation/study of philosophy from the humanistic point of view (where there is no God, no ‘afterlife consequence’) pushes one towards the selfish without regard for right and wrong. Is that how the director is/has become?
Certainly, morality is always discussed (in his movies) but often the characters act amorally… while interacting with those that don’t. A personal struggle? ‘And wisdom comes with age…’ Does it, or just perspective? If I choose not to do this, then I’ve passed up an opportunity, of which the consequences (negatives) would probably be…
So… overall, I give it the ‘thumbs up’ if somewhat hesitantly, as it is definitely not a work for the general movie-going audience, even for fans of Woody, being slower than his usual, more like an hour and a half novelette, that the typical movie-goer’s expectation of dramatic image is left totally unfulfilled by.
It is more like staring at an unfolding painting, the image one of two main characters, two supporting characters, the one last of which is not very deep in image, in a situation that unfolds over a period of weeks or months (not long enough for the weather to change) set in very-well-shot (okay, beautiful) background, master cinematographer; excellent dialog; the plot unfolds, is revealed.
We, and all four others in the audience (on a Saturday night mind you) got our money’s worth, though the theater must be loosing… no explosions, no car chases, there was a struggle/fight-scene at the end, but do not expect a lot of action.
I may have forgotten to mention the title: Irrational Man, with (what’s her name…ah, yes…) Emma Stone, and Joaquin Phoenix. Featuring Parker Posey…and some incidentals… all very good.
If you drive/fly to Simi Valley you’re guaranteed a seat (come to think of it there is no airport, so you’ll have to drive).
And across the street at the under-appreciated (not enough customers) strip-mall/corner mall, something in between/larger, done all in the pseudo-Santa Barbara Mission-esque style (cheaper knock-off) (which research shows is the most popular/should be focused on/expected in this market, but what do they know?) is one of a chain of ‘fancy sandwiches’ where we ate prior. Love the plastic architecturally ‘suggestive-of’ style… Yeah, those columns look plastic: the edges are too clean. It has that sort of dead-Orange County feel, a solid ‘move it along/no loitering-once-your-money’s-spent’ look. They even got the trees wrong. Those are not California Sycamores…
The poor gal behind the counter has been thoroughly instructed in how to project and annunciate in the most annoying manner. I call it the corporate counter-drone-speak, a sing-songy descendant of the ‘flight-attendant’s speech’, and a most irritating, unnerving way of speaking ‘at’ the customer it is… enough to not want to go back. Perhaps they do it on purpose there, to drive/herd customers away from the order-counter (after they’ve ordered), with goad of her up and down nuance. Yech.
My bank does that one on the phone with me. They try to get me to verify all my information after I’ve completed whatever transaction/business I have with them. Not sure what that’s all about and I have to remind myself each time that they are just an employee; no need to go off on them, so I hang up.
Perhaps I should Yelp? But then I think, why bother? They’re too big to listen.
It’s amazing that that something like that movie made it to the theaters… sort of comforting that an actual piece of art—not a formula—gets a chance at a wider audience. It’s surprising that there’s room on the ‘shelf’. I guess it’s not all ‘Walmart’ out there, yet.
The kids would certainly hate it.
Go Woody. Go Art. And fuck Corporate.