Saturday, March 06, 2010

Away We Go

I'll say this about Away We Go - at least it is better than the previous film from Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road. But then again that isn't saying much.

I couldn't tell if this was supposed to be a comedy or a drama and I don't think it knew itself. Obviously it was trying to be both but it straddled the line too much and ended up not really working on either end. On the comedic side, it felt like a boring ripoff of Flirting With Disaster. As a drama, it strained way too hard.

I didn't really have much desire to see this but I was curious. Sean and Rebecca loved loved loved it. Erik saw it at BAM based on their recommendation and hated it so much that he sent them mean texts while watching it. A few others I spoke to really enjoyed it and others hated it. I wanted to like it but was also pretty sure that I wouldn't. I was also interested to see if it was worse than (500) Days of Summer. It isn't.

You'd think that I'd like this movie based on the theme of how one's life is about to dramatically change because of a baby. I can relate (times two). SHR and I also have discussed moving - just like the couple in this film. The idea of driving around looking for a place to settle is one that interests me. But the movie just doesn't work for me.

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are fine in their respective roles. But the people they come across are so incredibly irritating (for the most part) in a horribly unfunny way. Plus, I felt like a large percentage of the dialogue in this movie is stilted and not realistic. Real people don't talk like the characters in this movie. I mean, I guess Dave Eggers and his wife do but no one else does. Real people don't find themselves hanging out in a bathtub with their sister discussing life's big adventures. That scene was as annoying as the first date at IKEA scene from (500) Days of Summer.

So while I didn't hate it as much as some, I can't even remotely recommend this film. And while we're at at - how about some fun ripping of it?

From Jeremy's review, "The movie went from enjoyable to tolerable to unbearable in three acts. First time parents and people in the midst of a move are under enough stress without having to suffer as many fools as these two did."

Snippets from the NY Times review, "The smug self-regard of this movie takes a while to register, partly because Ms. Rudolph and Mr. Krasinski are appealing and unaffected performers and partly because the writing has some humor and charm. The opening scene, which finds the couple in bed, is disarmingly sweet and candid in its depiction of the sexual rapport of longtime lovers. There is real intimacy and affection between them, which is wonderful until, before too long, it becomes as insufferable as the songs by Alexi Murdoch, which similarly wear out their rueful, faux-naïve welcome.

To observe that they inhabit no recognizable American social reality is only to say that this is a film by Sam Mendes, a literary tourist from Britain who has missed the point every time he has crossed the ocean. The vague, secondhand ideas about the blight of the suburbs that sloshed around American Beauty and Revolutionary Road are now complemented by an equally incoherent set of notions about the open road, the pioneer spirit, the idealism of youth."

How about this one from my friend Vanessa on my 2 star Netflix review, " I don't know anyone like these people and hope to God that I never do."

And my absolute favorite - from Matt Army's status update when the movie came out, "Matt hates the modern yuppie and their inability to realize that they are the modern yuppie. Does "Away We Go" look good to you? Yuppie!"

To which Chris Larry responded, "Oh please, I guess guilty as charged under that retarded definition. Whats the next windmill? On a side note: I escaped yuppiehood to see Hangover monday....good times...def Old School 2."

I'm so glad I saw this movie! The commentary about it is A+ material even if the movie treads along in C territory.

Directed by Sam Mendes


Anonymous said...

Rudolf and Jim make the movie watchable, semi-enjoyable. I liked Jim's parents and the obnoxious couple in Az or whatever. The rest were annoying, agreed. The fake Nick Drake songs made me want to pluck my own pubic hairs. I liked 500 Days of Summer better, does that make me a rube?

For a positive review you might want to check out Ebert's thoughtful review. And if you hate on Ebert you have no soul!

Oh and 500 Days of Summer/Away We Go is Igby Goes Down II

Chris Larry

Listmaker said...

no - it doesn't make you a rube. at the very least - at least 500 days had zooey and it at least was trying to be sunny and light.

i love ebert. i'm no will leitch dude. i'll have to check out his review. thanks.

oh man - hated igby goes down too. i love this divide between us larry. what would this genre even be called?

sujan says that igby goes down is worse than both of these movie and she hasn't even seen 500 days of summer to know that.

Listmaker said...

just read the review. interesting. didn't convince me though. his point kind of solidifies mine - basically that the couple are perfect -just like eggers and vida. that is apparent - that the couple in the film are stand ins for the real life couple. that's what i kind of wrote in my review of my criticism of a lot of the dialogue.

the people they run into are so shallow and awful that it's easy to feel superior to them. is that how eggers and vida look at the rest of society? according to ebert, that's exactly what is going on. and that was my sneaking suspicion as i watched the movie. not that i think that eggers really is that arrogant - or perhaps he is?

i definitely don't feel as strongly about it as a.o. scott's review from the times but i can't get behind this movie in any way.

i did love that ebert referenced sherwood anderson in his review though. almost convinced me that i was being too hard in my blah feeling about this movie.

Anonymous said...

I will admit I watched a few Igby scenes on cable a few years ago and in my head admitted you guys were right....

I imagine if I cared enough to rewatch 500 Days Away I'd prolly enjoy them less.

Basically I see so few movies that I like enough to care about arguing, but that don't offend really that they are all becoming, "fine...whatever" Which has actually elevated a movie like Adventureland which I really enjoyed watching.

I think Balgavy is a prophet. TV is > than movies! At least I seem to garner more enjoyment from it for my narrative cravings.

I am at the point where if it is not a straight up comedy in the vein I love, I really am not that interested. Which means I have like 2 foot boner for that David Gordon Green Midevil Fantasy Farce...

Chris Larry

Listmaker said...

first of all - i'm loving the listmaker - chris larry saturday morning movie talk.

secondly, it takes a big man to admit he's wrong about igby goes down. i think you were just so into the redskins color scheme of his scarf that it blinded you to the extreme suckitude of it all. or did he have a redskins poster in his room? i can't remember. i can't believe that movie is 8 years old at this point.

third, maybe you should see better movies rather than fewer movies? you know - like movies from iran or something.

fourth, i liked adventureland. i just didn't love it.

fifth, this is the 2nd straight movie blog entry that has made balgavy look like a genius. amazing.

finally, all hail david gordon green - that is except for the second half of snow angels!

Anonymous said...

Two more movies that I saw recently that I thought at best were "watchable" but completely over rated..

District 9...actually I really didnt like this movie. By the second half I had propped my iphone on a motel pillow and was checking email on the laptop....

Hurt Locker: The more I think about this movie, the less I like it. It was engaging to watch, and tense...but I just can't stop finding reasons in my head to not like it. Again the HBO mini series was MUCH better than this movie...with similar source material from embedded journos. Also I was with the black dude..."f this cowboy"

I want to watch more movies...but between work, fatherhood, TV, sports and vacation brokering i gots no time!

chris larry

Listmaker said...

i liked district 9 and hurt locker but found both a wee bit overrated. i also saw both in the theater so that helped keep my attention. i bet if i saw district 9 in a hotel, i would have been checking my iphone as well. i really liked the first half a lot. the second half was ok.

i couldn't agree more about the hurt locker and made the exact same point in my review of it. even "over there" had very good moments in it that reminded me of hurt locker. it's like reviewers who raved about it had never seen either of those shows.

i hear what you are saying about being busy. that's why i'm not working right now - so i can see more movies!

this comment is in officially under the wire. only 3 more minutes left in saturday morning movie talk with listmaker and chris larry.

Crispin H. Glover said...

your point about being glad to have seen the movie even though it wasn't great reminds of something john waters said about being willing to watch anything because at the very least he'll be able to craft an opinion about it. i bad mouth and argue about films i haven't seen all the time but it's even better to have seen them and get more specific ammunition.

Listmaker said...

are you sure that john waters said that and not marc balgavy?