DO NOT RENT...ELIZABETHTOWN: A Blow by Blow of Cameron Crowe's Fiasco

I already posted Humby's Review of Elizabethtown from the Toronto Film Festival. I just rented the film myself, and it was so bad that I started making notes as the movie unfolded, just to help pass the time. Here is my chronological, on the spot analysis of ELIZABETHTOWN. (I include a warning when things start to get spoilery.) I recommend if you do decide to rent the film, keep this review in the hope that it will help get you through.
The movie starts well except for Orlando Bloom who is so soft as to remind me of Chris Klein. He doesn't seem the least bit suicidal.

15min in. Alec Baldwin and the lighting are the best things about the film so far.

Crowe is pushing so hard to make Kirsten the next Kate Hudson. She is really annoying, but it's Crowe's fault. You can't force charm.

"Exit 60-B" is embarrassingly lame as Kirsten keeps shouting it across the terminal.

Snapping the imaginary picture is a terrible lapse in directing. Bloom’s gone. She needed to take the photo at the start of the terminal scene.

30min in. I feel the film slipping into the grave. The song ("I wear my father's gun") is overly obvious. The whimsy and sentiment are painfully forced and Bloom is a giant black hole, sucking the movie into oblivion.
The film opens by explaining the difference between a failure and a fiasco. All too apt when talking about this movie. The first 15min had problems, but Crowe is a skilled enough director that his talent still came through. Now, we're with the family and nothing is working. Everything is forced, unfocused and terribly directed.
I want to drop a nuke on Elizabethtown.

Sampson just puked on Bruce McGill's shirt. COME ON!

Orlando’s watching murders and sharp objects on TV. I guess he's still suicidal. Can't tell from his personality. I believe even Jessica Alba would have been better in the lead. This is Andy Garcia bad. Worse. This movie was a great opportunity for Orlando to become an actor...
He failed…BIG TIME. Andie McDowell has more on screen charisma

I like Judy Greer. Her stuff is good.
I think they altered the big phone call scene. A few minutes in, we don't hear them talking anymore. We just SEE them talking while a song plays. Crowe is a writer first. As a director he isn’t showing faith in his words.

Orlando goes into the hall for beers. He’s dancing in a bathrobe with all the grace of a white man...A white British man

1 hour in. Kirsten's dialed down a little. It feels like the film’s just floating. The only dramatic tension is the inevitable collapse of mom. I’m guessing at the funeral or eulogy. Her character is really thin.

WTF is this video about blowing up the house? This is possibly the worst idea Crowe has ever had. I just don't get it at all.

[WARNING: While I do not recommend the film, out of respect I’d like to warn that the rest of the review is slightly spoilerish.]
They had sex...I think. Not sure though. They never really say. I think that is lazy, not ambiguous. Kirsten's overacting here.

I actually kind of like the idea of the large wedding party staying at the hotel. That could make a good movie. Certainly a better one.

80min. I forgot all about the deadline of the article coming out pointing to Bloom as the big failure. Bloom can't seem to carry any single character trait over from one scene to the next. He's saying the lines, but there's no character at all.

Kirsten keeps saying to Orlando "you failed"
1) that's from the deleted "Leslie" scene in UNTITLED.
2) That's too true about Bloom in this movie.
He was even better in KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Is he a good actor? I'm not sure anymore. Now I'm wishing he wasn't in PIRATES 2. I don't get the impression he's trying anything more than the accent
Hey, Judy and mom are in town. When did they get here?

Eulogy scene. Montage of boring people
They're all laughing hysterically at Sarandon and she isn't the least bit funny, but they laugh because Cameron tells them to.

She puts down the mic…oh no. Not a…

Help Me God!!! She dances like an old white woman. I would have loved to see this film at the Magic Johnson theatre. He’ll, I’d like to see it with Magic Johnson as the lead.

What's with the musical uplift? This is PATCH ADAMS bad.

Kirsten...sure, let's bring her back. In a house frou outfit?

I like the constant cuts to Judy Greer. She's loooking really good. She looks better than Kirsten, I think. Judy makes Kirsten look short and fat, with big teeth. [Editor’s Note: This is what goes through a guy’s head when he struggles to get through a movie.]

Some of the screaming people are as bad as a terrible horror film.

I just laughed. First time. Kirsten is directing everyone to the exit with both hands, just like a stewardess.

Judy is wet. (WET JUDY. REWIND.) Kirsten (who defined hot/wet actress in SPIDER-MAN) just looks dumpy with matted hair. Judy looks better wet than she did dry..


Road Trip!
We're to assume he's going to get past the misery because she said so. And he's such a blank that he just does.

It's like they tacked a short film on the end. This is an interesting idea for a short film. The music is oddly forgettable. Except U2’s “Pride” at the hotel where King was shot.

What if he drove faster than she planned for? There are too many external factors for this to be plausible, but I'm probably not supposed to be thinking about it like that. This is like the ending of LORD OF THE RINGS

He’s Dancing again. Man, this is funny. He's kind of drunken Riverdancing crossed with just hopping.

He's talking, but again we don't hear it. Just the song. Music has become more important than dialogue to Crowe.

Found sneakers on display. Look for a girl in a red hat.

He's running. Running

He's looking. Looking

Too many red hats. It's RED HAT DAY at the market

He sees her, takes out a gun, and kills himself right in front of her. What a great ending that would be.
Nope, just a hug.

Stock footage.
Back to them.
Cut to black.
Stick the DVD back in the mailbox.

Worse than FANTASTIC 4. Shame on you, Cameron Crowe.


Anonymous Kay-Cee said...

This is one of my favorite movies, and it was shot partly in my small hometown (about 5,000 people) which i suppose makes it more special to me. You're entitled to your own opinion I suppose, but in MY opinion- you are way off!

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree, Kay-cee, this movie is phenomenal. I live in Winchester (Kentucky), I'm sure you know where that is. I think this movie is more likely to hold a special meaning to people living in the south, but that doesn't mean that others can't enjoy it. In my opinion, the writer of this blog is WAY off. Maybe they are missing the meaning of it, or too wrapped into trying to hate it that they ignore its strong points.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Mark Nelson said...

WAAAY off with the review. Elizabethtown is a great movie, and one of the all time best movies! Great music blended with wonderful and heart felt acting. I thought Bloom and Dunst were so endearing! I myself am Scottish, and do not feel the movie is only good for people of the South. As for this review, it tended to use some great movies and actors to talk about how bad this movie was. I say WATCH THIS MOVIE! I was not disppointed and was the first movie my girlfriend and I watched as a couple!

10:50 PM  
Blogger spoko said...

Spot-on review. Worst movie ever. I admire your fortitude in trying to get all the way through it in spite of the pain. Well done, sir.

4:37 AM  

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