Friday Favorites 9/14/2012

Wednesday night, Muri and I went to see the new film, The Words.   I hadn’t heard of it but Muri told me it was about a writer.  That’s usually enough to get me to see a movie but not enough to keep me from checking out the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, where I found The Words had received a 17% on the Tomatometer, meaning only 17% of critics gave it a positive review.  Neither as clever nor as interesting as it appears to think it is, the capsule review said, The Words maroons its talented stars in an overly complex, dramatically inert literary thriller that’s ultimately a poor substitute for a good book.  Still 58% of the real people liked it, so off we went, Wednesday Date Night.   Besides, as a writer-of-sorts, I tend to cut films about writers some slack.  I find it interesting that as professional writers-of-sorts, critics seem to be particularly hard on films about writers.  Perhaps if my life’s work was criticizing the work of people I secretly envy, I’d be bitter, too.  For the record, The Words was a rather slow moving story of a young writer who gains literary fame by publishing a manuscript found in an antique leather folio in Paris, only to have the real author turn up to confront him.  I thought the story within a story telling was interesting and the acting excellent, but in the end, too little about the consequences of plagiarism or the writing life were revealed to make the film completely satisfying.  But how many things in life are?

When we got home and I settled into my recliner to write my Thursday post, I chose Finding Forrester, one of my favorite writing films, for background.   As you probably know, the film is set in a primarily black neighborhood in Brooklyn, where one-book-wonder agoraphobe, William Forrester (Sean Connery), is holed up in an apartment overlooking the basketball court where Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) plays ball with his homies.  Jamal, who keeps his considerable scholastic and writing talents hidden in order to fit in, encounters Forrester when he breaks into his apartment on a dare.  Reluctantly at first, Forrester begins to mentor Jamal on the art of writing … and of survival in an elite Manhattan prep school, which has recruited him for his basketball skills.  In return, Jamal gradually coaxes William back into life.  Perhaps the greatest strength of the film is the chemistry between Rob Brown and  Sean Connery, which you can see in this clip:

The critics?  Well, it got a 73% on the Tomatometer but critics will be critics.  Johnathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader said, If director Gus Van Sant had always been a hack it wouldn’t matter so much, but personally I find this form of licking the audience’s cheeks like an obsequious puppy deeply offensive.  Rosenbaum sounds like a very unhappy, very constipated young man.  And Finding Forrester is still my Friday Favorite.

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2 Comments on “Friday Favorites 9/14/2012”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Finding Forrester. I think a lot of movie critics must be very unhappy, very constipated or very much in need of…oh never mind. Let’s just say they are a negative bunch.

  2. territerri Says:

    I can’t believe I have not seen Finding Forrester! I want to now.

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