Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What movie...

...is so good that you wish it were truly great? What would you change about it?
*

47 comments:

Paul Outlaw said...

Imagine Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman or Vera Farmiga playing the female lead in Appaloosa.

Tory said...

I want to be relevant and now, so the movie that I feel is good, but could have been truly great is Julie and Julia. The change: TAKE OUT THE JULIE PART!!! It was unnecessary, boring, typical, and they gave Amy Adams a total lesbian haircut! Amy, I love her, and I don't think it had anything to do with her ability or acting in that film. I thought she did the part justice (or what any good actor would have done you know?), I just hated that storyline. UGH!!!! The movie should have been ALL about Julia. I was so much more interested in that story. I wanted to see more of Paul and Julia Child's life together. Their ups and downs, his death, her state after that. I wanted to see her age. I wanted to see her story. And it's so funny because in the movie (!!!!Spoilers alert if you haven't seen it I guess you should stop reading this now!!!!!!!) Julia did not approve of what Julie was doing with her legacy! And guess what Julia, so did I (in the film anyway:-).


The Julie part brought the movie really down, not so much that you're uninterested, it was just, well, boring!

And I'm on the boat for Streep to get her third Oscar. And if the movie was ALL about her, she probably would have gotten it (though Monique is quite the competition!!!).

And if the movie was ALL about Julia, Tucci's part would have been bigger, and his presence in any movie is so profound, yet subtle and supporting that his work in that film would have received the praise it deserved.

I'm rambling, but that's what I think!


Tory Smith

Wayne B. said...

The Prestige from Christopher Nolan. My complaint is Scarlett Johansson's casting. Normally I'm a fan of her work but I feel they missed out on an opportunity to create an interesting character. Were Romola Garai or Emily Blunt too busy?

cal roth said...

Have you seen Fritz Lang's The Woman in the Window? It's brilliant, dark, thrilling, cruel and breath-taking. But it has the worst ending ever. I know Lang messed it up after his original ending couldn't overcome the Hays Code, but still. Except for its last minute, it's one of the best film noir ever.

Michael C. said...

I remember when I saw Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame for the first time as a young teen die-hard animation buff.

The opening sequence was riveting. It was dark, adult, powerful. I was overwhelmed with excitement. Disney was taking it to the next level. Look out Japan! Now America is making films that are as mature as an anything in live action.

Then those goddamned gargoyles come bumbling into the film, yukking it up with their armpit farts and their stale one-liners and they friggin' RUIN EVERYTHING.

Not that they're the only flaw with that film, but they best exemplify all of them. Disney just couldn't muster the nerve to go all the way with the material and keep lapsing into their tired shtick. But the good parts of Hunchback are SO good. It breaks my heart for the film it might have been.

Murtada said...

The Shawshank Redemption’s ending. The voiceover is so good, it’s all about hope. Hope that he might see his friend, hope that the sun might shine again, and hope that life might be better. Why did we have to see those things actually happen? An open ending would have made this fantastic film even greater.

Agustin said...

I think I already answered this sometime ago, or maybe it was antoher question..
I would cut out the whole Broadway part from Singin in The Rain, it's already superb, but this would make it PERFECT
and speaking of non sense musical sequence in the middle of a film, Across The Universe turned out to be a really good movie; This is, without it's Sgt Peppers acid sequence with like 3 or 4 songs, which I find umbearable.. Every time I watch it i just Fast Forward.

Danny King said...

Public Enemies. Cotillard and Depp were so good. I wish the script would've been more focused on simply the romance. I actually wish it was more of an epic attempt so there could've been equal parts romance and action.

jbaker475 said...

Breaking the Waves. Everytime, I'm always impressed by it, especially Emily Watson, but the film as a whole never manages to "wow" me.

Elisabeth said...

Let's go with An Education. I wanted a better last act. And that's all I'll say since, you know, it's out officially in America Friday.

It's very close to being great, I think, but is merely very good. I would actually take Whip It in a heartbeat in a contest because that felt more personal/punchy in some ways.

Jose said...

"Revolutionary Road" was really good, but something didn't fully make it click (perhaps the too safe cinematography, where's the real dark part of the 50s?).
This year I'd say "Drag Me to Hell", it was so damn good! But there's something missing from it to make it a classic, I'm just not exactly sure what it is.

Deborah said...

Chasing Amy could have been SO much better. Kevin Smith comes close an awful lot, but is never great.

Unbreakable tried so hard to be understated that it put itself to sleep. Which is really a shame because it's got quite a fab concept and a great cast. A little more action, a little more color, a teensy bit of emoting, and whiz bang pow.

Here's my favorite trick: Take Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill and put them next to each other and then SQUINT. The result: Julia Roberts as the female lead in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Voila! The perfect romcom!

Cal said...

I'd probably remove the last half hour of Artificial Intelligence. Or maybe add some kind of cool, sweeping epilogue to finish things off nicely.

That film is gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

The Seven Year Itch - replace Tom Ewell with Wilder's original choice, Walter Matthau, and cut at least half of that character's stream-of-consciousness dialogue and the film might be as good as Marilyn Monroe's performance therein.

Ryan said...

Agustin, I completely agree about Across the Universe! I don't see how any self respecting editor could leave that part in. I would have cut. that. up.

Personally, I'd like to see a change in WALL-E. I was having one of those "moments" while watching it in the theater for the first time. I rarely connect with a film that much on the first viewing, especially an animated one. Unfortunately, Fred Willard and a weak last act appeared and I left the theater disappointed. I should probably watch it again though; maybe now that I have a so-so attitude going into it I will end up liking it more after it's done. Or maybe I'm too neurotic about this.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and have someone come in and re-write the dialogue (and ONLY the dialogue) to Titanic. Without James Cameron's tin ear I doubt it would have provoked as intense a backlash as it had.

Beau said...

'Across the Universe' - just a little more structure, more room to breathe, and it could have been a masterpiece.

fig said...

Tory you are ridiculous.

NoNo said...

Benjamin Button- cut out some scenes and give the main character a personality and some flaws. Also don't use Forest Gump as a blueprint! Then maybe it would've been worthy of all it's nominations. What a waste!

Doubt- Mike Nichols direct. Anne Hathaway as Sister James.

The Reader- Mike Leigh direct. Do something about Hannah Schmitz to not make her come across as more than a moron.

Dreamgirls- Where do I begin? That screenplay was nothing but surface except for Eddie Murphy's character. They should've just let Effie be the definitive lead instead of adding that stupid "Deena must find her way" storyline. Stronger multi-dimensional characters!

Julie & Julia- Everything Tory said. Marisa Tomei would've been an interesting Julie. (I'm sorry for attacking Amy Adams today!)

NATHANIEL R said...

michael c i so agree with you on Hunchback. That whole triple section with Children of God and the Judge's feverish song. damn that was a GREAT animated movie. but the gargoyles are hedging their bets and the ending reeks too.

at least Pocahontas dared to have a little bid of a sad ending.

danny more everything might have helped that film yeah.

nono it sounds like your fixes for Benjamin Button indicate it's not even "good" let alone "approaching great"

deborah the perfect romcom experiment is AWESOME. just squint, eh? But i guess Andie MacDowell's performance reminds us that what great romantic comedy women do best is not actually all that easy to do superbly. There's only a few of them that can really nail it.

Michael said...

I would completely remove the trip to Paris in "Broken English." But with said trip being nearly the entire second half of the film, I'm not sure what I would do with the extra screen time.

Chris Na Taraja said...

It's a movie that I loved as a kid, but probably isn't really good....DREAMSCAPE with Kate Capshaw, Dennis Quad, Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow.

Cool concept, not such a great flick. I think a remake could do it justice.

Actually THE CELL with Jenifer Lopaz was a bit better.

Janice said...

I kind of addressed this in my last post - and it's not really "so good it's almost great" but it's on my mind right now - but make Liev Shreiber's character the centerpiece of Kate and Leopold and they might have had something truly dark and interesting, if not necessarily great.

"Wendy and Lucy" - some tighter editing. I have a lot of patience with slow, languid films but my sweetie doesn't - but even I was agreeing to fast-forward through chunks of it.

Eyes Wide Shut - stay in the bedroom, Tom. Because Nicole's performance knocked the wind out of me. Such power and intensity. The movie, for me, was right there and all about her, and the struggle between those two people that the meanderings in the street and the orgy just made me bored and restless. (Or was that intentional?)

Cold Mountain -cast Natalie Portman as Ada. Nicole was too old for the part.

Arkaan said...

Sunshine: Remove the bugaboo alien/captain character. Recast a couple of key roles. Add about 30 minutes of character development. Allow the messianic overtones come from the main goal.

Black Book: GET RID OF THE FRAMING DEVICE

Kill Bills: Make it one film. Hire an editor who can withstand Tarantino's self-love.

Pan's Labyrinth: Root the political and the fantastic more consistently in each other. Recast the lead.

Anonymous said...

agree about benjamin button.. something was missing.. julia roberts in four weddings would've also been the ideal casting.

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

"As Good as It Gets."
I don't have a hatred of Helen Hunt's performance that some people do, but she modulates between strokes of genius and misfires way too often. Is it Brooks's fault? When I see what he did with Winger and Hunter in previous efforts I'm not so sure. I think an actress like Marisa Tomei or Julia Roberts could have helped sell Carol Connelly as a character for me.

Greg Kinnear's character...um...I guess my issue here gets to the heart of the screenplay, so I would have written him not so weak and "woe is me." The only time he seems even semi-empowered is when Carol agrees to be his de-facto fag hag (a plot point I also had issues with). Everything about his character is WRITTEN so affectedly dainty that I suppose there was no other way for Kinnear to play it.

Regarding the screenplay, I would have tightened up the ending a bit. The ingredients were there with this film, I think. And I enjoyed it well enough. But all of these improvements might actually make "As Good as it Gets" live up to its name.

adri said...

Why a a good "B" movie isn't a great "B" movie:

Whenever "Black Widow" (dir. Bob Rafaelson) shows on TV, I try to catch the wonderful first part, where clever sexy Theresa Russell adopts different personas to trap and kill her rich husbands.

The middle chase section where Russell is pursued by FBI agent Debra Winger is good, but the end is such a let-down, with dour humourless unappealing Winger putting scintillating Russell in jail.

Why couldn't the ending be different? Why does the bad girl have to be punished? Why couldn't she get away? Or draw Winger in to her own black widow life? I want a different third act, far more subversive. In "The Bride Wore Black", the heroine succeeded in what she did, in "Beat the Devil", Jennifer Jones got the money...etc.

Julius_Goat said...

+47 on the Shawshank comment above. 15 unnecessary seconds of blech.

My submission is "Saving Private Ryan."

Drop the framing device.

NoNo said...

Well, I guess the concept for Benjamin Button was good and that if it didn't try to be so epic it could've been sooooo much better. I just feel like out of all of the studio films that came out last year, that one had the most promise. Especially since the director was Fincher and not Speilberg. It could've been different but just wasn't.

We were speaking about it in my film criticism my last semester in college when the subject was pretty similar to this topic.

Marsha Mason said...

Hannah and Her Sisters I love this movie, but jeez if the ending doesn't seem forced. Dianne Wiest is a trainwreck. How does she end up successful, happily coupled, and pregnant in the final scene. Make her final scene a little jarring, and you would have had me.

Arlo said...

I don't think I would ever want to splice the two Kill Bill films together...at least not in a straight up chronological way. Which I guess is like just having them being separate. I think the tones of each film would contrast and it would be kinda a mess. I love the frenetic nature of the first and the slower, more talkative approach to the second, but that's just me.

By the way, anyone hear that Quentin wants to make a third one in about 5 years? I can't wait! (Yes, I'm obsessed)

Anonymous said...

BUG
Harry Connick, Jr.!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I know everyone has issues with Cold Mountain [Nathaniel included] but what makes people think that Natalie Portman should have played Ada? Because Janice is not the first person I've heard say that?

Anyways, I liked Cold Mountain.

ak said...

My submission is Mean Girls. PERFECT casting. Every single character was perfectly cast. The screenplay was witty, but I would change two things: the animal jungle scenes where the kids start acting like animals...too cartoonish and Cady's speech at the Prom. It felt like that crown broke into entirely too many pieces.

Regarding Cold Mountain. It is obvious that Nicole was miscast. She was too old for the part and just didn't fit the southern belle. I don't know if Natalie Portman would be the best alternative, but she's the one that first pops into mind because she's the right age, talented and was already in the movie.

katrina kay said...

thirst!

Kurtis O said...

"(500) Days of Summer." I would have Tom and Summer end up together in the end. I don't care if we know their relationship is going to fail from the get-go, and I don't care if the split is essential to the film's themes. You can't make us fall in love with the most adorable screen couple in recent memory and then have them wind up apart. You just can't.

Michael Parsons said...

Bram Stokers Dracula. Shoo Keanu!

Janice said...

Andrew, re: Cold Mountain, the first person I heard (read) that from about Natalie Portman as Ada was a film critic/blogger whose name absolutely escapes me (and my apologies to him). I remember he was actually angry about Nicole having been cast in the title role. (I don't know that the person originally cast, Cate Blanchett, would have been any more appropriate however.)

It wasn't until I read the novel that I realized he was exactly right. (Heck, at this point I almost think Ellen Page would have been an improvement over Nicole. Anyone genuinely younger and more facile with American accents. And I love Nicole - but in the right roles!)

So my apologies to person whose name I've forgotten for his great casting idea. That switch would have robbed us of the two great moments in the film involving Natalie however - Sarah tearing up after she's asked Inman to lay in bed next to her (in place of her dead husband), and Sarah charging out of the cabin, rifle in hand, face hardened like a Greek tragedy mask. Those were "wow" moments in the theater for me.

Aaron said...

Girl, Interrupted is a film that comes to mind. It was a solid movie, with an incredibly energetic and unforgettable performance from Angelina Jolie, but something hampered it from truly being great. I felt like Winona Ryder's voiceover was a little distracting. And I felt like the movie tried to cover wayyy too many characters, that it didn't really have a focus. I think if they had focused more on Ryder and Jolie's characters--revealing their differences and similarities, and successes and failures--it might have been more effective.

And I totally agree with the mention of Revolutionary Road. That movie had so much potential, and I really enjoyed it, but something felt way off--and I think it was the script. The themes in that film were way to forthright. The disintegration of the marriage paralleling the vacant atmosphere of the '50s was way too 'in your face'...it lacked any subtlety, and I think it kind of had a cold effect. The whole film took itself way too seriously.

LaLa said...

I loved "Across The Universe", and I stand by the fact that you have to include the drug years when making a film following the Beatles years....but, yeah, the Eddie Izzard part needed to go bye-bye. There must have been some dialogue, or a scene they could have used for the transition instead of going completely off the rails.

Also, Julie Taymor...learn to work with humans! She didn't do much for the characters in the film either. The actors did what they could with what they were given to do. Some of the dialogue was just icky.

This movie could have been truly brilliant...but, as it is... amazing, but "missed it by that much"!

Katey said...

To keep it current... a few tiny tweaks to the Zombieland screenplay could have made it perfect, like ditching some of the cutesier elements (the search for the Twinkie, the "zombie kill of the week") and really examining how logical the characters were behaving (when you're running from zombie hordes, why would you light up an entire amusement park to draw attention to yourselves?)

Also most people haven't seen it yet, but ditching the dream sequences and the flashier camera work of Precious would make it pretty much a perfect movie.

Aaron said...

I thought the dream sequences in Precious were pretty spot on and very much needed. I understood the dramatic effect the director wanted to produce, cause it highlight's Precious's longing for a better life. Okay, I'll shut up now, cause I don't want to spoil anything.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Thanks for the response Janice[aren't you efficient] I never read the book so I didn't know about the whole age thing. Ah well. Sort of loved it so I can't say it bothered. Just like Hana being way too old in The English Patient...is that a running thread with Minghella?

Stella said...

The most recent movies I can think of is Public Enemies and The Dark Knight.

Public Enemies - I still don't understand what went wrong with one of the best possible casts and crew in recent memory. Depp and Cotillard did what they could but the screenplay was so, so awful.

The Dark Knight - weak ending, too much time spent on Harvey Dent + a slightly self-aggrandizing tone to the movie took the edge of what was VERY close to what could have been a masterpiece. As Steve Carell from Get Smart says, "Missed it by *that* much"

Anonymous said...

To the idiot that suggested Tom and Summer end up together at the end of (500) Days of Summer, are you slightly retarded?

Anonymous said...

i hated cold mountain - especially when nicole was in the woods looking like she was wearing a designer coat from neiman's - the one with the black patent leather belt..

Anonymous said...

Star Trek. Brilliantly cast, but having Uhura morph into Nurse Chapel throwing herself at Spock was not something I can easily forgive. Bleah.