This movie blows. I mean it had its moments and everything. But it was just bad. Director Alexander Payne seems to be moving further away from the kinetic editing of Election, and limiting himself to the very basics of feature filmmaking. In theory, this approach should not distract from the story and the characters whatsoever, but for me, it was the opposite. It’s the style of a dead serious fourteen year old boy making his first drama. Plain shots – nothing self-indulgent – and bare naked performances with no flashy editing to hide what we normally don’t see when we pay ten dollars to see a movie: actors not making it happen.
When I suggested the idea of going to my friend, she said, “Is it one of those Middle-Aged Man Pain movies?”
“Yeah, it is,” I said. “It really is, actually.”
“Those movies are so boring!”
I hadn’t considered it. I like middle aged men who are in pain, unless they drive sports cars. Regardless, this is very much a middle-aged-man-that-stares-into-space-a-lot-and-he’s-got-a-complicated-relationship-with-his-kids-and-he-has-to-try-to-fix-everything-and-he’s-such-a-mess movie. So if that’s what you like – like if you liked A Serious Man or Alexander Payne’s 2002 failure, About Schmidt – The Descendants might do it for you. It got a lot of good reviews.
Okay. Positive things: the second half is better than the first half. When can you say that about a movie? The story sometimes gets better and it distracts from the stilted acting and clunky cinematography. Also, the thesis, at least early on, is George Clooney cares on an emotional level more that his wife was cheating on him than that she’s dying. But yeah, that’s it. The movie blows.