30 October 2005

Cream Shop Saturday: Did I Miss 60B!?

Irony: I forgot to post Cream Shop Friday, the feature on this blog that details the biggest distraction of the week, because I was too distracted by a looming deadline for an "ultimate roadtrip mix" contest created by Cameron Crowe and VH1.

(photo: Cameron Crowe, Geek God)

Code Red, Di and I went to see "Elizabethtown," Crowe’s lastest film, on Friday night at the Boston Common theatre. The movie was great, but I wish it had been a cinematic miniseries instead, if such a thing existed. But I get it. I cannot fathom the impossibilities involved in boiling down a character-driven story into a 120-minute movie. I’d rather write a 20-page paper than a five-page paper. Anyone who’s been misunderstood and/or screwed themselves via the spoken word understands this concept.

Cameron Crowe has never conformed to the traditional “build him up-knock-him-down-save-his-soul formula.” His movies are unplugged; they explore the less traveled path of characters’ quirks, neuroses, and unparalleled joys. Often, the central character is not slouching toward some glorified redemption, but a smaller, invisible victory, the kind where in seemingly insignificant moments, entire lives turn.

In Elizabethtown, these classic Crowe moments appeared in numerous scenes, quotes and ideas. There are to many to get into so I'll sum them up stream-of-consciousness: Drew’s collection of “last looks” – a facial expression flashed when someone has no intention of setting eyes on you again. Misguided souls who give themselves “permission to be pre-occupied” instead of participating in their lives and relationships. Beer bottles clinking in bathrobe pockets during a hilarious hallway hug between Chuck and Drew. Drew’s mom tap dancing and telling an anecdote about a drive-by dry hump at her husband’s funeral. Claire letting Drew know that “people are much less mysterious than they believe themselves to be.”

(photo: Chuck spots Drew in the lobby the morning after their hallway moment)

However, one of the most uproarious moments occurred in a scene where Drew walks into a room where 15+ cousins-nieces-nephews under age 8 are going buck wild. He pops in a videotape Claire gave him "for the kids." On the tape, a man in a hardhat -- part Bob Vila, part Hulk Hogan -- appears in front of a regular looking house. He introduces himself and informs the kids that the home behind him has been infested with termites. He then tells the kids that -- if they promise to mind their moms and dads -- he’ll blow up the house. The kids are silent, catatonic and amused...and pleading with their eyes, YES! BLOW IT UP! YES. "Ok, let’s blow this puppy up," the man in the hardhat says. The house blows up and the image is replayed over and over again. The hardhat man’s ghostly image appears in the raging flames, laughing. I do the scene no justice as you’d have to see it firsthand to truly appreciate it. I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks. It was so much better than Caillou, say.

The only thing that drove us mad was Orlando Bloom's Tom Cruise-like, baying-at-the-moonish shenanigans. He was overacting, jutting his limbs every which way and carrying on like Jerry Maguire or David Aames when he needed to be Lloyd Dobbler, Steve Dunn or William Miller. "Did I miss 60B!? DID I MISS 60B!!??" was "Show me the Money 2005." However, we learned that Tom Cruise actually produced the film so he was probably controlling Orlando’s mind. Our bad, Orlando.

(photo: Ladies & gentleman, I would like to ruin this guy's career.)

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