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Daily Archives: 01/07/2006

Football Hooligans

Or Hooligans.
Or Green Street Hooligans.
Or the-film-that-gets-released-because-of-the-upcoming-World-Cup.

Upon the first look, the film which keeps changing its title when it is released in different continents (mind you, not a non-English language film) somehow shows its lack of confidence, in which it is trying to accommodate the taste of local flavor. As also spoken in one of many repetitive dialogues of the film, certainly “football” would carry different meaning in the USA, yet “soccer” deems too Yanks. Thus, “Green Street” is used without realizing how the title already spoils a little of the film’s plot, and “Football” is used in the countries where the word can only mean one thing: the sport involving 22 guys chasing one particular kind of ball, which has caused many fanaticism around the world, particularly in the UK as depicted in the film.

The lack of confidence of the title may result from the similar drawback in telling its story which may not be satisfying for hardcore football fans, nor for any other filmgoers. Perhaps that’s the reason why it needs to tell the story from the eye of Matt’s character, an American who, for some less convincing reason, chooses to be stranded in the land of hooligans, and being one of them while having to deal with his own coming-of-age problems. Such a burden is deemed too much for Elijah Wood, an American himself, whose bewilderment and uneasiness is also felt, at least to this particular writer who could not stop wondering, what is he doing there? Does the story make any different had he been taken away, or completely erased? Hadn’t the story been better if it is purely told from the Brits’ point of view themselves?

Hooligans

Of course many people (make that audience) will nod in agreement, but then the film would never be made as no major international stars attached to the project, thus no financiers will back up the project. The unfortunate clausal effect led the understanding why Wood has to suffer delivering a performance that seems to be uncooked while delivering lines that bridge between trying to be serious and gritty, yet cheesy at many times.

By the time all the redemptive quality appears at the final scene, the audience has grown tired of cheering.

 
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Posted by on 01/07/2006 in English, Film

 

Elizabethtown.

Before we come to talk about the abovementioned title, let’s recall what happens to the leading male characters in every Cameron Crowe’s films:

John Cusack needs Ione Skye to help him Say Anything….
Tom Cruise says “hello”, and more, to Renee Zellwegger in Jerry Maguire.
And charms Penelope Cruz in Vanilla Sky.
Patrick Fugit manages to deal with his life after he encounters Kate Hudson in Almost Famous.

Thus, is it surprising that Orlando Bloom feels alive after he meets and gets guidance from Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown?

No, it is not, and the same answer can be given to a question: Is the similar theme of boy-meets-girl-who-change-his-life worth revisiting?

After more than a decade of playing on the familiar field, it is apparent that Crowe has grown tiresome of coming up with refreshing takes on the stated theme. Worse, on the film, we are given extra task to define if the film can be considered as a road-trip film about defining life after string of failures, or half-baked romance? The task has to be completed while enduring the length of the film that goes more than 2 hours, yet it seems like a lifetime before we finally see the credits title.

Elizabethtown (Sarandon, Greer, Bloom

Thankfully, Susan Sarandon proves to be a saving grace despite the deadpanned expression of Bloom and the inexplicably wasted quirky style of Dunst. In accordance to matriarch style of Frances McDormand in Almost Famous, Sarandon carries the similar role in her own bravura that leaves us wanting for more. In fact, her stage-act should be the closing scene of the film, which surely will leave audience smiling, remembering her relieving comic presence.

Yet, Crowe chooses to allies with American Tourism Board (if such an organization exists) to blatanly depicts how a road trip in the USA should be taken.

We don’t bother anymore.

 
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Posted by on 01/07/2006 in English, Film