tonight, we went to see ‘the day the earth stood still‘, or as Chris called it, ‘the day the audience stood still’. i didn’t think it was quite as bad as he did, merely that it’s continuing this year’s streak of somewhat acceptable mediocrity. basically, though, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen it: keanu is very very deadpan (i.e., he doesn’t embarass himself), jennifer connely apparently had a mortgage payment to make but she doesn’t phone it in so that’s ok, some stuff blows up. the biggest issue? the gawd-awful kiddo in here. his meltingly cute fawn eyes and flawless-even-when-chased-by-aliens ringlets would fit in better for a commercial about quality hospital care than anything requiring lines to be spoken convincingly. worst of all, there is indeed a full-on wayne’s world moment¹. ugh. it’s pretty much everything that annoys me about child actors.
contrast that with last week’s outing, ‘australia‘. it’s on the very short list of things i’ve seen this year that i’ve loved (mixed reviews be damned). while the former is a remake of an old movie that feels utterly modernized in its political sentiments, this original movie feels charmingly old-fashioned in its storytelling. it’s an epic tale of cattle driving in the old west (just a different continent’s old west), with everything from the language to the costumes to the clever subtle non-portrayal of violence having stepped out of an era gone by 50 years ago. and yes, includes a little kiddo, as an integral part of the story, rather than the for-cuteness-sake add-on of keanu’s movie. this kiddo is also amazingly beautiful, but in a much less artificial made-up sort of way, and has the bonus of being able to actually act.
nutshell: ‘dtess’ thumbs down, ‘australia’ thumbs up.
¹you know that scene in the first WW movie, where he has to get his girlfriend back after he’s been a bozo? he’s all loudly lamenting whatever silly things have gone wrong, splashes some faux tears on his face from a passing glass of water, and wails “i never learned to reeeeeeeeead!!” while “academy members vote now” flashes in block-caps across the bottom of the screen. i should never ever ever be reminded of this cinematic ham moment during any actual dramatic scene. or else, it kinda sucks.