Two Tearjerkers and A Dud

I saw three movies recently, Slumdog Millionaire, Yesman, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Slumdog is a story about a young man, Jamal, who is on the brink of winning the Indian version of “Who wants to be a Millionaire.” Through a series of interrogations (and torture) by the police who believe he cheated, the story unfolds in flashbacks. One slice of his life for each question he answered on that show.

This is an English language film set in Mumbai and directed by Danny Boyle, the same guy who did Trainspotting. I love this guy’s work, particularly the camera angles and the breakneck pacing of the story which moves, moves, moves.

There were some moments in this film when I was on the verge of tears, but he movie doesn’t really ask for audience pity. Yeah these kids are street orphans, but they are survivors and seeing them win every battle is what really makes you cry. Go see that if you get a chance, it is my favorite movie of 2008.

Yes Man was a disappointment.  Say “No” to that one. I liked the concept, but the casting was off. I’m supposed to be grossed out that an old woman gives Carrey’s character a bj, but am supposed to root for him when he is romantically involved with a young woman (pretty much the same age difference)? Nah. That was just gross. Maybe another middle-aged actor could have pulled it off, but not Carrey. It’s not just me who was put off by this, my 15-year old was the one who brought it up first. 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button would have been a much better movie with about a half hour chopped off (it’s 2 hours and 39 minutes). The first part of the movie just dragged on and on. I almost walked out because every seat was taken and the woman next to me kept sneezing. I had to ask myself, Is this movie worth it, me being sick next week?

Two words. Brad Pitt.

Oh man. I wasn’t prepared for a tear jerker. I don’t cry that much in movies, not that I don’t want to, I just don’t want to be seen blubbering in public so I’m good at holding it in, or at least hide the few tears that escape. With this one, I just couldn’t. So the tears just rolled and rolled and I let them go because hell, everyone was sniffling. I actually had to stop myself from heaving, I wanted to scream cry. Fuck, I’m crying right now just thinking about it.

Rarely have I ever been that moved by any story.

Because of my nursing background, I am able to appear normal during times of extreme stress and emotion. We’re trained to be like that. With the Buttons story, I think it was because of my background that I had such an extreme reaction. It took something I’d seen a zillion times, turned it upside-down, and caught me by surprise. There were probably years and years of repressed sobs in my Kleenex last night.

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19 thoughts on “Two Tearjerkers and A Dud

  1. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on my list. There’s so much good stuff out there right now. Thanks for reminding me about that one. I might have to see it on DVD, I think it’s finished its theatre run here.

  2. What you described with Button is how I felt with Milk. I also almost *never* cry like that in the movies, but it was not to be held in. Same thing – Milk just pushed a ‘button; in me 🙂

  3. Movies are out of my budget range, so if I see them, it will be when they hit Netflix. I get irate at the sexist, ageist tales movies tell. What’s wrong with an older woman and a younger man? The Boyo is ten years younger than I am. In Celtic fairy tales, it is the youngest brother who inevitably kisses the crone, and is rewarded with the kingdom. (Of course, the crone turns into a beautiful young maiden, but I prefer to think that is metaphorical rather than literal.)

  4. I’d really like to see Button!! But I didn’t know it was *that* sad! I think I’ll wait a while. I don’t want to see a crying movie right now. I’m not much of a cryer for movies either, but there are a few that have made me bawl in the theatre.

  5. Silverstar, the age difference was well played up with the male to older female relationship. Carrey was making all sorts of faces as if he would puke. They wanted the audience to gag. Age difference between those two actors is 22 years.
    Not really anything that is scandalous, but, okay.
    Then they have Carrey with the younger chick who is 20 years his junior. Usually that’s okay, but she looks 30 years younger than he does in this movie (she could play a kid in high school).

    Melanie, this movie is set in New Orleans and there is also a Katrina subplot in there, so it might hit you even harder being from the area. Had I been there alone (Blane was with me) I’d have gone in the corner and just cried through the credits, that’s how strong the closing image was.
    I also have a script I’m working on with a similar image, so it was just overwhelming for me.

  6. I love getting movie recommendations from people whose opinions I respect, so thanks for these. I had hopes for Yes Man, but now I’m gonna have to put that one on hold. And I’ve been dying to see Button, so it’s good to hear it was well done.

    Now I’ve got something to do this afternoon . . .

  7. Michele, I’d bet money that you’ll love Slumdog Millionaire.

    Boz, how’d you like that Bollywood ending?

    Bryan, you might like Yes Man, my husband and son liked it lots. Let me know what you go see.

  8. I’m definitely a fan of both Danny Boyle and David Fincher, so I’m glad those two were worth it, because they’re on my list.

    But I have no desire at all to see Yes Man, even though I’ve had a crush on Brad Cooper since he was on Alias…but whatever. I just don’t think Jim Carey is funny. Never have. His timing is like the exact opposite of my kind of humor (but then he went and made Eternal Sunshine, which is glorious, because the entire thing was so effortless).

  9. Rassles, I think the only way this movie could work for anyone is to go in there at least liking Carrey. If not, don’t even waste a moment putting it in the Netflix queue.

    I do like Carrey, and yeah, Sunshine is a masterpiece. Truman Show, he was great in that one, too.

  10. Thanks for the great reviews! I’ve heard similar things about both movies — and I’m with you, I loved Trainspotting and am excited to (hopefully, one day!) see Slumdog.

    Benjamin Button was filmed all around us in NOLA… particularly on Oak Street, which is where Abeona House (the school we helped found post-Katrina — http://www.abeonahouse.org) is located. Paul was on his way to a board meeting, talking to me on his cell phone, wearing a t-shirt that said GEEK and holding a notebook — and accidentally walked right on to the set. We’re talking and all of a sudden, through the phone, I hear “CUUUUUUUTTTTTTTT!!!!” Paul says, “oh my goodness, I think I just walked into a movie” and hangs up.

    We figured it was the GEEK shirt that made the perfect accessory for him to get through all the film crew and right into the shoot.

  11. Wow, great story Holly. That is an amazing accomplishment, parents getting the school up and running only nine months after Katrina.

    I hadn’t heard it was set in New Orleans so I was pleasantly surprised once I figured it out. The sets are stunning, just brilliant.

  12. Visiting friends, they said, hey, let’s watch this movie… I said sure… and missed the beginning. Walked right into the torture scene (please let that be the only one!), and walked right out again. Can.not.take.teh.torture. So they graciously switched to Religiosity, which was very good, if a bit snarky and obvious (why not talk to any moderate religious folks, Bill, hmmm?)

    But thanks for the heads-up on Button. I will go by myself and take the big hanky.

    As for Yes Man, in a multiplex screw-up, I saw the first five minutes of this movie and could not wait to get the right movie started. The first scene in the video shop was such a “Carrey vehicle” that I thought, oh god just NO!! And as the boy was with me, I would have had a lot of trouble explaining the BJ. I’m in that horrible minefield of gauging appropriateness and sexual content for a young teen…

  13. Hi kitty,

    Thanks for the info, i was planning to watch Yes Man.I see lot of HollyWood movies, recently i have seen Mirrors,Eagle Eye,PineApple Express they are good ones.[Horror Action and comedy]. Recently Terrorists attacked Mumbai and i think you heard the story about it, some 200 people died.God created Man and Women and They created Terrorists. [I think lines are not bad].So finally God should save us.

    regards,
    kumar.

  14. I totally agree with you on Religulous, I like it lots, but they should have talked to more moderates.
    As for what teens should be allowed to watch, I’m not too strict when it comes to nudity or sexual content. My kids usually cover their eyes when something like that comes on screen. Cracks me up.

    Oops Kumar, I think I accidently answered this comment on the other post. Let me know what you think about Slumdog Millionaire if you go see it. I’d love to know since you live there and have seen the changes in Mumbai over the last couple of decades.

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