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Movie Review Time

I enjoy going to (or renting) movies with my wife, kids and friends. In fact, I happen to be the [self-appointed] world’s foremost expert on the theological/ philosophical dimension of movies. So, I thought I might use this blog to provide readers with a review now and then.

My rating system is:
* = Terrible: Not worth watching
** = Mediocre. Possibly worth renting
*** = Good. Definitely worth renting, possibly worth seeing in a theater
**** = Great. Definitely worth seeing in a theatre

Lady in the Water: *
A man encounters an anemic looking lady in a pool who is from a watery underworld bringing a message to our world about ….. whatever. This was a truly atrocious, incoherent, ill-conceived movie. I held out to the end hoping against hope this movie would redeem itself and convince me I hadn’t wasted two hours of my short life watching this stupid thing… but to no avail. The movie was trying to be an allegory about something or other, but I have trouble believing anyone would care enough to try to figure it out. Really bad. Stay away.

Stranger Than Fiction: ***
I’m not much of a Will Farrell fan (though Elf was genuinely cute), but this movie was surprisingly good. A guy (the Will Farrell character – I forget his name) starts to hear the voice of an author in his head who is narrating his life. Turns out he’s a character in a novel that’s in the process of being written and the author is planning on having him killed. So, the Will Farrell character sets out to try to alter this destiny.

The movie has plenty of laughs, but it’s really more of a drama than a comedy. The question the movie raises is in essence the question many Greek Tragedies wrestled with: namely, can humans be free if our ultimate fate is (apparently) sealed? Now, the way this movie answers this question isn’t quite as profound as what you find in Greek Tragedies, but I’m just impressed the movie raised the question. (I never expect much from Hollywood). Bravo!

Now, the movie does have problems. For example, the plot involves several obvious inconsistencies – the sort of thing that drives me nuts. (My wife says I’m too anal about this sort of thing and finds it irritating when I point them out… but this is a review, so I take it as part of my job to point such matters out). The main inconsistency is this: most of what Will Farrell’s character does as the plot unfolds is motivated by the anxiety he experiences from hearing the narrators voice in his head…and his quest to keep the author from killing him. The narrator narrates him doing these things, and yet isn’t aware that he hears her voice, hence isn’t aware of his motivation for doing these things. So it leaves you wondering, how can the narrator narrate the Farrell character doing and saying and thinking certain things when she’s not narrating the things that motivate him to do and say and think those things? (There is a logically possible way of reconciling this inconsistency, but its implausible and opaque).

In any event, other aspects of the film were good enough to allow me to pretend (for the most part) that these inconsistencies didn’t exist and to thus enjoy the movie.


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