Hard to believe 2001 was almost 20 years ago, my son was an innocent 8 years old, yet shielding him from our country’s rapid ageing after 9/11 seemed impossible.
In line with 2001’s innocence, and subsequent loss of, I watched a movie from December of that year, The Majestic, at the suggestion of my movie genius pal, Gus Mollasis.
Gus had mentioned the movie a few weeks ago on our first podcast (Baker & Mollasis At the Movies on Spreaker.com) and after his good natured openmindendness on hearing my defense of the deadpan history historical reenactment film “Wild Nights with Emily”, he was due his day (movie) in court (so to speak).
And court there was in The Majestic, this time a 1950’s Red Scare court room scene which unfortunately took the air out of not only the bubble gum bobby socked Americans, but also the romantic and sentimental thrust of the film. Romance with a capital R since the movie beautifully captured not just romance for the opposite sex, but our lust for films and real old time, sit up straight none-of-this-darn-sqeaky-recliner-b.s. movie theaters.
I loved the beginning of the film and thought the opening twenty minutes were very suspenseful, Jim Carrey’s crash scene done very well, the foreshadowing of the coat shut in his convertible door the crash, his rush down the river, his head cracking into the base of a bridge. I was reminded of Gordy Hoffman’s Blue Cat Screenwriting advice: you have to make your main character really suffer!
I also loved the idea that movies have so much power for us and that seeing them on the big screen, in a theater community is a powerful experience. I was even excited enough to fantasize about twenty years from now when maybe, just maybe the trend will swing back, where we’ll grow tired of the one million ways you can watch a movie and go back to the old communal theaters, just like The Majestic.
As far as acting the true stand out here is Jim Carrey even with the likes of who really stands out even with the likes of Martin Landau and Hal Holbrook. Just as the masses have become marginalized by movie venue choices, Jim has gotten lost in choice, too, both personal and professional. He’s definitely caught the politico-fever as evidenced by his mad as a hatter tweets and art work. I’d love him to go back to the likes of “Man on the Moon” or my favorite “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” because he truly seemed to have that Jimmy Stewart sincerity. And look at the director, Frank Darabont, now reduced (in my mind) to zombie products.
And while Martin Landau has always been tremendous, yet his character is so syrupy, as is the film. But in 2001, we were still open to, and in need of, some big sugar. Now, we just need to get back to open, instead of shut in with our tiny little screens. Someday…