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Friday, January 14, 2005

2004: Another one of those exaggerations

9 -- The Incredibles/ Million Dollar Baby

Some thoughts: Two movies about out-of-time men trying to reconnect with their children (or, in Million Dollar Baby, a child figure) that, stylistically, couldn't be more different. One is fast and animated, the other is deliberate and barely lit. Both have unexpected sequences of profound wit -- in The Incredibles, it's the scene of Bob Parr getting riddled with bullet-balloons; in MDB, it's Scrap telling Eastwood about his socks. Both have troublesome endings -- The Incredibles has a troubling ideology; MDB has old-fashioned plot problems. Neither lives up to their creators' predecessors (Finding Nemo, Mystic River). But both show that even good movies by a great talents can be among the year's best.

What we said then: TI: A touching family tale, even if it doesn't pull heartstrings like Nemo or Monsters ... well voiced (Craig Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell especially) ... the uber-fashionista is the funniest character [9/10]; MDB: Spare, conservative style meets a gritty story that turns on itself halfway through and almost works ... Swank scraping steak off a customer's plate is a great scene for a Hollywood film ... is the end an honest emotional conclusion or a manipulative sucker punch? ... Swank's family is the notable misstep as a portrayal of greedy welfare abusing hicks who also look down on boxing -- "they layf at yew" = cringe ... "always protect yourself" [8/10]

Nagging questions: TI: Will Pixar ever get a Best Picture nomination? MDB: Did Eastwood really shed tears?

They said it better: TI: David Edelstein; Jessica Winter; MDB: Jonathan Rosenbaum, **** (Masterpiece); Charles Taylor, (sub. req.)
dynamarx - 10:14 AM

I still have to take issue with those who find the ideology of "The Incredibles" 'troublesome.' While it is undeniable that the film starts with an assumption that some people are inherantly better than others, it ends with much more of a compromise in ideas.
First, to deny that some people are better than others in certain aspects of life is completely absurd (to deny that someone is better than someone else is ALL aspects is a different story, but I don't think anyone was assuming that Bob Parr was some sort of genius mathematician).
What is key here, is what happens in the end-- Dash joins the track team and deliberately finishes second. Sure Dash is faster than all the rest of the kids, but he knows about his unfair advantage and adjusts.
It's a virtual redistribution of wealth (though, self-impossed).
Criticising a characters actions halfway through the film, kind of defeats the point of a narrative arc. That's like calling Max Fisher a diabolical murderer for cutting the brakes on Mr. Blumes car.
Anyway, I appologize for all the spelling errors-- I'm not all that Incredible in that area.
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What a pretentious title!