Tuesday, September 21, 2004

What If I Don't Wanna Find It?

Memo to Marc Forster: YOU ARE DUMB.
Like Schroedinger, I am faced with a pair of equally distasteful possibilities. Either I have a dead cat in a box, or I have a live cat in a box who is seriously pissed off at being stuck in a box just so I can look all smart and philosophical and crap. Either I'm about to dig a hole in the backyard, or I'm about to get between seven and ten claws in my eyeball.
Which, in grand comedic segue style, would be preferable to sitting through the fucking Finding Neverland trailer again.
By the way, I would love to be a fly on the wall at the Trailer Selection Meetings. Let's see. We've got a movie about airplanes, blimps, giant robots, and eyepatches. Let's hit that target audience with trailers for slapstick comedies, the awful-looking Lemony Snicket flicket, and wanktastic "period pieces". That's a brilliant idea. Even as an attempt to make The Incredibles look extra bonus awesome by comparison, it was an epic marketing clusterfuck.
That is, of course, in part because the trailer for "Finding Neverland" is a soul-destroying two minutes of celluloid hell. Which brings me back to the dead cat in a box. See, either the trailer is accurate, and "Finding Neverland" is actually MORE HATABLE than "Catwoman"*, or the director of "Finding Neverland", the abovementioned Marc Forster, hired a wilted cabbage to put the trailer together.
Assuming, for the moment, that the trailer is an accurate representation of the final product, it's safe to say that "Finding Neverland" is the punishment meted out by an angry, vindictive God on a population that embraced "Forrest Gump", "A Beautiful Mind", "Good Will Hunting", and "Shakespeare In Love". If you enjoyed three or more of the aforementioned movies, "Finding Neverland" is your fucking fault. If you only liked two of them, you are off the hook. This time. Unless one of the two was "Forrest Gump". Or one of the two was "A Beautiful Mind". Then it's still your fucking fault. If it was both of them, just walk away while seethe over here for a bit.
See, it's one of those Merchant Ivory type period pieces, where everyone rides around in carriages and takes walks through scenery because nobody's invented cable yet. Only it's made by people who've only seen 20 minutes of one other Merchant Ivory movie. On a weekend afternoon spent channel-flipping because they don't have to walk through scenery anymore. So they looked around, tried to figure out what oldey-timey book hadn't been optioned yet, and stumbled across something about the life story of the guy who wrote "Peter Pan", James Barrie.
In "Finding Neverland", Mr. Barrie is revealed to be an... wait for it... wait for it... an ECCENTRIC MAN-CHILD WHO NEVER REALLY GREW UP. A revelation so blatant and trite that it cannot possibly be true. And the trailer can't even bring itself to make the claim with a straight face. Instead of the already debased whore that is "Based On A True Story", the people behind FN have decided the movie doesn't even meet THAT standard of accuracy, and have settled on "Inspired by True Events". It was, in fact, inspired by three true events: the birth of James Barrie, the writing of Peter Pan, and the pulling of the rest of the movie out of the writers' collective asses.
All the derivative plot points are there - the uncomnsummated, borderline-adulterous friendship between Barrie and a struggling widow with four children; the tortured artist, the dresses with Kate Winslet in them (because when you have a movie with dresses in it, it's a rule, you stick Kate Winslet into one of them), and worst of all, the fucking Gumpian aphorisms about never forgetting yoru dreams and how magic can happen if you just imagine it hard enough. The kind of thing that makes film critics with repressed memories of abuse call the movie "WONDROUS!"
And on top of all that, just when you think it can't get any worse, you find out what startlingly original choice they got to portray the eccentric man-child who never really grew up. No, not Jim Carrey. He was much too busy getting a few million to phone it in under prosthetics in the Lemony Snicket movie. Plus, this thing requires a vaguely British accent, which leaves only one man for the job: JOHNNY DEPP. Yes, the universal lust-object of 1990's proto-goth Burtonite community. Once again, the elaborate focus-grouping and trend-predicting machine that is Hollywood has produced a movie tailor-made to incur my wrath.
But let's not be too hasty. Maybe it's just a bad trailer. What else has Marc Forster done for us? A quick check of IMDB reveals only one cinematic accomplishment of note - "Monster's Ball". Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Halle Berry's Oscar is Marc Forster's fault.
I rest my case.
* Note I didn't say worse. Just more hatable, which is a separate yet still important metric.