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The Great New Wonderful

If you read the movie's underlying concept, "The Great New Wonderful weaves five stories against the backdrop of an anxious and uncertain post-9-11 New York City" you'll probably think to yourself "damn that sounds stupid." And, indeed, it doesn't work at all. At all. It's terrible.

But the movie is actually pretty good. The five stories are all kind of awesome, and even though the "weaving" doesn't work or make sense, it doesn't really undercut the enjoyability of watching it. The acting is all solid, the dialogue is funny, the pacing is good, and generally it's worth your time and cash. I do have some fear that it might be "too New York" and that people who haven't lived there might be down on it. The director, Danny Leiner, is the veteran of such classics as Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and Dude, Where's My Car?, two of the better inane comedies of the 21st century. Were he to develop a more artistically ambitious concept than those that didn't happen to involve obviously bad idea of tossing around nonsensical 9/11 references, I think it'd be really, really good.

June 30, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Harold and Kumar was hilarious. And I don't recall anything about it being "too Jersey". (If there's anything that's going to be too New Jersey, it'll be Clerks II, although this Jersey product thinks it's impossible for anything to be too Jersey.)

And what's wrong with "weav[ing] five stories against the backdrop of an anxious and uncertain post-9-11 New York City"? Isn't that basically the same premise as last year's Oscar winner (although different on the opposite coast)? OK - maybe that wasn't so "anxious and uncertain", but still...

Posted by: Al | Jun 30, 2006 3:41:42 PM

Actually, the premise sounds like a good idea that is never executed very well in movies. That sort of thing only seems to work well in literature.

Posted by: blah | Jun 30, 2006 3:59:29 PM

Crash is a case in point. Simply horrible.

Posted by: blah | Jun 30, 2006 4:00:33 PM

I know...i thought Million Dollar Baby was the most overrated movie in recent history until I endured Crash. At least MDB stuck to ONE absurdly contrived plot.

Posted by: Greg | Jun 30, 2006 4:17:58 PM

"Isn't that basically the same premise as last year's Oscar winner?"

Crash is a deeply and profoundly bad movie.

"you'll probably think to yourself "damn that sounds stupid."

Apologies to Matthew's direct family aside, movies are all about directors, not screenplays or concepts.

Danny Leiner is god, hence the movie will be good. Life can be complicated, but cinema is simple.

Posted by: Petey | Jun 30, 2006 7:11:12 PM

you think Crash is bad, check out the earlier Crash (the one directed by Cronengerg, based on JG Ballard). Now that was bad.

Posted by: huh | Jun 30, 2006 9:18:11 PM

er, Cronenberg.

Posted by: huh | Jun 30, 2006 9:18:41 PM

Love the Cronenberg Crash. But I would, wouldn't I? The baseball cap and all.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Jun 30, 2006 9:43:40 PM

James Spader is a golden god. Him in a room with JG Ballard and David Cronenberg is like Holy Trinity of creepy-sleaze.

Posted by: Greg | Jul 2, 2006 6:35:51 AM

"James Spader is a golden god. Him in a room with JG Ballard and David Cronenberg is like Holy Trinity of creepy-sleaze."

But in a jewish monotheistic worldview, there can be only one lord of lords, with all others subservient to that vision.

And when you're working off a Ballard book, JG becomes that lord of lords, king of kings.

-----

A similar setup up on Empire of the Sun ended up with Spielberg being cast out of the holy lands from his crime of apostasy in trying to lord it over JG.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 2, 2006 11:27:30 AM

you think Crash is bad, check out the earlier Crash (the one directed by Cronengerg, based on JG Ballard). Now that was bad.

Posted by: Tavla | Jul 7, 2006 6:30:18 AM

I saw the movie on Monday and grudgingly agree with Matt's comments, each story is very good, though there a couple of false notes thrown in for needless emotional tweaks. There is simply no reason for the stories to be related though, as Matt says.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Jul 19, 2006 12:33:37 PM

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