February 05, 2009

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

We walked 4.4 miles to get to this movie, from South Berkeley to the El Cerrito speakeasy, north of Berkeley, much of that walk, once you get to the Ohlone Greenway, is along parks, fields, playgrounds, dog walks, bikers & joggers, & it's bustling at rush hour. Then, the 2-for-1 price showing of Benjamin Button was sold out! So we killed time at the strip mall for three hours waiting for the 9:15 show. I was happy to discover, while at Barnes & Noble reading More Information than You Require by John Hodgman, that on his quotes page by the frontispiece, he references Pierre Menard as the author for his Don Quixote quote. (The non-Borges Pierre Menard, no relation, is pictured in both images. Menard was a fur trader & beardless Illinois politician, not to be confused with Jorge Luis Borges' Pierre Menard, who was the author of Don Quixote.)

Benjamin Button, despite the oscar shark frenzy, is not one of the best movies. It's definitely a good movie, but I thought it fell short in bunches of ways. Like, when Benjamin Button is a middle-aged man in a teenage body, he sort of takes off around India with a bandanna. It would have been more interesting if he, like, kept dressing conservatively & was confused by the hippy culture developing around him. In that way & others, I felt they didn't really delve deep enough into the potential the premise allowed. Glean what afflicts him. Then, there's the Forrest Gump Dilemma. Was this movie too Forrest Gump-y or not Forrest Gump-y enough? By strattling this chasm it chose mediocrity over trodden paths, cliches, or originality. Next, there's the Big Fish hook: does anyone ever enjoy the scenes in the hospital where the history is being read to the infirmed elder? It worked in The Princess Bride, but most things that work in the Princess Bride don't work elsewhere. I call that the Princess Bride Conundrum. Lastly, there's the Brad Pitt Paradox. I'm taking suggestions for what the Brad Pitt Paradox might entail, but I reckon it has something to do with his simultaneously being a fine, subtle & intelligent actor & also whatever else he is - in short, tho, this wasn't his best role.

1 comment:

Olaf Mary said...

his best role was in burn after reading. a fine movie.