Chris Blattman

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The Descendants

It is a critic’s pick (e.g. the NY Times) and apparently a favorite for Best Picture. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

It is entertaining and pleasing to watch. It avoids most of the opportunities for cliche. The Hawaiian soundtrack is original. George Clooney does an excellent rendition of George Clooney. Ho hum.

Usually a good litmus test for a character-driven story is: “Would I feel much emotion if one of the characters were hit by a bus?” In this case, not really. There is no sense they are real or interesting and hence worthy of attachment.

You might think “What’s the big deal? It’s a Hollywood production, so what did you expect?” I agree. But when you have a baby, film-going is much more difficult, in part because the price of a babysitter is only slightly less absurd, for the value, than the theater popcorn and soda. So the critically acclaimed films get your hopes a little higher, and more likely to be dashed.

I think I probably should have gone to see Once Upon A Time in Anatolia, even if it the most boring trailer ever. And Tyler Cowen tells me 24 hours too late that I should have seen A Separation.


8 Responses

  1. Once Upon A Time In Anatolia isn’t worth the time. It’s well shot, thought provoking certainly, but not worth the babysitter. The trailer is an accurate reflection of the movie.

  2. Go see A Separation. Sell something on ebay if need be. One of the most complex movies of the past few years. Not a single character is a cliche.

  3. When you have kids, sometimes you have to revalue your opportunity cost. The alone-time with your significant other is the worthwhile component of the venture…there will always be Hollywood pablum

  4. I agree. Saw The Descendants the other day and found the plot forgettable and the characters unlikeable. On the other hand, saw the new Muppets movie today, and loved it!

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