Friday, October 14, 2005

What the Critics Aren't Seeing in "Elizabethtown"; But, They've Seen More Than Me

"A convincing happy ending - true love, fresh dreams, the open road - offers a secular vision of grace. But in this glib, sloppy movie, which recoils from authentic expressions of loss, sorrow or frustration, happiness seems more like an entitlement, taken for granted rather than longed for or earned."
- By A.O. Scott, New York Times, 10/14/05

How I disagree, let me count the ways. BUT, I have yet to see "Elizabethtown." It is Cameron Crowe's concept of re-imagining the chick-flick and it has all the makings of another cult classic, Romantic Comedy.

Happiness is a deserved, entitlement. "Longed for" happiness can be found down the Disney isle; "earned" happiness across the way in the children's religious programming. Anything with a moral is a fairy-tale told to make children behave while parents watch television dramas. A movie's theme is much different than a chldhood moral story. And, from what I've read about "Elizabethtown," the major conflict among critics is perspective.

To a Katrina evacuee, first-month's free rent and a job is happiness. To an NYC exec, happiness is watching a low-expectation stock quadruple in a week. Happiness is surreal and, often, vice versa. While I pre-judge this movie to be a lot like "Garden State" the Romantic Comedy genre isn't so much first-date roses thrown across the room as stolen gravesite memorial wreaths. There is nothing "earned" or "longed for" in the morbid. The entitlement comes on the other side of the bell-curve - the side opposite pain and suffering.


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