Friday, 3 December 2010

Morning Glory and Others

I like Rachel McAdams. I like Harrison Ford. I like Jeff Goldblum. I liked almost every scene in Morning Glory in which McAdams interacted with Ford or Goldblum and I liked the performance of each of these actors throughout the film. It wasn’t enough.

When Morning Glory focused on relationships, especially the ones mentioned above, I quite enjoyed it. Unfortunately, Morning Glory (directed by Roger Michell) is framed around a plot that was so revolting to me that I could not enjoy the film as a whole. That plot has to do with a morning TV show called Daybreak, which Becky Fuller (McAdams) finds herself producing. What she does to improve the ratings of this show is absolutely disgusting and I struggled unsuccessfully to find a hint of irony or parody. Everything that’s wrong with television, including the way TV handles news stories, is presented without apparent apology in Morning Glory (at least 30 Rock makes TV look as ridiculous as it is). When Daybreak was on the air, I tuned out, as the supposedly growing TV audience should have done. Fuller’s efforts should have been singularly unsuccessful, but...

Aside from TV series on DVD, which I can watch without ads whenever I want to, and the odd sporting event, I have watched almost no TV for many many years. Morning Glory shows one reason why, but the laughs didn’t work for me. Roger (Ebert) somehow gave this film ***+, making me think I should go see it. Not worth the $10 for me, though Kathy enjoyed it more. **+ My mug is facing the wrong way.

Pillars of the Earth

Speaking of TV on DVD, I made the mistake of picking up, and immediately watching, Pillars of the Earth, based on the book by Ken Follett. Having been told that the book is well worth reading and seeing a very fine lineup of actors, and knowing the film concerned the building of a cathedral in the twelfth century, I thought this would be the kind of miniseries Kathy and I would love. I was profoundly disappointed, and I can only hope and suppose that the writer and director were to blame. The miniseries was clumsy, ridiculously graphic in its depiction of violence and completely uninspiring. Compare it to The Tudors, also made with Canadian involvement, which Kathy and I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated over the years. The Tudors is an example of what TV is capable of at its best. Pillars shows how badly TV can mess up even a good story with good actors.

Inside Job

This documentary film should be studiously avoided by almost everyone in the western world (especially by Americans), unless you somehow escaped the 2008 financial meltdown unscathed. The avoidance of this film is not because of its quality. This is a superb documentary, written and directed by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon. Inside Job brilliantly explains what happened before and during 2008 leading to the financial crisis which cost millions and millions of people (the poorer ones, of course) their jobs and their homes. I’m sure every word is true (e.g. that the men responsible knew what they were doing but saw how they could get rich while countless others suffered) and that these men are still calling the shots for the U.S. government instead of serving time in jail (actually, I do not believe in prisons, but these fellows need to at least be prevented from working in any finance-related job).

So why should you avoid seeing this film? Because it will make you so angry that I fear for your cardiovascular system, that’s why. **** My mug is way up.


  1. I imagine that you were concerned about tossing out a spoiler, but it's hard to fully appreciate your disgust and decide whether it's worth it to watch when you don't give more of a hint as to what made their methods so disgusting. Can you give a hint?

    I appreciate your controlled venting of your aggression on the final paragraph on Inside Job - hope writing it cooled your own cardiovascular system.

  2. It's not that much of a spoiler. Basically the producer (McAdams) dumns down the morning show (I am talking EXTREME silliness) and turns it into something which, for me, would be pure torture to watch. Needless to say, being tortured while sitting in a movie theatre does not contribute to a positive rating from me.