Monday, January 16, 2012

Bobby

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
 
Bobby - 3 out of 5
 
In 2006, Emilio Estevez (the son of Martin Sheen that didn't go nuts, walk-out on a high paying gig on a unfunny sitcom and provide us with some mild amusement about Tiger Blood and the concept of winning) wrote and directed a dramatization about the real life events of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A. in 1968.  The film is shot from the perspective of fictional characters within the hotel, most of whom are based on real-life individuals who were there that fateful day but, for the most part, they are complete works of fiction.  Each character has their story to tell as they ready themselves for the moment when the future president hopefully comes to grace them with his presence.  We get to see a retired doorman  who loves chess hanging out in the lobby, a young girl marrying a friend of hers in order to protect him from being sent to Vietnam, two men who forgo knocking on doors for Bobby and decide to engage in a acid trip instead, a hotel manager sleeping with one of the phone operators for the establishment and who is also married to the woman who runs the beauty parlor, and a Yoda-like wise chef who doles out wisdom to his kitchen staff.
 
Boy Hopkins, you look like you just seen your parents having sex...and I'm sure your parents are dead.
Actually, that probably explains the look of horror.

The fact this film is based on real events and the fact it uses real archive footage within the film's running time makes it interesting and the amount of characters (all played by big, recognizable names) made for a very ambitious project for Estevez--especially considering the fact he hasn't been a household name since the Mighty Ducks franchise dried up (if that franchise was ever ripe is still under evaluation).  However, the project may have proven to be too much for the man as the movie ended up being a sloppy mess that ultimate landed in the middle of the highway that is entertainment.
 
"Tiger Blood...why didn't I think of that?"

The two things that kept this movie from running smoothly and being a contender (contender for what, I don't know) is the two things that could have made the movie amazing.  While the film is filled with excellent and interesting characters, the fact that the only thing that connects them is the fact they are in the hotel doesn't really make the film too engaging.  Other than the fact that they all end up in the ballroom to see RFK give his victory speech over winning California, most of the characters don't interact with each other.  At the beginning of the film, it's hinted that the characters will all cross paths in meaningful (and well written ways) but Estevez never truly achieves this and all the stories come together in a mangled mess and creates a slightly chaotic film as we are thrown from story to story...and thrown in a violent way as one second we will be seeing a brilliantly crafted sequence as Laurence Fishburne's character (the Yoda-like chef) is delivering some excellent advice and throwing out a terrific monologue before we are suddenly catapulted into a dry, pretentious sequence trying to imitate the previous one by being deep and meaningful but looking more like the equivalent of emo-tween high school poetry.  After that uncomfortable display, we are shot out of a canon into poorly created comic relief sequence as we must watch Ashton Kutcher and Shia LaBeouf on a acid trip.  That's right, Ashton and Shia share scenes together.  We must consider ourselves lucky that this combination of awful didn't tear a whole in the fabric of reality--then, as if we weren't in enough danger, Lindsay Lohan was in this one, too.  The fact the world didn't end with their combined lack of talent in one film is a bloody miracle on a level that nearly made an atheist like myself find God.

Fishburne doesn't have a large part but his scenes steal the movie.

Seriously, HOW did she get into this project?!?
This brings me to the second thing that kept this movie from working...the cast.  The talent used in this film is all over the place and ranges from great to "how the hell did they get into this movie."  For every Fishburne, Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood, Martin Sheen and William H. Macy, we must pay for it with a Kutcher, a LeBeouf, a Lohan and a Nick Cannon.  The greats in this film are so good I'm willing to ignore the fact that the film is trying too hard to be "60's" by reminded us every two minutes how it takes place in 1968 by having a character state the fact but having Shia do his stuttering routine, Ashton plays a cliche hippie character that you think he took a community college course on how to play a perfect hippie stereotype and Lohan actually trying to play a sweetheart innocent girl nearly makes the film fail all by itself. Seriously, how did Lohan get into the cast?  The others I can slightly understand but Lohan?  I can only imagine that she had some dirt on Estevez--but, in fairness, I believe blackmail is how she has gotten every role she's ever had.  Thankfully, the talented individuals that take up a majority of the roster are geysers of expertise that are oozing acting abilities and are quick to make you forget you had to see Shia's ass in the drug trip scene.  Also, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has a small part and I'm totally in love with that girl.  So much so, I believe I would fight seven evil ex's to be with her.
 
Can we give Elijah Wood a medal for this role?
He had to kiss Lindsay Lohan and that's the bravest thing I've ever seen a man do.

Bobby was a unique project that may have been just too big for Emilio Estevez.  I give the man points for trying, especially since the movie was a labor of love for him but the defects the film contains keeps this movie from being as good as it should have been.

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