Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Words

***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. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. 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 great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Don't plagiarize, kids.  What works for Dane Cook won't work for you.

The Words – 2 out of 5

I learned in school early on that your entire life can be destroyed in a single instant if you plagiarize someone's work. The teacher made it sound like those drug ads that state if you smoke a single marijuana cigarette you will end up a junkie that’s unable to work and gives out handjobs to millionaires just so you can get some scrapes together to buy some skunk weed and eventually die from dehydration and starvation because you forgot to eat due to getting high so much (that ad exists right?). My teacher made it sound like that…only a million times worse—like, while you were doing that, a werewolf with a barbed penis and AIDS is constantly jumping out and raping you at random intervals before stealing your pot you stroked so hard to save up for. School made stealing other people’s work sound like the worst thing on the planet…and yet, when Carlos Mencia does it, we celebrate—I’m kidding, nobody likes Carlos Mencia and his joke stealing earned him his reputation of being an asshole. Cooper doing a Sammy Davis, Jr. impression?

The Words is a story being told by Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid). Hammond wrote a book about a man named Rory (Bradley Cooper). Rory is a struggling writer and rather than just self publish his book which, like most self published books, is probably just a rip off of whatever big seller is currently eating the market (there are literally 200 million rip offs of The Hunger Games and Twilight being self published as I type this [citation needed]), Rory struggles to get his writing noticed by the bigwigs—“bigwigs” is the technical term for people in the publishing industry.

"My book contains more than 140, it might not keep the attention
of many of you out there in the audience."

Look, words!  This movie is so goddamn literal!
 Rory is your stereotypical starving artist—he doesn’t work and he mooches money from his father (played by the awesome J.K. Simmons) and yet, he somehow has snagged a smoking hot wife (Zoe Saldana) that is perfectly okay with the fact his idea of a hard day at the office was having to put on pants and run down to the corner market for coffee after writing about three paragraphs in his novel. Eventually, Rory stumbles upon a manuscript that tells the tale of a man in Paris during the war and is so blown away that he does what any logical writer would do—he steals it and claims he wrote it. Everything is sunshine and stardom until the day comes where the original author steps up and kicks Rory in the metaphoric balls. The man (credited only as The Old Man and played by Jeremy Irons) tells Rory his story and kicks him again—this time in the metaphoric guilt trip balls. The kick works and Rory feel awful for claiming ownership over another man’s musings and is willing to ruin his career, his life and his marriage over the mistake.

Then, at one point, we're suppose to believe that Olivia Wilde wants to sleep with Dennis Quaid.

The Words had promise and potential for a dramatic story. Just imagine the shit that could go down between Cooper and Irons in this one…are you imagining it? Well, I’ll just wait here until you do.

It's hard for me to see Jeremy Irons do anything but threaten Bruce Willis over the telephone.

Okay, I’m going to assume you have had enough time to properly imagine it. The dynamic of the Rory character stealing the life’s work of The Old Man is ripe for drama; Rory’s life goes down the drain, The Old Man is given a choice of letting the man drown in his devious ways or forgiving him for making a selfish mistake. Or how awesome would it have been to see the ill-gotten fame be expanded upon and see Rory rise to exalted status only to have it crash and burn with the heat of our yellow sun? Sadly, none of this really goes down.

The Old Man also wrote the Twilight novels but immediately tossed them out
in the garbage for Stephanie Meyer to collect and use her pact with the Devil
to gain fortune and fame from them.

Oh, there’s some drama between Rory and The Old Man but it fails, greatly, to live up to the circumstances. When The Old Man’s story is told, we get to feel how he poured all his loves, passions, pains and sorrows into his story that he only ended up losing to Rory but his pain is really all I experienced in the story. I never really got to see any tension between the two—with an exception of when The Old Man first comes forward to Rory. After that brief moment, the drama that follows doesn’t live up to what could be there.

Most of the tension during their meeting came in the fact The Old Man
wasn't wearing anything under that coat.

The same event occurs when it’s revealed to his wife that he lied about the novel being his. This scene should have been extremely emotional and very heavy and had a lasting impact on the story. While it does have a ripple effect and ends up playing an important role in the ending (and I loved the ending, by the way), the drama that should have come from it feels like it was at a 5 when it should have been at a 7 or 8, minimum. And that is a horrible let down.

See, this is about a 2 or a 3.  Not nearly high enough.

Despite having a great cast, much of the acting isn’t that spectacular. No one is really terrible but no one is really doing much to shine and all are giving off about as much effort as the drama is in the story—it’s there but not to the degree it should be at. However, I think this was Bradley Cooper’s weakest effort I’ve ever seen him in. During the entire film, he seemed lost on how to accurately portray the deep emotions that Rory is going through. When he’s happy, it doesn’t feel genuine—instead, he looks like what an overacting drama douche with a major in theater at a community college believes what happiness is suppose to look like and only has knowledge of joy from a book that they just kinda skimmed through. In fact, any time Cooper is trying to look excited when his novel is being considered for publishing, he looks like he has absolutely no understanding of how the emotion is suppose to be portrayed. Granted, he gets some of the sadness and guilt down but since the story doesn’t place enough emphasis on these elements, his talent in this section is wasted…and speaking of wasted, his best acting came when he acted like he was drunk.

In the morning he won't remember this and will have to go on an adventure
with his two friends to figure out what happened.

The Words, honestly, had a lot of potential to be a great film about a writer that is so desperate for success and recognition that he’s willing to do the worst thing possible when it concerns writing. While the story is there, the cast is present and all seems like it could be mixed together to create a tremendous story heavy in emotion and drama, the film fails to live up to this potential and doesn’t allow it to blend enough where all the ingredients are mixed into a smooth, rich treat (not entirely sure why I suddenly went into a blender metaphor there).

It's a mystery why The Old Man turned to a life of writing.  I mean, look at all that!

Sticking with my blender comparison, The Words is a lumpy, tasteless mush that could have been great if done right. There are elements (or ingredients) that work but are not utilized they way they should. The cast is filled with very talented people but none of them are really giving a noteworthy performance and the story is solid and ripe for something interesting and compelling but it just wasn’t feathered out the way it needed to be.

Well, at least Zeljko Ivanek had a role in it.  So, it has that going for it.

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