|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Index||25 reviews in total|
I've watched Wisdom several times, and still enjoy it every once in a
while. I've always been attracted to films with an original idea in
them, and this is that kind of flick.
I like Emilio Estevez anyway, and to see him get his first chance to direct was cool. Demi Moore turns in an enjoyable, believable performance too, as did Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright.
The particulars of Wisdom's methods might be a bit muddy, and the end not entirely satisfying to some, but this film is waaay more watchable than what's been out at the theaters lately. Can Hollywood really be SO out of good, original ideas?
I had the pleasure of being Demi Moore's stand-in and photo double for
this film, after auditioning against 325 other young actresses for the
"role." Normally, you don't have to audition for that crew job, but
since this film was Emilio's directorial debut, he wanted to be able to
look through the camera lens to "see" what he and Demi would (more or
less) look like. The job of the photo double and stand-in is to do all
of the takes where you can't really see the stars' faces (drivebys,
long distance shots, etc. - yes, I was the one he had slung over his
shoulder running in the school parking lot after Karen was shot), as
well as to sit in for lighting and sound checks. It was, to put it the
most succinctly, like running away and joining the circus!
Notwithstanding some of the legitimate criticisms of the film in other reviews, from a personal standpoint I have to say that Emilio was a total gentleman, and was especially respectful to all of the crew. He thanked the actors after every take and at the end of the day, and he never went into his trailer for meals - he always sat with the crew. The very first day on set, he asked if I had my SAG card, and when I told him I only had my AFTRA card, he wrote in a line for me so that I was eligible to join SAG (they ended up using the shot in the trailer). Emilio didn't have to do that, but it was the kind of thoughtful gesture that he showed others on a regular basis.
Emilio was also well aware of the trust placed in him, being such a young man with a considerable film budget, and he was surrounded by many Hollywood veterans who were equally patient and understanding (Robert Wise, Bernie Williams, to name a few).
While this may not be a true "review" of the film, I thought those of you who had written here might enjoy knowing some of the "behind the scenes" thoughts from someone who was there for the whole shoot. Personally, I enjoyed every moment of the experience, I learned a lot, and I will always be grateful to Emilio for his generosity of spirit and kindness. He was a class act, every step of the way.
I can still remember this film though I have seen it when I was somewhere like 14 years old. I feel like this is the story to listen to but not by the simple people all over the world but by those who are on the top of the power ladder. The rich get richer and poor become even more poor and there must be something changed about this - there must be someone. So the main character decides to be that someone, only not in the legal way. When in the end he comes to some conclusions.... I disagree that this movie is bad or that Emilio acted not well. This movie had a profound impression on me and I still think of it as of a good social drama.
I think alot of people knew from the get-go this movie wasnt going to be a award winning movie, but I don't think the movie was horrible. It certainly wasn't Emilio or Demi's finest work but for being the age Emilio was when he wrote and directed this movie, he didn't do that bad of a job. As far as the critics go with this movie: In my opinion they weren't going to be kind with this movie no matter how it good it was because of Demi and Emilio's "Brat pack" status.
23-year-old screw-up decides to "screw the system" by pulling bank heists across the Southwest--not for the money, but to destroy mortgage documents and home loan statements, thereby giving financially-strapped landowners a few months to catch up on their payments. While a noble cause, the young man and his accomplice-girlfriend soon find this isn't exactly a profitable way to become illegal heroes; when he eventually resorts to stealing cash, his adoring public turns on him. Clumsy and awkward directorial debut from Emilio Estevez (with help from veteran director Robert Wise), who also has the lead role and wrote the screenplay. This is the type of vanity project which begins with a baby-photo montage of its star, quickly becoming a derivative 'lovers on the run' saga for bleeding hearts. The script has enough holes to drive a gas-guzzler through, but Estevez left himself an out by concocting a jaw-dropping conclusion. It may carpet the mistakes, but it's a prank played at the viewer's expense. *1/2 from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Emelio Estevez makes his writing and directorial debut in Wisdom, the
story of a guy named John Wisdom who finds himself in sort of an early
life crisis, I guess. Barely entering the real world, he is coming to
realize that life is harder than he has been brought up to believe, and
he becomes convinced that all this stuff he's been hearing all his life
about how he can be anything he wants is not really true, and so he
sets out to do what any rational person would do in such a situation.
He embarks on a dizzyingly adventurous life of crime and the freedom of
the open road. All can only end happily for everyone involved.
But rather than become your typical bank robber, Wisdom, after brainstorming at length about the type of criminal that he aspires to be, decides he's going to be a criminal FOR the people. No one can be hurt by his crimes except for big evil corporations and, more specifically, greedy banks. Wisdom believes that he has been dealt an unfair hand in the game of life, and sitting in a bus station in the early part of his wandering, he sees a commercial that convinces him that this he's not the only one. Millions of hard working Americans work themselves to the bone for their entire lives, only to have everything taken away in a flash by the banks when they should be ready to retire in comfort and happiness. And as Brig. Gen. Francis X. Hummel said in The Rock, the situation is unacceptable.
Hence we have an understandable concern about a truly troublesome situation of many people in America, but it's a weak premise for the rest of the movie, possibly because 24 year old Estevez, as Wisdom, looks like he's 16 years old in the entire movie. Granted, his character is not meant to be much older than that, but there is a definite element of juvenile grandiose fantasy that renders much of the movie into something of a high school kid's dream of fame and a life of righteous crime.
Demi Moore, also 24 years old, plays the equally high school-ish love interest, oddly more ready to leave her boyfriend when he's in a persistent bad mood than she is when he runs out of a bank with a gun and jumps in her car and tells her to step on it with no warning or hesitation. The two ultimately become sort of a mesh of Bonnie and Clyde, Robin Hood, Mickey and Mallory, etc., as they cross the country holding up banks, but only for the purpose of burning lots of mortgage records, thereby erasing massive amounts of working class debt. Evidently mortgage companies and banks hold only a single solitary copy of debt records, and clearly there can't have been any computerized records, this is 1986 after all. Computers were like the size of Volkswagens back then, weren't they?
So here are a few reasons that the movie is just about unwatchable. First, there is the acting. I'll just specify the scene where Wisdom finally is able to talk to his parents after being on the run for several days. Very emotional, and quite possibly the least bearable scene in the film. Just stop, Emilio. This, as Roger Ebert might say, is a scene meant to be cut up and made into ukulele picks for the poor. Second, there's the pursuit. The FBI is chasing them, and at one point the head FBI agent worriedly hopes that they can get to them before they get to a certain bank. Would it not be prudent to send some agents straight to that bank to meet them? Thirdly, there's the simplicity of it all. Americans in debt, Wisdom comes in armed with an Uzi to save the day. Please. The last line in the film, more than any other line in any other movie I've ever seen, completely cancels itself out. It literally would have made no difference if the final line had been 'Why did we even make this movie?'
(spoilers) You can kind of track the progression of the writing, the ideas changing and evolving as the story develops. First there's the young kid trying to make some sense out of what he has to work with in his life, then the determined young man out to help his fellow man, then the Robin Hood, sequence, then Bonnie and Clyde after they tarnish their consciences, then the high speed pursuit as the police close in on them despite their own incompetence. The car chase is a great scene, it's a surprisingly well-made car chase for such a weak film, but the build up is heavily flawed. The scene where Demi kills the sheriff is a real forehead slapper.
On the run and with their faces plastered all over the TV and newspapers, Karen (Moore) walks into a convenience store and is shocked to find the sheriff walking in. So what does she do? She walks toward the door, stops behind him, and stares at him like a frightened deer, motionless until he can gradually recognize her. At one point, he even asks her, 'Are you okay, miss?' Sure, she was terrified, but I get so tired of scenes where you're sitting there yelling at the screen because all she has to do is keep walking. Had she just walked out, chances are the sheriff wouldn't have thought twice about it, and just kept right on living. But no, she had to pull out her gun and shoot him, and then jump into the car with her boyfriend so they can zoom down the highway to their deaths.
Sadly, once that car chase is over, it's all downhill. You can't really root for Wisdom to run around killing people, because he's not supposed to be a bad guy and is definitely not supposed to be a killer. Like his choices in life, he was supposed to have been DRIVEN to it by society. He had no choice, right? So why not return fire when they shoot Karen near the end of the film after they try to steal the Mustang? That jerk shot your girlfriend out of a helicopter, man! Shoot it down! Here's my theory Estevez HAD to have known that his audience was going to want him to return fire, the FBI agent had long since been established as an antagonist. I'm sure Emilio wanted to put that in the script as well, a great way for them both to go out in a glorious hail of bullets, he probably just didn't have the budget to blow up a helicopter. So we get this scene in the football stadium. Why the cops went there in the first place I have no idea.
The movie knows what it wants to do and, thematically, it sets about to do it in a straight line. Unfortunately the characters change constantly, each one making ridiculous decisions out of the blue or to support the ridiculous decisions of the other ones, gradually changing into different people as a life of crime can do, but doing so through a series of wholly unbelievable scenes and events. And besides that, Demi had yet to make much of an impression, which surely must have worried her since she has a 10th grade education and doesn't have a lot to fall back on besides acting, and let's face it, Emilio had a rough introduction to writing and directing. Evidently he learned a lot of lessons from this movie before coming back in spectacular form in 1990.
"Wisdom" is actually nowhere near as bad as its rep would suggest if you
take it for what it is: a trashy B-movie which you should watch when you
feel like laughing instead of thinking. In its cool pretty boy chic
fashions, the movie is just so totally 80s and the various scenes where
Estevez beats the cops on his trail, such as the dummy scene, are
side splitting. I actually liked the "cop out" ending because I thought it
was original for a movie of this sort and did not see it coming.
Furthermore, this movie, for its low ambitions, has some surprisingly good
camera work . My main reason, though, for liking this movie is the
catchy soundtrack by Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo. Now, the bad ? Well,
let´s just say that "Wisdom" never quite rises above the level of a lesser
"Sledge Hammer" episode.
Wisdom (1986) was a film that was written, directed, produced and
starred Emilio Estevez. This movie was produced during the height of
Emilio's career. He was also one of the youngest actors tin Hollywood
to ever take on such as task. The end results are that of a novice film
makers. In the end he bitten off more than he could chew.
The film is about a young wash out who can't do anything right. So he decides to become a sort of a modern day Robin Hood with his girlfriend/co-conspirator Demi Moore by his side. The young lovers hit the road and decide to make history.
Overall, it's an uneven production. The actors seemed to be unmotivated and the written is pretty run-of-the-mill. A good concept that's executed by mediocre hands. Estevez should have started out small before taking on such a big project. One the other hand I have to give him a big hand for pulling this one off.
Recommended for Emilio Estevez fans.
Factoids: Part of the movie was filmed in my hometown of Sacramento. I remembered all of the hub bub it created ten years ago. Charlie Sheen has a cameo as his "former" supervisor.
'Wisdom' is the rather mediocre directorial debut of actor Emilio
Esteves who plays the outlaw twenty-three year old turned hero, Johnny
Wisdom. Wisdom is a young kid with problems finding stable employment
because he was convicted of a felony as a teenager. So, he figures that
the only option he has left is to become a criminal. Only, he's not
really sure what kind of criminal, so in the process of shopping for a
cause, he decides to become a criminal "for the people, rather than
against them." He comes to this conclusion after watching television
and seeing--in those wonderful Reagan Years--numerous working people
losing their jobs and the banks coming in to foreclose, especially the
farmers. Wisdom becomes a hero to the people because, instead of
robbing banks, the fugitive crosses the country with his
girlfriend/accomplice (Demi Moore) destroying all of the mortgage
records in the banks (you'd think that after the dangerous duo became
highly publicized, the banks would've taken precaution and moved their
records out of the bank). The people love him, but it won't last long,
with a detective close on his trail. You should know how a movie like
this ends if you've seen 'Falling Down,' 'Miles From Home,' 'Bonnie and
Clyde' (though, they weren't really criminals for the people), or 'The
Legend of Billie Jean' (though the hero in Billie Jean doesn't meet the
same fate as Wisdom).
The movie labors on terribly for the first half hour, trying to make hero into some sort of confused kid. Although, he looks less like a decided avenger for the people and more like a kid who isn't too sure what he is getting himself into, or that he has the ability to deal with the consequences. I don't know that Esteves made an effective 'Wisdom' this point because while he had that sort of innocent good guy appeal, he never really looked like the kind of guy tough enough to carry out the "mission." And, as another viewer wrote, he was just too young looking for the part and the "adventure" plays out at many points like a teenage fantasy, especially when he and his girlfriend get their pictures in the paper. He seems like less and less of a hero as the movie progresses and more like just a naive kid (his girlfriend, too).
And, while there are many moments of comedic dialog, overall the dialog is quite cheesy, sprinkled with inappropriately timed confessions of 'I love you' from the girlfriend, or pretty much most of the dialog at the end. Esteves wrote a script that was peppered with a bit too much cheesiness (this was not his writing debut, since he wrote the screenplay to 'That Was Then, This is Now').
The only real bonus to the movie is the climactic car chase in which several cop cars get rudely drilled. I'll have to agree with the other viewer who wrote that, it is all downhill from here. You should know how it is going to end up anyways, by that point.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The comparaison may be big but let me explain first. Emilio Estevez direct his first movie here at 23, on the peek of his career. Not a bad budget at all and a nice cast with himself, Demi Moore, Tom Skerrit. Estevez's movie is telling you the story of John Wisdom, he have trouble finding a job and when he have one he gets fired. Well, he needs money. So, he convince her girlfriend to go on a spree of robbing banks. It's a very effective concept, and Emilio was barely 23 in fact in this and direct this at the same time, kudos Emilio. You did a very good job ! It's an unknown movie theses days, unfortunately, there's a lot of narration like Tree of Life, a lot of ''what the ?, huh i don't understand'' like Tree of Life... OK the performances are not Oscar worthy but this isn't 2 near 50ish year old actor that have 30 years of experience, but Moore and Estevez have 23-24 !! I don't know if Terrence Mallick saw this, but probably because it gives you a lot to think about it ! You have to watch it more than once to see the details you have probably miss, the message that the movie sent.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Parents Guide||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|