An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.
Grady Tripp is a professor/writer living in Pittsburgh who is struggling with writer's block. Whilst doing this, he also manages to get the chancellor pregnant. In the meantime, he and a college student, James Leer are trying to find a rare jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe, and a college girl, Hannah Green boarding with Grady has a bit of a crush on him. Written by
Dave Lean <email@example.com>
The film was originally released in February of 2000 to almost universal praise (especially for the performance of Michael Douglas) but with very little fanfare. Paramount, the film's distributor, decided to re-release the film that November with a different marketing campaign that highlighted its strong supporting cast, and hopes that it would garner some Oscar nominations, despite Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Friedman's acknowledgment that no studio had ever successfully re-released a picture that initially flopped. See more »
The first rainy scene in front of Tripp's house was obviously filmed on a bright sunny day because there is bright sunlight and sharp shadows cast on the house See more »
"The young girl sat perfectly still in the confessional listening to her father's boots scrape like chalk on the ancient steps of the church, then grow faint, then disappear altogether. She could sense the priest beyond the grate..." On that particular Friday afternoon, last February, I was reading a story to my Advanced Writers' Workshop by one James Leer, Junior Lit major and sole inhabitant of his own gloomy gulag.
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At a recent Dylan concert, my friend Charlie pointed out a shiny gold statuette placed unobtrusively atop one of the speakers way in the back of the stage. It was the Oscar which Dylan won for his Best Song "Things Have Changed" from this movie, from "The Wonder Boys." I was glad that my friend pointed out that gold thing in the background because it added a whole other dimension to the concert. There was a story behind the statue - the whole "Wonder Boys" story and I was glad to be familiar with it. No, Bob never mentioned the statue. Why should he? He's Bob Dylan. He just did his thing, played his music.
Life presents us with the absurd as much as it does the mundane. Watching the way people handle the good and bad drama in their life is a hobby of mine. I liked the way Bob Dylan kept his "Wonder Boys" gold quietly present.
Michael Douglas' Grady Tripp doesn't call attention to his abnormally odd weekend, either. Douglas' Grady always maintains his cool even with a transvestite's tuba and his mistress' husband's dead dog and "the Crabtree pharmacopoeia" in the trunk of his ass-marked car. Grady deals with all of it. Grady deals with everything this peculiar weekend shows him - with a calm voice and an attitude mellowed from either age or experience or pot. In the here and now, he is calm and quiet but we all know that he'll have his anxiety or heart attack quietly near offstage with as few crowds and drama about them as possible.
Grady speaks lines like "gimme the gun, James" matter of factly, the same way that his married girlfriend tells him she's pregnant, the same way he'd order a drink from Oola. Why add drama and histrionics to the mix? He is what he is. Things are the way they are - even though things have changed.
One of the things that separates one human from another is the way we deal with change. isn't it? Personally? I want to hear about the absurdities of life. I like observing how people deal with it all. I like those stories.
Tripp's fellow travelers are in flux too - it's not just Grady going through change - his wife (unseen), his mistress (France McDormand), his editor (Robert Downey, Jr.), his students (Tobey Maguire and Katie Holmes) - all of them are experiencing an extraordinary weekend but there's hardly a voice raised in the storytelling.
The soundtrack alone is worth the viewing, thanks, Bob Dylan! And Curtis Hansen, Michael Chabon - tell me another story, please! If you can manage to bring a similarly wonderful ensemble cast - even better!
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