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|Index||29 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a waste of talent -- although it appears that Crudup in real life
is a lot more like the vapid, self- absorbed, character-less character
he portrays in this disappointing movie.
In art, sometimes the empty spaces reveal more than the painted or created content. What this movie reveals is the unconsciousness and the contradictory/competing, unresolved impulses/consciousness of the film's director/writer. It unintentionally shows the LACK of awareness that a truly evolved, deeply aware character should have and be tormented about in order to deserve audience empathy or sympathy OR the lack of which is used to serve as a cautionary tale to the audience. But this film fails on either level in that regard.
The fact that Cal, the main character (very much an ANTagonist, not a protagonist in the true sense of the word), has no empathy for anyone, especially those most deserving of it (which does NOT include him) and that he has such overblown, entitled, self-pitying, whiney sympathy only for himself, combined with the hallmark lack of remorse and no sense of guilt or awareness of his impact on others -- all converge in this film to make him the epitome of the self-involved, developmentally arrested, narcissistic sociopath -- somehow this is now the gold standard for males on film and in the world at this point and time.
One of his counterpoints (James LeGros) states with a laser-true flash: "I bet you haven't done one good thing in life -- and I bet you won't". It captures the absolute essence of the Cal character. Something the other characters he bulldozes over in the film seem to realize fairly quickly despite the director having stacked the deck to manipulate sympathy for Cal. That is a testament to the supporting cast's talent and skills.
Cal's eventual 'return' has nothing to do with character development, transformation or evolution of consciousness. It has only to do with the ultimate capitulation that until something better comes along, he may as well be back in his comfy cozy status quo of entitled enablement where the living is easy and no one will demand that he grow up--something of which he is willfully incapable and uninterested in doing.
The film could have been pointed and intentional about showing the traps and tragedies -- the devastating effects of this kind of lack of conscience/ consciousness, but it excuses and glorifies it instead -- in fact, it wallows in self-pity right along with the arrogant, selfish, emotionally stunted main character.
(and it sure sent chills up my spine when thinking of the recent revelations about convicted murderer Scott Peterson).
If you want to see Crudup at his most nuanced and full of an exciting potential that has never been truly realized in my opinion, see the underrated 'Inventing the Abbotts' ....
This film was so unfocused, rambling and uneven that it was an effort to watch the whole thing. (I actually thought some interesting plot elements might develop.) This was nothing more than a "coming-of-age" film for the thirty-something generation. Total crap and I have no idea what Julianne Moore was doing in this since it was the only reason I picked it off the shelf at the rental store.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This curiosity filled the screen on Sundance recently and I found
myself watching it right through to the end. In it, a thirty-something
married man panics when he finds himself psychologically strained by an
excess of responsibility on the one hand and too much testosterone on
the other. Thus begins a cross country flight in his appropriately
yuppie Volvo station wagon to find himself.
What happens next is almost as preposterous as the apparent idea that there is anything likable about the guy at all. Like Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch, actor Crudup mugs his way through the vicissitudes of meeting one improbable and willowy blonde, brunette, or redhead (all of whom seem to be taller than he) after another. Each one is either too smothering or loony, offering him the altogether too-easy option of dumping them as he makes his way to Oregon to link up with his estranged father, who proves just as selfish and unpleasant as himself -- thus hastening a predictable conclusion in which he finally gets exactly what he doesn't deserve.
It is not so much that there are innumerable geographical goofs in the film that annoy the hell out of me (most of it was either filmed from helicopters or in odd parts of Oregon and Alabama -- say what? -- including sudden impossible changes in weather and one shot of the Minneapolis airport with mountains in the background), but rather that the main character exudes an ambiguity unrelieved by a plot that goes nowhere.
One interesting and commendable feature, however, is that of showing out-of-sequence flashes in his head that are alternately dreamlike and threatening. Although it's been done before, there is much to be said about this cinematic device as displayed here.
Billy Crudup stars in this slow moving film as "Cal", an architect who one
day just walks out on his loving wife and son. What Cal is in search of we
know not, but he is full of self-loathing for leaving and begins a drunken
trek cross country. In his travels he meets a series of people who he
like crap and then wallows in more self loathing and drink. The movie does
end up with a moral; Cal realizes that he had it pretty good at home, but
don't realize this until we've sat through at least the first ninety
wondering where this movie and Cal, for that matter, are headed. Adding to
the confusion are some flashback sequences that are never explained and
nothing to do with the ending what-so-ever. The only bright spot is when
meets up with Dulcie (Moore), and you think "Aha! I know where this movie
headed", and then it doesn't go that way at all. And that's a shame.
Dulcie's story line is dropped just as the movie takes a turn towards
remotely interesting, and we are sent right back on Cal's boring journey.
There is nothing redeemable in the character of Cal, and what he needs is
swift kick to the butt. Add to that a soundtrack that is ninety percent
Willie Nelson songs, and you can see where a good shot of caffeine prior
watching this movie will come in handy. On an upnote, the cinematography
beautiful; it just should have been saved for a better movie. If you
need to be told that there's no place like home, watch "The Wizard of Oz"
This is one of those road movies that would like to tell you a lotta
things about women,the universe,the better life,the terrible solitude
of the brilliant architect from Manhattan who severs all links with
everyone,including his three years old child -which may seem
irresponsible to some-Actually the hero wins hands down when it comes
to selfishness and the scene with his old school pal ,which begins as
some kind of good old days conversation and ends on a threatening note
is the oasis in a desert movie.
The scene with-the-father-who-left-home-when -I-was-a child has been told and told and TOLD.Of course it did not prevent the offspring from making his way of life.And when you see the hero's wife's attitude ,you may think she must never have heard about woman's lib.
The best is the soundtrack which includes superb songs by Willie Nelson,Tom Waits or Bonnie Raitt...But you can enjoy them without this tedious pretentious work.
I really enjoyed this entire movie. It is not fast paced, but that is appropriate for the story line. People who think it plods along may need more action, but that is their issue. It is not formulaic, not a flickering screen every 5 seconds. Good acting by all actors -- especially leading man Billy Crudup as the man who thinks he can walk away, and supporting actress Julianne Moore as a delusional woman who claims to be escaping from her husband. This is a tough story about a man struggling to handle being a responsible adult, who makes some terrible choices while searching for answers. I believe the character finds out there are no easy answers and nothing will help him fully understand "why." I think this movie speaks about the many people who at times feel like lost souls, trying to figure out how they ended up where they are and wondering what would it be like to just leave it all behind. Turns out you can't really leave it all behind because your past life follows you and haunts you wherever you go. I recommend it.
You get something like "World Traveler." This movie rang so false throughout
that it was sort of like sitting through a not-so-gifted recital of
Rachmaninoff. There's mastery somewhere in there but you just can't see or
feel it. And maybe the only mastery in World Traveler was the memories of
the performances of the cast in other roles, in other, far better movies. It
is unforgivable to squander such talent.
And the story held such promise! A man leaves his perfect life to freewheel it, booze it up, get laid, have no responsibilities. I like that story. That this writer/director took it no further than the surface is a mysterious shame. Why write this if there is no motivation given? Why waste our time like this?
I'm not sure why this movie scores so low. Without knowing anything about
it, I took a
risk and rented it based on the cast of Billy Crudup and Julianne Moore.
Both of them
are very good, there are many supporting cast performances which are also
Simply put, the movie doesn't insult the intelligence of the viewer.
On the DVD commentary track the director mentions the resistance he got from many studio execs while trying to fund the movie, and he got lots of criticism that his main character (Crudup) was unlikeable. Seeing this movie while knowing that "hollywood" resisted mightily might lead to some insight as to the mindset of the power players. The main character has more of a human range of behaviors than seems comfortable to those who crave cartoon superheros.
I don't think the title is great. I don't have a better one, see if you do after you see it. "Father" should be in the title somewhere.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Aside from some gorgeous color cinematography and BILLY CRUDUP's
excellent performance as a man seeking self-discovery, WORLD TRAVELER
has little to offer in the way of compelling situations or touching
dialog. The character played by JULIANNE MOORE is slightly off kilter
from the start, so it's not too surprising that she turns out to be a
mentally ill woman talking to and about a non-existent child.
But the real weakness of WORLD TRAVELER is that the script goes nowhere in search of "the truth." Even the reunion scene with Crudup's dad, played by David KEITH (who is only slightly older than Crudup), fails to give any depth to the characters they play. Nevertheless, thanks to their performances, this section of the film stirs the most interest.
Any man who runs into the kind of boring characters that Crudup does should be more than willing to return home to wife and child. That seems to be the moral of this disappointing little tale, worth watching only to see Crudup emerge as a sensitive actor worth taking note of.
Not a bad movie, but not a great one either. There doesn't seem to be much of a point to this movie. I got this movie because of the box, I love road trip style movies. The acting here is great, but the story fails to deliver much; it is very predictable. I guess that I would say that the best element of this film is the scenery of the United States. They show the best of the best, from Wyoming to Montana to the beaches to the deserts. To sum it up quickly, the lead character, Cal, is looking for a better life and hits the road in search of it, but sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side. From state to state and female friend Billy Crudup plays this role well. Julianne Moore also does a fine job with her role in this movie.
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