A political satire set in Turaqistan, a country occupied by an American private corporation run by a former US Vice-President. In an effort to monopolize the opportunities the war-torn ... See full summary »
An author who returns to his hometown to deliver a commencement address to a class of graduating high school students has to deal with his feelings for an old flame as well as the advances of a student who has the hots for him.
What makes a hero? January, 1986. Campbell Babbitt is a reporter for the New York World, writing a series on a woman who turned the grief of losing a son into civic acts. He falls in love with her, and when she commits suicide, he continues to write made-up stories about her. His editor sends him to New Hampshire to cover the Challenger flight from the town of teacher Christa McAuliffe. The launch is postponed for a few days, giving Campbell time to get to know a group of misfit students whose own teacher killed himself the day Campbell arrives in town. He pieces the story together that led to the suicide, finds himself attracted to a student, and has to sort out his own loss. Written by
In the scene near the very end when Steve Coogan's character Campbell is driving away you can clearly see the shoulder of someone riding in the passenger seat of the car. See more »
Legends aren't born, they're written. And really that's what we all do, one way or another, when someone we love dies. And not just anyone, but someone extraordinary... Why not a hero? When they up and die, we're left with nothing. Nothing but the task to make them immortal. Only a magnificent epitaph will grant eternal life. And it's up to us, the ones left behind, to write it. However we see fit.
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'WHAT GOES UP must come down' and that seems to be one way of looking at this funky little film written by Robert Lawson and writer/director Jonathan Glatzer. Given Steve Coogan's comedic talents it is able to rise above an implausible script and come close to be entertaining.
The time frame is January 1986 and Campbell Babbitt (the last name is well chosen as a reference to Sinclair Lewis' novel 'Babbitt' - a satire of American culture, society, and behavior, it critiques the vacuity of middle-class American life and its pressure on individuals toward conformity) played by Steve Coogan is a reporter for New York World, writing a series about a woman who became a 'hero' by turning the anguish of seeing her son murdered in to acts of civil service (the woman whom Babbitt has grown to love commits suicide, and out of cherishing her memory he continues to write stories as though she were still alive - an act that Babbitt's editor Donna (Molly Price) finds ridiculous and sends Babbitt of to New Hampshire to cool off and to over the upcoming Space Shuttle Challenger).
Babbitt arrives in a little town in new Hampshire (the town is preparing to celebrate the Shutttle launch as Christa McAuliffe was raised there) to discover that his old friend Sam who was planning to become a priest but opted for teaching had a class of 'problem kids' who adored him. Babbitt discovers Sam's body in the street. The class of odd kids mourn Sam's passing: he was their hero. What Babbitt discovers is a group of kids each of whom is challenged with a problem and is trying to find ways to overcome those problems: Lucy Diamond - a reference to the Beatles song - (Hillary Duff) was in love with Sam; Tess Sulivan (Olivia Thirlby) claims she saw Lucy and Sam in an intimate moment, suggesting that Sam's act resulted in his jumping off his roof in suicide (Tess has private problems at home that lead to an unwanted pregnancy); Jim (Josh Peck) is the guardian of the coffin and funeral and 'burial' of Sam; Peggy (Sarah Lind) is a paraplegic who talks Fenster (Max Hoffman, son of Dustin Hoffman) into being her first sexual encounter; Ann (Ingrid Nilson) and her 'twin' Sue (Andrea Brooks) provide comic relief in their bizarre antics; Lute (Laura Carswell) is the dissatisfied choral assistant to the weirdo-choir director and pageant designer Penelope Little (Molly Shannon).
In the midst of this strange crew and situation Babbitt as a reporter tries to sort every thing out, falls for Lucy, and is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his woe begotten story in New York. His influence helps the kids sort out their priorities and leads Babbitt to find a way out of his own unwanted heroism. The story ends before we know the result of the Challenger explosion - and the creation of a real hero in Christa McAuliffe. But there really isn't a beginning or an end to a story in the ordinary sense of a film. WHAT GOES UP merely puts before the viewer the lives of some odd people and lets us watch how they cope. It has a bit of comedy, though dark, and a lot of tender moments that don't come into focus until movies end. For many this film will perplex: for others it will satisfy. It is an offbeat tale with a lot of innuendoes.
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