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"Jack Goes Boating" is a relationship drama. A tale about life, love,
romance, marriage, dating and life again. It's about Jack (Philip
Seymour Hoffman) a very awkward man whose married friends Clyde and
Lucy set him up with Connie (Amy Ryan), a very awkward woman. Connie
mentions that she would like to go boating, when the weather warms up.
Jack would like that.
The rest of the film is about Jack trying to show Connie that he likes her and hoping that she likes him. Their awkwardness is heartbreaking and real and really sets the stage for watching love grow and eventually going boating. Hoffman and Ryan have a great connection; a very refreshing couple.
The film brings slowness to a whole new level, until things come to a boil. Some scenes really show the theatre roots of this film, and I always love those. There have been a lot of recent well done films based on plays and "Jack Goes Boating" is up there with the best.
There are some very subtle and interesting remarks about what makes a relationship work. It was uplifting but in a very awkward way, but also refreshingly real and ultimately cute. "Jack Goes Boating" is very slow, and adult and raw, but I recommend it.
Greetings again from the darkness. We all recognize the genius of
Philip Seymour Hoffman the actor. This gives us one more example of his
immense talent, but also puts his eye as a first time director on
display. Not surprisingly, he comes through extremely well.
Based on the play by Bob Glaudini, three of the four main characters reprise their role from the stage production. Mr. Hoffman as Jack, John Ortiz as Clyde and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Clyde's wife, Lucy. The newcomer is the fantastic Amy Ryan ("The Office")as Connie. Jack and Clyde work together as limo drivers. Lucy and Connie work together for some odd funeral home specialist who markets some type of unexplained program.
All that really matters is that Clyde and Lucy arrange to have Connie and Jack meet. The apparent reason is that neither of them have any friends or social skills. What we then learn is that all four of these people are fractured. Scene after scene shows off the power of friendship and/or the faulty side of on-the-job relationship therapy borough about by cheating and secrets.
For the most part, the film has the feel of a stage production and moves very slowly as these type of people would. There are moments where individual weakness gives way to outbursts of emotions - and not all in a positive way. What is clear is that they each want the best for each other, but have no real feel for what's best for themselves.
I thought the film made some excellent points, but I was a bit disappointed in the hookah scene. That was the only scene that went too far and my guess is it worked better on stage. On the bright side, there are some tender, poignant moments and the acting is truly superb throughout the film. It is obvious that these four actors care very much for the story and these characters.
I was fortunate enough to see this movie a few days early in eastern
Manhattan. Of course I had to deal with a frustrating (talkative)
audience but I not only saw a great little film, I got to see the whole
cast do a little q&A session with Peter Travers afterward.
We know the plot. An awkward man meets an awkward girl both surrounded by a couple who has a lot of problems with their marriage but don't mind bottling it in at the moment. Jack (Hoffman) is very lovable. You feel for him and he wins your hearts from his first swimming lesson with his best friend Clyde (John Ortiz). Clyde's wife Lucy(Daphne Rubin-Vega) introduces Jack to her co-worker and friend Connie (amy Ryan). Jack and Connie actually hit it off right off the bat. Connie enjoyed telling ridiculous stories such as her father being in a coma (trust me, there is a lot more to that story - had the audience roaring) but means well and wants to pursue a relationship very slowly with Jack. Jack so gentle that he'll wait till the summer to go on their first date if needed for the relationship.
This cast was very good. For those who like them Oscars, Hoffman should get an acting nomination. Though is uncomfortable behavior might get a but repetitive, you still can't keep your eyes off of him. Him and Ryan shined with excellent chemistry. The supporting cast were also great.
The direction of the film was remarkable. Hoffman is a natural but also brought some new ideas. One scene was so beautiful. Jack and Clyde were sitting in the car. Clyde started to get things off his chest in such a emotional way. Something that would secretly hurt Jack. A plow comes by and pushes dirt on the windshield. After Clyde is about done ranting, Jack hits the windshield wipers. It clears the snow but little drops of water still move down the windshield. Because the camera is shot from the back, the windshield was almost a reflection of both of the character's faces as if they were tearing up. So many great shots. I love when Hoffman is underwater and I love his little dream sequences.
I really enjoyed the film. a great study of characters. Hoffman said he'd love to direct another film if given another great cast. 7.5/10.
Seymour-Hoffman's directorial debut is a well-rounded little film about
being positive no matter the circumstances; the possibility of a
solution at the end of the tunnel and the value of perseverance.
Jack Goes Boating relates the tale of four people whose stories are wound together. The premise is simple: one couple throwing a blind date for the other two parties. From this seemingly basic starting point, the characters undergo transformations, all of which are sprinkled with life-lessons and positive philosophy, all the more poignant for its stark backdrop of lower-middle class life. In this sense, there is a feel of La Vita è Bella about it, although admittedly Jack Goes Boating is not quite in the same league as the former.
Phillip Seymour-Hoffman pulls off some typically sensational acting, as does Amy Ryan, with a complicated emotional role which she executes very well indeed.
All in all, a high-class film, totally worth watching, but not something that leaves you with the feeling it ought to have won Best Picture.
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Jack Goes Boating (2010)
Based on Philip Seymour Hoffman's transparent, penetrating performance, this movie will hold up in the future as well as it does now. But I think it will disappear for many years because it doesn't pull off anything sensational. And that's its strength. It's not a subtle movie, and in many ways it's a little too obvious pulling on heartstrings. But maybe that's okay turf for an interpersonal drama.
The tale of two couples who are friends and who are having various hopes and troubles together as both friends a lovers is an old one, but it must be the best of material in some ways because it's the best of material in life, love and friendship. Keeping it focused on two pairs of people is not just movie-making convenience (though it is that, too), but it's the truth of life sometimes, too.
This isn't an edgy story, and in some ways it's so mundane it would seem to totter into boredom. But Hoffman, as Jack, is too sympathetic and convincing to let the movie get away from him. He's a great actor, we all know that, and he's showing he's a good, if not inventive or brilliant, director as well. If there is a conventional structure--set up, hints at conflict, conflict, resolution--there is a restraint and economy to make it all make sense. A strong movie.
And it's impressive now if you're in the right mood, and will be impressive in thirty years, too, if we can keep track of it somehow. I think it is already slowly disappearing from view, so give it a good look.
After being set up on a blind date by his friends, Jack (Hoffman) promises to take Connie (Ryan) boating. Jack then begins to do everything he can to prove how much he like Connie. There are movies that come out that are 99% special effects and 1% acting, some are good but no matter who plays the parts it doesn't affect the movie. This one is the opposite. The story itself is one that has been done 1,000 times. A married couple sets up two awkward people and they start to fall in love while the original couple is splitting up. I know we've all seen that over and over, but the acting in this one makes it seem fresh and new. The story itself is very slow moving and basic, but the acting of all 4 main actors are what keeps you watching the movie. This is the definition of a character driven movie, the acting in the scene where Jack burns dinner is worth watching the movie for by itself. The movie is probably a C- but when the acting is taken into account it raises the level of the film. I say B-.
For its humor, emotional honesty, and glimpse of almost unfathomable decency in a world as untidy as Hoffman's Rastafarian locks, this film rises to a place among my all time favorites-- along with David Mamet's "State and Main". Although Hoffman's wonderfully imagined writer in the Mamet film shares some of Jack's ingenuous sensibility, Glaudini's writing and Hoffman's embodiment invest the doughy type with the necessary twiggy fiber to make the character heart-achingly real. Trailers and reviews give lots of specifics about plot, but thankfully do not catalogue all the film's pleasures. Jack and his boating date, Connie, are both outsiders and both uncannily patient-- driven perhaps more by uncompromising values than by fear. Clyde and Lucy, the aggressively magnanimous pair who mentor the new couple provide an important counterpoint. And all four actors in these central roles leave their egos someplace outside the frame enabling us to enjoy every surprising ripple of character. With the plot's unfolding, we are not taken for a ride but for a journey.
"You've never been in a relationship for any length of time. A lot
Jack Goes Boating is a raw, hard to categorize directorial debut for Philip Seymour Hoffman, adapted from the play of the same title.
I guess if I had to assign it a genre, it would be indie drama. The story follows the hesitantly blossoming relationship between Jack (Hoffman) and Connie (Amy Ryan), and the rocky, established relationship of their friends Clyde (John Ortiz) and Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega).
Jack Goes Boating reminded me of Two Lovers in some ways. It involves flawed people making decisions that aren't always the wisest ones, and dealing with things in their past that make their current relationships more difficult.
Don't expect this to be romantic or cutesy, it attempts to go for the "realistic" angle, with all the problems and realities that come with real adult relationships. That's derailed a bit by the occasionally awkward dialogue and characters that aren't really as fleshed out as they needed to be. We don't get much of a sense of who they used to be or what their past was like, and that would have added to the movie immensely. It's somewhat difficult to put into context the characters as they are now, without that information.
Still, I think this was a pretty decent debut from Hoffman. He's clearly in the process of learning what works from the other side of the camera, and it's puzzling why they didn't adjust the odd, romance novel-like dialogue in some places, but overall, Jack Goes Boating hints at a promising future. There are some poignant moments that really stuck out, to me. Fans of Hoffman and Ryan (count me as both) should check it out.
'JACK GOES BOATING': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut directing this film adaptation of the 2007 New York play he starred in. He and two of the three other lead stage actors (John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega) have returned to reprise their roles in the film, with actress Amy Ryan filling out the ensemble cast (replacing Beth Cole). Hoffman replaces Peter Dubois as director and makes a very impressive film making splash. Actor Robert Glaudini wrote the screenplay, adapting his play.
Hoffman plays Jack, a socially awkward but very sweet limo driver who's never had much if any experience with women or been in a relationship. Ortiz plays his co-worker and best friend Clyde and Rubin-Vega plays Clyde's long time girlfriend Lucy. The two set Jack up on a blind date with Lucy's new co-worker Connie (Ryan), a quirky and offbeat character that immediately takes a liking to Jack. It turns out as we soon find out that Clyde and Lucy have been having serious relationship problems for some time and take it upon themselves to devote a great deal of time to helping their best friend Jack with his new found love instead of working on their own.
The film is very slow paced, and seems aimless at times, and the story is almost non existent. It is a great character study though and the acting is all outstanding. Hoffman is of course amazing and Ryan is equally as wonderful. Ortiz and Rubin-Vega are more than adequate as well. The movie is obviously an actor's movie, being that it comes from a play that seems obvious, but Hoffman's directing adds a very powerful and unique touch as well. I really liked his character too and found him pretty relatable. The film shows a very strong and striking resemblance to one of my all time favorite films 'PUNCH DRUNK LOVE' (which Hoffman also co-starred in) but it's not nearly as well thought out and effective. Despite it's flaws it's still a memorable and unique film and worth the watch.
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is not surprising that when Academy award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman decides to direct his first movie in which he will also star, he chooses a script with great depth and character development. This movie is about two couples and each of their relationships. In the case of Jack and Connie ( Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan) we see the construction of their chemistry and how they make an endearing connection. In the case of the other couple Clyde and Lucy (John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega) we see the deconstruction of their relationship as it slowly but surely falls apart although the dynamics for the breakup are not as clear as the mutual attraction of Jack and Connie. The screenplay by Bob Glaudini was originally produced on the stage by Hoffman's Theater Company and was very well received with all but Ryan playing the same roles as in the movie although the storyline was slightly different.We can imagine that this story focusing on these four characters might play better on the stage. It was the talking heads and their words which held the attention and drew the in the audience rather than the few authentic but not really necessary New York City location scenes. The intensity and some of the unraveling which occurs in climatic scene reminded me of that old classic Who is Afraid of Virginia Wolf although time did not fly by as quickly as I recall it did with that play/movie. Also the degree in which drugs were used in this important scene in our judgment wasn't necessary as the characters were strong enough to create the mood and emotions which were needed. The film will be released in the Fall of 2010 and might receive an Oscar nod or two for the acting.
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