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The things that I liked about this movie are easy to feel but not so easy to describe. There were moments that really got to me, bits of scenes that touched me and caught in my memory, and time and again I found myself nodding and smiling and thinking, "I know exactly how he feels," or "I remember that feeling." Somehow, this story was good in a different way than Garden State was good. I loved Garden State, and the plot of Elizabethtown is enough like Garden State that it was hard not to have it in mind when I sat down in the theatre, but the two movies are really quite different. Crowe's Elizabethtown felt more real than Braf's Garden State, and somewhat less contrived.
Elizabethtown is the kind of movie you should see on a sunny autumn afternoon after a walk with an old friend. It has a joy to it, a basic sense of optimism and a light touch, so that it never crossed the line from sadness into tragedy and melodrama. Crowe doesn't let us fall into sentiment, but he deftly weaves a story that could have been corny and sentimental in lesser hands. I read critics who said he let the music play the emotions for us, but I can't agree, because I think that the cast did an excellent job portraying people I could really feel for and with, especially Orlando Bloom.
Orlando Bloom's Drew Baylor is introduced in a moment of pain and panic, utterly emotionally blocked, repeating "I'm fine" while feeling suicidal and saying "My condolences" to strangers and distant relatives as if the loss of his father belongs to them and not to him. In the film, he relaxes and grows emotionally under the tutelage of Kirsten Dunst's Claire, and together they work their way through the American heartland into a tender relationship and a new perspective on the meaning and value of life and success. His American accent and her Southern drawl might both be a little off at times, but it was easy to forgive in the interest of watching what happened next.
From the side stories of the secondary characters (Susan Sarandon is delightful, as always, in a turn as a widow whose reaction to her husband's death is to reach out and grab life with both hands) to the road trip into Americana, all the quirky little moments that felt real and sincere made this movie one that I enjoyed watching and will think about and remember. I hope you enjoy it, too!
Orlando Bloom was perfect in his role. His facial expressions, his willingness to let go, and his timing was right on. I am not sure about the choice of Kirsten Dunst. She was good but I think she was not quite right for the role. I could have done without the Susan Sarandon role altogether but I am not a huge fan. The side story of Chuck and Cindy's wedding weekend was so appropriate to the life aspects of the movie.
Cameron Crowe has created a quirky, funny, sad, happy movie that made a couple of turns I did not expect. The road trip at the end was so familiar and brought back enough memories to leave me wanting more. This is a movie I will see again in the theater and add to my DVD collection.
This is one of those road flicks, where Bloom's character Drew is forced to go on a journey of sorts... and in the process realizes that while he was busy trying to succeed, he missed out on doing all the things that really matter.
This movie has all the markers of a Crowe flick... an awesome soundtrack for starters. What is unexpected about this movie, though, is how funny it is. It deals with some heavy subject matter (death, suicide, failure) in a way that's fresh... and light. There are some scenes that had the audience crying, they were laughing so hard.
It has many of the same American nostalgic qualities to it, that orange dusty tint to the American landscape that ultimately makes most people nostalgic for a home they've never had. The small town, where everyone knows your name (or in this case, your dad's name).
Crowe introduced this movie saying that a lot of the scenes were from his memories of childhood and his family's eccentricities, which you definitely see. He completely succeeds in capturing the moments (often embarrassing) that families share... and outsiders never get to see.
All in all, it's a fantastic gem. If you liked Almost Famous, you'll love this one.
This film was anything but predictable, and it really kept moving. It tells the story of a young executive, Drew Baylor(Orlando Bloom) who has just launched a new high-tech athletic shoe at a company a lot like Nike, Reebok, and their ilk. Early on in the movie, he learns that the shoe is a billion dollar flop and leaves in disgrace. For eight years he has worked day and night for the company, "married to his career," so to speak. So when his world turns upside down, he's so lost he attempts an almost clever suicide plan. Then, things really get bad. A frantic phone call from his sister tells him that his father has died, very suddenly while visiting his family in Elizabethville, Kentucky. His sister, and especially his mother (Susan Sarandon) take it so hard and can't even go to the funeral.
On the way Dtew meets a most unusual flight attendant, Claire (Kirsten Dunst in a delightful role) who shakes up his world. Drew of course is not his usual self with two major tragedies at once, and at first has a very difficult time mixing in with his father's family. An endearing performance by Paula Deen of the Food Channel leads the unlikely collection of his Kentucky family. Claire keeps showing up and brings Drew back into the world. You can tell from the brief flashbacks and other clues that Drew's father Mitch was really a great guy, and Drew comes to regret the fact that he had not spent much time with his Dad in his eight years as a Corporate Superstar.
I won't go into the story much more than that because that would be giving too much away. I'll just say that this movie took many delightful turns with Claire, Drew, and his zany family.
I think the most important thing I took away from the movie is that no matter how bad things get in your life, you should never give up. And of course, don't we all have a family back home somewhere made up of a homespun, delightful cast of characters? I have my own dear family back in Pennsylvania and Ohio. When all else fails, your family is always there.
Crowe has stuffed a great sound track into the many scenes of the movie. The cast is delightful. There are some really entertaining moments including Drew's cousin's rock band playing "Free Bird" and Susan Sarandon tap dancing to "Moon River." There are so many great lines, you'll laugh out loud! And of course the ending -- a surprise, but a delightful one!
Don't miss "Elizabethtown!"
1. What went so terribly wrong with the design of a single shoe that could possibly cost a company one billion dollars? A mystery...!
2. Why was the father who passed away such a revered individual? Why did a whole town to come to a halt, pay tribute, and mourn?? Come on Mr / Ms. Scriptwriter; give us something here...was he a war hero? Did he foil a bank robbery?
3. How is it possible that the main character was the only one on a 747 ? Has anyone out there ever been the only one on a major airliner going to where ever?
These points are not details, they are gnawing issues which demand answers.
Someone out there wasted two hours of my life, and I am not happy.
"Elizabethtown" was not a roaring critical or commercial success for writer/director Cameron Crowe, but it is a charming, heartwarming film that looks and feels a lot like "Garden State," although, in this case, the young man is returning not to his own hometown but to the hometown of his dad. Crowe knows how to make romantic comedy look lightweight and easy. The characters and situations, though grounded in reality, always have a certain off-kilter quality of cockeyed optimism that keeps the movies from wallowing in clichés and that purges them of sentimentality. Drew's Kentucky relatives are not portrayed as hicks and rubes but rather as kind-hearted people who, though slightly suspicious of that branch of the family "from California" (actually they're from Oregon), welcome Drew into their midst with genuine affection and hospitality.
The romance between Drew and Claire, the flighty flight attendant, is developed with a great deal of emotion and charm. It is Claire's job as the life-affirming force in the scenario to articulate for Drew (and for us) what is and what is not important in life, and to see that creating a "fiasco" in the business world just doesn't rate as all that important when stacked up against truly important things like love, family and personal relationships. But, as always with Crowe, the message is never hammered home but filters through subtly, as he creates a thoughtful, lyrical poem through character and setting.
The movie hits a few wrong notes along the way, mainly in the scene at his father's memorial service, in which Drew's mom delivers a highly unlikely eulogy and receives a highly unlikely response from the audience. And the scene itself ends in a bit of desperate slapstick that is not up to the quality of the rest of the material. And even though Susan Sarandon is always delightful to watch, her character is fairly underdeveloped in this film and so she sometimes feels as if she is more of a tacked-on device than a genuine person in her own right. But all that is made up for by the wonderful performances of Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst in the lead roles - Bloom underplays beautifully, while Dunst emotes like crazy - and by Alec Baldwin in a wickedly witty cameo as Drew's boss, whose ability to reduce Drew to the mere shadow of a man while dripping with sarcasm and smiling through his clenched teeth is a priceless bit of satire aimed at the dehumanization that lies at the heart of the corporate world mentality.
Some viewers might feel cheated by the fact that Crowe reveals little about what kind of a relationship Drew had with his dad growing up. Drew is clearly not a bitter son, carrying deep-seated resentments around with him through adulthood, but neither does he seem overly affectionate towards the memory of his father or overwhelmed with grief at his passing. In many ways, Crowe holds back on revealing all this, as if to imply that revealing information of such an intimate nature to the audience would be something of a violation of that sacred bond that exists between a father and his son. Some artists would undoubtedly choose to go that route - letting the audience in on every sordid detail of the relationship - but Crowe is clearly an artist who feels we can learn just as much about Drew if the truth remains under the surface as we could if it were all out in the open. And in these days of hold-nothing-back, blab-it-all confessionals, that restraint is very much appreciated indeed.
Hey...I adored this movie. It WILL stand the test of time and Crowe, God love him, is an artist to be equally cherished.
Here's the thing. The last section of the movie -- in which Orlando Bloom's character follows the map laid out by Kirsten Dunst's creepy stalker-ish character to finally open up and find himself and blah blah blah -- was also awful, and staggeringly dumb. BUT -- that could have been the basis for a real movie. Not the map part, just the wandering around and finding himself part. Maybe not an original movie, but a real one. Instead it was just one more disconnected sequence tacked onto a whole slew of them, and it made me angry that the movie was made in the first place.
The relationship development between OB and KD is completely nauseating, and so endlessly boring with clichéd dialogue. It goes on and on and on, with no meaningful or interesting word from either of them. I pity both these actors for having to spout the most monotonous and diabolical script I have heard in years.
After an hour and a quarter, I couldn't stand anymore, and switched it off.
A few nights later I returned to the rest of the 2-hour film hoping that it would get going. It just got worse. Susan Sarandon at a sickly American-style funeral party doing a daft little jig on stage, and finally OB's road trip which made me want to tear out teeth.
The bit that bugged me the most, we never find out how OB lost his employer a large wad of cash !! If anybody wants a free DVD, you can have my copy with pleasure, otherwise it's going for a flying lesson out the window !
Drew must go to take care of the arrangements for the father's funeral. Along the way, he meets on the red-eye flight a chatty flight attendant, Claire, that will be connected to him in ways he didn't expect. His relatives prove to be too much for Drew, who didn't count in seeing so many of his kin in one place. His family has not forgiven the fact that the father married a California woman and moved there. After all, these are proud people that love their life in Kentucky.
Things get complicated as Drew and the rest of his family wants to have the old man cremated, something the family in Kentucky looks down upon. One relative takes Drew to the plot in the cemetery that has been reserved for that side of the Baylors. Drew decides to go on with the plans. It's because of the kindness and love he receives from all these unknown relatives that he has a change of heart and decides to comply with their wishes, but alas, it's a bit too late as the cremation went through.
When Claire appears in Elizabethtown, whatever they felt on that first meeting has changed. Claire is a beautiful young woman who likes Drew for what he is. Claire is intrigued by why hasn't Drew made a cross-country trip. She has a plan for him to see the beauty of the country in its back roads and real people, which is what he does on his way back home. By the time he reaches Oregon, he will be a changed man.
Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown" appears to be a film that has captivated audiences, judging by the positive commentaries in this forum. The fact remains, this film "borrows" from other Crowe's films incorporating them into this narrative. The film is in part a road film, most notably the last sequences in the movie that involves Drew's trip throughout the land.
Orlando Bloom seemed a strange choice for Drew. His accent is perfect and he is totally believable as this man that has to come to terms with the death of a father and a failure in his designing career. Mr. Bloom makes a good contribution to the film. Kirsten Dunst plays Claire. At first she is a bit annoying and pushy. It's clear from the start she really likes the taciturn Drew, who doesn't want to get too involved with her. Susan Sarandon has only a few scenes. Her tap dancing at the memorial service for her husband is hilarious.
Although this is not one of the best films of Cameron Crowe, it is by no means a disappointment. John Toll's cinematography shows the heart of the country and its uncomplicated folk at their best.
For this reason alone, I kept watching: morbid fascination.
It was a slow-motion traffic accident.
Stereotyping small town locals as one-dimensional hicks is such a lame and tiresome plot device. NOT stereotyping would have made things interesting. (For example, the movie "Junebug" shows how apparently simple town folk can have depth.) There must have been some temporal anomalies from Star Trek afoot in Elizabethtown -- how else can you explain:
- how Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst) was able assemble a scrapbook/map and accompanying 42-hour CD music mix (complete with her perky voice-over!) while also spending all her time seducing Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom), chatting him up over the phone, and saving guests from a burning hotel?
- how Hollie Baylor (Susan Sarandon) was able to take stand-up comic classes, tap dancing lessons, learn organic cooking techniques and auto-repair, and travel from Oregon to Kentucky all in the time between hearing of the death of her husband and burying him? (Her scene on stage was the most painful part of this "traffic accident". I just couldn't take my eyes away!)
- how a running shoe product launch could possibly cost a billion dollars and why 28-year old is given a billion dollars to play with in the first place?
Finally, the road trip is the final offender.
Because the movie couldn't dredge up any of its own meaningful iconic symbolism, it tries to cheat by force-feeding movie-goers with motherhood Americana. The movie takes us to the Lorraine Motel balcony where Martin Luther King was assassinated -- presumably, the audience would be loath to criticize a motherhood icon such as Marting Luther King and -- the producers hope -- would be loath to criticize the movie.
They're wrong -- we can tell the difference.
(Notice that Tom Cruise is one of the producers so, on several levels, we shouldn't be so surprised by this.)
I hate not finishing movies, stories, what have you. But this, I could not bear to sit through. After cleaning half my house in sheer boredom during the first half, I finally turned it off to find something better to do, like counting the dog hairs on the back of my couch ...
There are several laugh out loud moments which should not be missed. These stand up even in a second viewing. The juxtaposition of Orlando's Bloom's fiasco-failure of historic proportions/his father's funeral/Chuck and Cindie's wedding/and perhaps finding his life mate, Kristan Dunst, are all woven into a timeless (no)place called Elizabethtown, which is magical. For me the magic worked. There were a few things that didn't click, but mostly it was genuine, funny, and affecting.
Alec Baldwin is perfect as Phil, the shoe tycoon. He has just the right mix of bonhomie, menace, and smart-guy-in-charge to fill the role.
Susan Sarandon seems a bit distracting at first but by the end "its all good," -- wait I don't say that -- "it works" there that is better. Her contribution is uplifting.
As for the "World's Second Largest Farmer's Market" -- it isn't on any map that doesn't map the human heart.
Drew Baylor is a young man swamped by disaster. Claire is the effervescent flight attendant who throws him a lifeline. Their romance plays out amidst a Southern family's turmoil over the loss of Drew's father. Alternately sad but sweet, funny and dramatic, Elizabethtown gives you the chance to spend a long, eventful weekend with these endearing characters. I wouldn't mind a return trip at all.
Orlando Bloom struck a perfect balance between humor and pathos. I'd go on a road trip with you and Sidi any day, Lando. Have you ever been to Wall Drug or The Corn Palace? I'll make us a mix map and we can roll on through the Badlands...
This movie is a salute to all of us whose hearts still reside in "Flyover Land". As for the cynics, you can keep all your sordid little crime dramas. Personally, I get enough of that just watching the daily news.
when something bad happens in life ,and everything looks just to bad to bear,,,,sometimes it is than you find true friends and love..people that are there for you when you truly need them , when you are down with spirit ..not when you are rich and successful...
every body should have an experience like that,,, to see who real friends around are
Crowe takes us on romantic journey through selection of excellent music to back up the emotional temperature and tells a story with warm gentle humor ,even if the main character is going through the worst time of his life( Bloom) and it is then that he meets his angel and true love (DURST)
Kirsten acting is the energy of the film(finally a role where she could show she can act), Bloom is fantastic as always true pleasure for the eyes and together with Crowes poetics they just win you over.
(when the fans were waiting for him for 4hours in the sun in Venice , he had the heart to go out of the cinema during the film and he was giving autographs...this guy has truly a big heart.. and he definitely deserves fans like that, a true star that will shine on the sky for ages
Maja from Slovenija