In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even through his half-broken instruments. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless. Regardless, Lopez and Ayers must find a way to conquer their deepest anxieties and frustrations to hope for a brighter future for both of them.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
This is the second time Robert Downey, Jr. has portrayed a real-life reporter. He previously portrayed San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007). See more »
In his commentary during the scene when Lopez meets Ayers in the tunnel, director Joe Wright admits that the traffic is all vehicles from the production going around and around (at approx. 17:30). Just after he says that (between 17:35 and 17:59), several vehicles in the background of the shot are indeed visible, though out of focus, making u-turns one after another. See more »
[greeting his co-workers]
Buen dia, muchachos.
"Points West" by Steve Lopez. A construction worker in Griffith Park heard the
[swerving his bicycle to avoid a raccoon]
He saw a cyclist cartwheel off his bike and slam face-first into the unforgiving asphalt of Riverside Drive.
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At the end of the credits, the music concludes with the sound of a cassette tape grinding to a stop, referencing Lopez's omnipresent recorder. See more »
Wright, Downey and Foxx are good enough artists to lift this above its Oscar bait plot
This film was supposed to be a major competitor for the Oscars last year, but Paramount bumped it to a few months later. Despite the mixed reviews the film has received, I believe it would have been a major contender. I honestly think Paramount's decision not only ruined its chances for Oscars, it gave the impression that there was something wrong with the picture. There isn't, really. The subject matter does scream "Oscar Bait", with Robert Downey Jr. playing a newspaper columnist who writes about a schizophrenic genius musician (Jamie Foxx) who is homeless on the streets of L.A. We all remember Shine. Shine was pretty good (if entirely made up, as we later discovered). The Soloist is probably a little better. I think it's stronger because of its exploration of the relationship between the two central characters. Both Downey and Foxx are extremely good; both are award-worthy. This material could easily have been cheesy Oscar bait, but director Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice and Atonement) is a virtuoso himself. The way he uses image and sound move the story along beautifully, not allowing the clichés to clog up the film.
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