Friday, December 16, 2005

finals being over = awesome. The Family Stone also = awesome.

Well, I thought so, anyway. After my last final this morning, I caught a matinee of The Family Stone at the mall, and quite enjoyed it. It's really a rare breed of film. I wasn't liking it at first; it seemed to be trying a bit too hard - too much music over the action, a little too over-directed and cliché - but then a few minutes in, it suddenly came alive for me (I must admit that I was dozing off a bit at the beginning due to my not having slept last night before my final, and that may have clouded my initual judgment).

The actors really knew what to do with this script; the whole ensemble is terrific. I think this is the kind of script that could've gone either way, and needed a talented cast to make it shine... and they all deliver. Unbeknownst to those who've only seen the ads and the trailer, there are actually two more siblings in the Stone family (i.e. major characters) that do not get their names on the ads or their pictures on the poster, both played by non-stars, and they keep up with the big names just fine (though it's true that their roles aren't as critical or as showy). It's true that Keaton and Parker are the standouts. I see why SJP is being touted as lead; she gets all the true "laugh out loud" moments, and her character also undergoes the most change. And she's very good here, totally deserving of the globe nom (though I still weep for Meryl Streep in Prime... not that she needs more awards). And Keaton's role really is the centerpiece... and is also, shall we way, "baity." I didn't know this going into the film, and if I had, I would've been more solidly confident in her awards chances... I'm now kind of perplexed that she's not making a wave. I think she may indeed turn up at SAG time, even without any earlier precursors.

It's funny, it seemed like there were two little movies inside this film fighting for control - one a sappy, formulaic holiday film, and the other a deeply incisive dramedy about a unique but accessible family - and the tension in the material is kind of fascinating. It's not a perfect film by any means, but there were some moments and scenes where I just thought "my god, this is the best family dramedy I've seen in a LONG time". It just seemed frighteningly good at times, especially when contrasted to the times it was less good... I think credit for this goes mainly to the cast, who really inhabited this family and interacted wonderfully together. Due largely to the actors, The Family Stone ended up, at least for me, a very warm, funny, and insightful film. I really want to see it again (maybe with my family, and hopefully while fully awake) but for now I'm thinking it's about a B+.

And it really should've been released in November like originally planned... I think it would've done quite well.

Anyway, that's all for now, dear readers... (sigh) who am I kidding? That's it for now, Glenn.

I may post more reviews in the future.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

lol, we rock!

1:35 AM  
Blogger damian b. said...

well, i read and i also saw the family stone tonight. i didn't think it was a perfect film, but i truly enjoyed it. much more of a drama than it's being marketed as, and some odd transitions from dramatic elements to comedic moments, but all and all the cast delivers and there are some really great moments. diane keaton and the gay convo at the dinner...damn, she had me there...i hope she's recognized for the film. that's all. so tired.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

Damien's awesome as well.

I really wanna see The Family Stone. I'm not sure when it's out here though. I've seen the trailer at the movies a few times so it's out soonish I think. Australia has become so steeped in American chic that it's almost as if we celebrate Thanksgiving here. I always looks forward to a good family holiday film.

11:56 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

OK, so I have two readers. Keep visiting, Damian, I like you.

I think what I really want, though, is for Nathaniel to read my blog.

Anyway, the movie really is very very good. I honestly don't understand the bad reviews. I think it deserves nods for supporting actress for Keaton, original screenplay (debatably), and ABSOLUTELY for SAG ensemble... this was great ensemble acting, IMO. Even though most of the actors are famous and well known for other parts, I never once questioned that this was a real family. They were all that good.

I think the movie's problem is basically that it's not what people were expecting. It almost reads like it's not what it itself was expecting to be... like it unwittingly stumbled upon near-greatness (in parts).

And yeah, that dinner table scene was fantastic.

6:11 PM  

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