"And the Film Critics Choice Award for 'Picture of the Year' goes to... 'The Master.'"
"I would also like to say that the film critic from the Norwood Patch, better known as the best movie reviewer in the country, (if not the world) Matty W. Kelley, wholeheartedly DISAGREES with this award going to the film, 'The Master.'"
And do you know why I disagree? Because film critics on the whole are snobby, snotty, snooty, uppity nitwits who think they can see something in a film that us common folk can't see... or understand... or grasp. They're abstract thinkers, and we're downright too dumb to think on their level. We just country bumpkins.
Well my people, that's why I'm here. I'm just a regular moviegoer just like you. I get up in the morning, I put my pants on one leg at a time, I have breakfast, I blow into my steering wheel to turn my car on, and I go to work... just like you. The only difference with me is, after my day job I enjoy going to my night job. That's why I'm a movie reviewer. I get to tell all you good people what I think of a certain film. And trust me, I am not going to look down on you and tell you a film is excellent, but you just couldn't comprehend it. I'm going to tell it to you like it is, the way I see it. The way may most of us normal people would see the film.
And that my friends, brings us to the film "The Master."
Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson gives us a story of a Navy vet named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) returning to America with no direction and no idea of what future lies ahead for him. He left the girl he loved behind to re-enlist but said they'd be back together in one year. (STRIKE ONE!)
Freddie comes back to America BUT never goes back to see his girl! Freddie is also a major drunk now. MAJOR! (STRIKE TWO!)
In one of Freddie's drunken stupors, he happens to cross paths with a spiritual man named Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd leads a group of followers in a religious type company called "The Cause." (I think it's a cult.) And Freddie get involved in it. (STRIKE THREE! YOU'RE OUT!)
Freddie was a mess. But the story moves on (quite slowly). Freddie loves the "juice." He'll drink anything that'll make him stiff. He would drink Lysol, paint thinner or gasoline. This poor guy had some serious problems. One of his hobbies was to find household items and make concoctions out of them and then get everybody wrecked. I most likely would have loved hanging out with this guy. But honestly, his life sucked pretty bad.
Anyways, Lancaster Dodd tries to show him the way. He's a smooth-talker who can make any sucker buy what he's selling. He could sell ice to the eskimos. He had this racket where he would have people thinking they were time-travelling to see their past selves in previous lives and learn from their mistakes. Hey, the guy had me fooled for a while, until I realized HE didn't even believe what he was saying.
And this pretty much is the whole story for 2 hours and 20 or so minutes.
Now, the way I just wrote it made it sound pretty darn interesting, right? Well, it really wasn't. I kept waiting for more, and more, and more, but it never got there. It kind of reminded me of a heartbeat that is just flatlining across the screen.
Let me tell you something, Freddie was a mess. I'll tell you something about myself, I'm a mess. I have been for years. I am always trying to better myself, but I'm always going to one giant pile of... well, mess. But I guarantee you if you changed the character from Freddie to Matty, you would have some hilarious scenes. Hey, I'm a drunk whose lost love before! (This movie could be about me!) Now Freddie, he would walk from state to state, always depressed and his stories would be sad. I got wicked drunk one night and walked home from Foxwoods. I'm telling you, you'd LOVE the stories! I got picked up by a trucker, hitch-hiked up 95, drank some guys' beers out of their cooler, got beat up, kicked out of a car, and finally, eleven hours later, got arrested (protective custody) for walking on the interstate... I was never so happy in my life to have the cops pick me up. I was SPENT! I'm telling you, that should've been the movie because I was happy the entire time. (Although, my story is quite sad. But hey, that's life.)
But enough about me. I understand there are times when you may want to see a depressing film. They can be good. This one just never got over the hill. It made it to the top of the hill, sat there, then rolled back down the same side. If you want to see a depressing film about a lonely man who likes his "tea," (and that isn't about me) rent "There Will Be Blood" done by the same director. This was my no. 1 film of 2007, beating out "The Dark Knight" and "Ironman" respectively. (I saw 80 movies that year... and I can prove it!) So believe me, I know my films. Daniel Day-Lewis did a masterful acting job in that film, and that's why it worked. He had charisma, and he made me fall in love with his sad and lonely character.
I'm not saying that Phoenix and Hoffman couldn't act, I just never truly fell in love with their characters. As a matter of fact, they acted great in this film and I think come Oscar time one, or both of them will be up for "Best Acting" awards.
You know what missed in this film? The female lead. Amy Adams played Dodd's wife. She is a wonderful actress but I feel she was under-utilized in this movie.
So here I go: The story was bla-blah-blah. The acting was great. The characters needed to grab at me a bit more. And I LOVED "There Will Be Blood."
So will YOU like it? I don't think so. But don't worry, the "critics" will absolutely LOVE it! (Because they're smarter than you.)
Matty W. Kelley, Norwood Patch, reporting.
Fun Fact: Joaquin Phoenix played Johnny Cash in the film "Walk the Line." Phoenix was a half a foot shorter than Cash in real life.
Fun Matty Fact: The reason I walked home from Foxwoods that night was, my friends were leaving and couldn't find me. I wasn't leaving anyway. I wanted to make my fortune... I dropped $900 that night... didn't even have a dime to call home... with booze you lose.