Wednesday, April 9, 2008

philly film fest - lovely by surprise

Frankly, I walked away from this movie disappointed. As the credits rolled, the story seemed incomplete, full of holes and questions left unanswered. The Q&A session with one of the producers wasn't very helpful, with the response, "That's a good question," leading off most of his answers. To be fair, he was filling in for the director and writer (Kirt Gunn), who had a family emergency. He only came on board the project after shooting was complete, but it seems to me that for someone in a position that can heavily influence the final product, perhaps less so in an indie flick, he knew very little about the actual substance and background of the film.

A few of the actors were terrible (Dallas Roberts as Mopekey comes to mind). Others were outstanding, perfect for the role in which they were cast (Kate Burton as Helen, Reg Rogers as Bob). There are scenes that don't seem to quite sit right within the movie. There are scenes in the film that are excellent and these are the scenes that stay with you after the movie ends.

I didn't think I had as much trouble wrapping my head around the movie as other people, but the more I think about it and discuss it with friends, the less secure I am in that thought.

As disappointing as the film was initially, two days later we were still talking about it, trying to work it out. Movies that stay with you for days afterward have done their job. They make you think, contemplate the story, dissect the scenes, search out clues to what the director or writer had in mind. They may even draw you in to watch it again and try and pick up on those little nuances that you missed the first time around.

I have the benefit of having friends to whom music is like second nature. I know what I like when I hear it, can recall lyrics and tunes from years past, but struggle to remember song and artist names. While I often feel and even see music - particularly at live shows - I am envious of my friends who can recall songs and names of small indie artists, connect familiar sounding songs with other, different artists, or generally know more about music itself than I do. I try to learn from them as much as possible. As it is, music in movies is often a background element for me, unless it's really a horrible selection. I tend to concentrate on the dialogue and settings. As the musical selections for Lovely by Surprise were discussed, I realized how well it fit in with the movie. When I think back on the film, I can remember the music, but it doesn't stand out in a glaring, obvious way. This to me is a good thing, because it didn't take away from the movie in anyway. On the other hand, I wish I could admit that it added to the film for me. I feel like I missed an important character in the film.

In the end, I'm glad that I saw this movie. And I've decided that I actually would like to see it again, this time trying to pick up on the things missed in the first viewing. I'd also like to really hear the music and connect it to the film. I wonder if I'd be as disappointed with the movie the second time around and I suspect that I won't be.

Lovely by Surprise
Ritz Five
Philadelphia Film Festival

1 comment:

BeccaT said...

I think I have some Magnetic Fields I can burn for you. It's good stuff :)