Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Finding Neverland

I'm lucky enough to be able to see a ton of movies over the course of the year. As of now, I've seen 39 (yeah, I keep track), and by the end of the year, I should have averaged to one a week. And that's just in theaters.

And yeah, I write reviews here for just about every one I see (didn't do "The Machinist" because I haven't decided if I like it or not, and "Sideways"...I'm just lazy), and for the most part all the reviews I've written have been positive, and for various reasons. My love for Huckabees was not the same love I have for SpongeBob.

And I can talk about how most of the good movies out there have their place in the "film as art" belief, but every now and then a film comes along that reminds you why film is art. Every now and then, and you're lucky to find this, you find a film that reminds you what it is to be a great film. Not only that, but what it means to be a great story. And this is rare...incredibly rare. Happened once last year with "Lost in Translation," and I don't remember it happening the year before.

This year..."Finding Neverland" was that film. And I'm not gonna spend a lot of time getting into the technicalities of what made it a great film, because that's not why it was great. Pages could be written about the performances and the direction and the art direction and the set design and the costumes and the two thousand other things that came together to create this. But it's not the pieces that made this film so incredible. It's how it came together. And more than any other film that has come out this year, the pieces came together here.

"Finding Neverland" is about all the things Peter Pan is about. It's about hope and happy thoughts and never really growing up, even if you do physically and have been told time and time again to. It's about flying off to a distant land, and realizing that power the land gave you was with you all along. It's about joy and pain and loss and happiness and everything else there is. It's about clapping and proclaiming that you believe in fairies.

Simply put, "Finding Neverland" is the best film to come out this year, and I will truly be amazed if anything could be better. I actually cried at this. I haven't cried at a film in years...maybe over a decade. And it wasn't because it was sad (although there are more than a few sad moments in it). But it was just so beautiful. Every inch of it was just so hopeful and so passionate and so true and so...just beautiful. Some films I say we're lucky to have. This one, we're blessed. There's no other word for it.

If you at all share my passion for great storytelling, please see this film. It will reinforce what that term means, and maybe even redfine it.


Nancy said...

Wow, I wanted to see Finding Neverland before, and knowing that it made Scott cry, well, now I really have to see it.

Pat said...

You cried? Lame.

Shakeer said...

Scott, dude, one day you should write a negative review of a movie...just to prove to us that you can do it!

Scott said...

If this blog was around when I saw "The Punisher," man, you'd get a negative review like you've never seen. Oh, and I hated "Shrek 2" and the third Harry Potter movie. You want a review sometime, I'd be more than happy.

As a note, 'cause I probably won't do a full review, I only kinda liked "Sideways." I didn't LOVE it by any means, especially considering all the praise it's gotten.

But for the most part, I see movies I'm pretty sure I'll like. And as I've said a billion times, I like them for different reasons. If I went in with the same expectations for every movie, I think I'd stop going.

Shakeer said...

Tell me about the Punisher man. I remember hearing a bit about it way before it came out and I was excited but then I think I totally missed the release because I saw it today at Blockbusters and didn't even know it had hit theaters. The packaging made it look really lame. It only had one quote of critical acclaim and it was something like "non-stop action!" which can be both good or bad depending on the context.

But yeah, how bad was it?

John and Karolyn said...

I concur completely with scotty's analysis. I didn't cry, but then, I haven't cried at a film that I can remember since age 8ish watching the third (sixth) Star Wars and feeling bad that luke's dad died. But yeah...this rocked.

After the wave of emotion passed, I'd say I'll need to watch it, huckabees, and sunshine back to back to back in about 6 months to say which is best. But in terms of post theater catharsis...Neverland wins hands down.


Rachel said...

Hmm...I also saw "Finding Neverland" with Scott and John, and speaking honestly I didn't think it was the best movie of this year. I throughly enjoyed the film and I thought the story was wonderful, but it wasn't anything different for me. I knew what was going to happen, and if you know the story of Peter Pan, then you probably know the main messages of "Finding Neverland". I still encourage people to see this movie, but for me the best movie of the year has to make me think differently, or recognize something new ("Garden State" did that for me, much much more than "Finding Neverland").

And yeah, proabably half the theatre was crying at the end...I didn't, but I felt sufficiently uncomfortable listening to the girls behind me gasp for air between sobs.

Dave said...

garden state... grrr

I hope I like Finding Neverland, but even if it isn't the best movie out, at least it has Johnny 'Godlike' Depp to redeem it.

Scott said...

Coupla comments here...

Rachel brought up a good point...what makes the best movie the best? Well, for me, it's very important that is does something for the medium of film. "Finding Neverland" had some really fantastic choices, design-wise. Whenever J.M. Barrie played with the kids, they're transported onto the set of a play (the pirate ship is just awesome), except when the P.O.V. shifted to Peter, the only one of the four kids who found the world of "make-believe" a little harder. Of course, that's not the only criteria (if it was, it'd be "Huckabees" in a heartbeat), but it's very important for me.

And it doesn't hurt that the rest of the film is just so damn well done.

And yeah, I knew what was gonna happen in "Finding Neverland" too, but honestly, I knew what was gonna happen in "Garden State" too (which, for me, ranks as probably the fourth best of the year). And, for that matter, in "Eternal Sunshine," which is the second or third best of the year. "Huckabees" was one of the few totally unpredictable films.

Shakeer, I'll post my Punisher review later...probably tack it on with whatever I review next.