Monday, October 17, 2005


This is not really a movie for everyone. I'm not even sure it's a movie for me. But I'm sure it's a cinematic work of art. Critics who are into structure and formula will tell you that the movie is too long, that it drags in a lot of places and has several scenes that have no apparent point. But that's incidental, I think. Crowe's films - the great ones - are like symphonies, with various melodic themes, not all of which have to be connected to each other. They're celebrations of life and interpersonal relationships. And my, oh my, is there some wonderful music (literally) to be heard.

Ultimately, Elizabethtown is not as good as what I think is Crowe's masterpiece, Almost Famous. But it really doesn't matter. This isn't the kind of movie you can go through with a red Sharpie, saying "story doesn't make sense here", "acting's bad here", "I don't buy Bloom as a guy with problems this big", and "what the heck is Susan Sarandon doing tap-dancing at her husband's funeral?" The experience of the film is pretty much summed up in the climax scene - the road trip that Drew finally takes with his father (or what's left of him, anyway), with a very detailed and planned map from his Love Interest, complete with programming on CDs. This "very unique map" is the film in a nutshell. It tells you where to go, what to do, and pushes your buttons with specific music to tell you what to feel about it. You're along for the ride. Some people might find that kind of film experience unacceptable, but when the ride is as good as Elizabethtown, you really should just sit back, roll the window down, and let it blow your hair all around. And don't forget to crank up the stereo.