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Oakland, CA

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It's Biopic Madness! Posted on 01/03/2002.

Last night I saw A Beautiful Mind. The greatest effect of which was to give me heightened respect for Ali. See, I pretty much liked Ali, but walked away kind of underwhelmed... There was a certain lugubriousness to the proceedings that failed to fire me. Sure, there was some great stuff (the scenes between Ali and Howard Cosell spring to mind), but as a film, it didn't all hang together.

But at least Michael Mann knew what to do with his material. For all it's faults, Ali is a solid piece of filmmaking, occasionally even experimental in ways warranted by the subject matter. ABM, however, is extremely warmed-over mediocrity. Russell Crowe is great, Jennifer Connolly is great, the script is solid. But the filmmaking... Well, suffice to say Ron Howard is a hack. He has no Vision. He's perfectly competent, but he's not up to the material here. It's bogged down by the limits of what he can see and portray. Which is a shame. As are all the critics falling over themselves lauding this film. But I suppose that is to be expected.

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I agree with all your points regarding A Beautiful Mind save one. The script is the main flaw of this film. Not that that isn't Ron Howard's fault. He didn't inherit it, he shaped it into the clumsy and illogical platform for his clueless direction that it is.
Posted by BJMe @ 01/03/2002 10:12 PM PST [link to this comment]

Read the book, if you haven't already. It's very good.
Posted by vespa @ 01/05/2002 08:38 AM PST [link to this comment]

Now I know I gotta see it...
Posted by SuckMe @ 01/05/2002 07:48 PM PST [link to this comment]

The critics actually aren't lauding this film. Mostly they're pointing to inaccuracies and gross omissions, like leaving out any homosexual dalliances that the Crowe character actually indulged, and other factual details that would have marred Howard's vision: the warm and fuzzy dramatic narrative. Ali is a mess: what masquerades as "experimental" was mere lack of dramatic consistency: four screenwriters, four visions slapped together. Will Smith: fabulous. Give him the material, next time, then we'll get an Ali we can either believe in, or understand.
Posted by Lem @ 01/06/2002 06:44 PM PST [link to this comment]

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