March 18, 2000

Erin Brockovich, audience reactions and previews

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Kim and I went to see Erin Brockovich tonight at the Manor in Squirrel Hill. Not a bad movie. It's difficult to get the Julia Roberts persona out of your head when you watch Julia Roberts actually do her job, but I think she did an excellent job. A couple things bothered me about the movie: Why did the biker come back? (Kim didn't think he did come back, but I thought so) Wouldn't she have been a little more distressed (like, enough to ask the local government for help) with so little money and three kids to feed?

But these were small issues. The only other annoying thing was that people seem to be trained by "Funniest Home Videos" (and its infinite spinoffs) to laugh anytime something that resembles accidental slapstick occurs. (Ha ha! That kid kicked a football into the dad's nuts! Ha ha!) For example, there's a scene in the movie where she comes home very late from work and her son has been brooding because she's not around, and when she is around she's always working. He's in bed and she comes in and sits down next to him, tries to talk to him. At one point he gets frustrated and doesn't want to talk anymore, so he turns over away from her, taking the covers with him and raising a little fuss. And people start laughing because the action, in and of itself, is funny: something little kids do. Ha ha, isn't that funny? Nevermind what the action implies (frustration, anger, resentment, hurt): it's funny!

Before the movie was only one preview, for U-571 which is coming out in a month or two. I have a thing about previews, which I should really talk about more on a separate page. In any case, I don't really need to see U-571 now, since they showed the entire arc of the picture! Oh, I'm sure there's some snappy dialogue, situations fraught with tension, suspense, etc, but what's the point?

The ideal preview leaves you asking: what's going to happen next? who is this person? why are they running away? Whatever. It leaves you asking some question. (Again, The Fugitive comes to mind as an example of a perfect movie trailer.

Finally, Rusty has seriously dissed Guiness beer. Just thought you'd like to know, if you want to take issue with this statement, that Rusty (sometimes) works at the World HQ of INTES Networking in Silver Spring, Maryland. I think I heard something about him putting the smackdown on potatoes and cabbage as well. I tried to stop him, but he just wouldn't listen.

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