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Saturday 19th January 2013
Once every five years my wife and I like to watch a mawkish Steve Carrell film. We saw one on one of our very first dates - not that I mentioned that in Warming Up (though I think it's in the book) - the execrable "Dan in Real Life" and tonight we saw what might be an unofficial follow up, "Seeking a Friend at the End of the World" which at least had the decency (spoiler alert, though one that is in the title of the film) to kill everyone involved at the denouement (wish they'd done that for "Dan in Real Life". I really love Steve Carrell and yet, as I would joke in Christ on a Bike, he's done a lot of really mediocre films and a few that make me want to eat my own eyes out of my head so I don't have to see them any more (but I'd still be able to hear them, in between my own sobs of agony and eye-vomiting - only an idiot would attempt to eat out his own ears). I have fond memories of Dan in Real Life only because it was the first time me and my wife had a proper snog (so I am actually glad the film was so boring), but I am still disappointed that Carrell could trick me and exploit my good will towards him in this way. Still I hope he makes another mawkish masterpiece in the next five years for us to reluctantly share in January 2018.
I would much rather the film had revolved around one of the (vast majority of) people who took the news that the world would end in three weeks by getting out there and having fun, taking drugs and blowing stuff up. Why did it have to focus on a man who was too moral and sad to behave in that way? And yet then ends up falling in love with a woman half his age anyway, proving that he really wanted to be bad but just didn't have the bollocks. He had the chance to kill Keira Knightley's very annoying kooky character and have no repercussions, but has sex with her instead. The bloody idiot.
As with Ruby Sparks it would be much more fun to see an immoral man granted this power rather than a wishy-washy sort of good, but sort of pathetic one. Groundhog Day pitches it (almost) perfectly by choosing Bill Murray to be the unlikely recipient of a super-power/curse (even if it ruins it by having him learn something about himself!) and I feel that there was a better film about what would happen to the world if there were only 21 more tomorrows. I suspect anarchy and revenge would trump love and coming to terms with ourselves, but it's hard to know. Would anyone stay at work? I don't think so, though some do in the film - including a man at a shop who rather short-sightedly sells some window cleaner for eight dollars (money would become meaningless surely). My wife thought that if an asteroid was going to hit the earth that no one would be told about it to prevent the lawlessness that would ensue, though I thought people might notice the big rock in the sky getting bigger every day.
I think I'd probably mainly act like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day if there were only days left and maybe that's why the film writers felt they had to go a different way. But it's a film that I would have liked to see through the eyes of almost any of the other characters than the ones that were chosen to highlight. To be honest I'd have been happy for three hours focusing on the diner where Gillian Jacobs was lezzing up with strangers. But that's just me.
Wouldn't it be cool to have a movie where you could change the focus and follow any character you wished? It'd cost a bit to film but then at least more people would enjoy it. Just a thought.
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