Guten Tag, allerseits! I was in Vienna this weekend, so we are still a little behind on things so I’ll try and make this quick. We watched Random Hearts (more like Not So Smarts! You have to give me a break on that, for some reason my mind was pulling me to “farts” rhyming with hearts which, while hilarious, seems below me, you know?), and I have to say: what? Seriously, I don’t understand. Let’s get into it.
- The Good – Some of the performances were quite good. If you are a fan of the 80s style political / crime drama this probably has a place deep within Netflix where you go “I’ve never heard of The Falcon and The Snowman, I guess I might as well watch that, it isn’t like I’m doing anything else …” you know? There are large swaths of this movie which from a writing perspective seem effective and well done. In fact, the only notable thing about the audio commentary by director Sydney Pollack was his intense love for the script.
- The Bad – Whoever had the job of waking up Harrison Ford so that he could stumble onto set and deliver lines in a monotone did a poor job. Hard to watch. The entire B storyline involving a crooked cop and Ford’s job would make you go “oh yeah, I forgot this was part of the story … why do I care about this again”. Incredibly little payoff overall in the movie. The entire thing meanders around for like 2 hours before reaching the “climax” and then I looked at my watch and said to myself: “There is only 20 minutes left … that is not nearly enough time to untangle this story.” And it was not.
- The BMT – Weird weird weird. My gut says no. I would never watch this again. I would only ever recommend this to a political / cop drama enthusiast looking for a movie recommendation (not as a bad movie) and it would be in the context of “want to see what happens when someone tried to make an 80s style drama in the late 90s? Seems super weird right?”. The blunt answer is no. I think this movie is merely bad. In a boring way. Not BMT. Sorry.
See what I mean? Weird. I will note that since we’ve gone through Ford before in Chain Reaction (Firewall and Hollywood Homicide) this makes the third Ford focused ( … see what I did there, I’m the best) Chain Reaction film. And I look forward to more in the future. I would have done an audio commentary review, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I’m going to a quick career BMTrospective for Harrison Ford to look forward to his prospects and where he might land in the BMT pantheon. So here are his BMT films with respective BMeTrics:
(47.6) Hollywood Homicide; (47.2) Random Hearts; (38.2) Six Days Seven Nights; (34.1) Paranoia; (33.9) Firewall; (26.6) The Expendables 3; (24.2) More American Graffiti; (23.9) The Devil’s Own; (10.8) Extraordinary Measures; (7.1) Crossing Over; (3.6) Getting Straight;
So first, Getting Straight (only 6 reviews on rotten tomatoes) and Crossing Over (released to only 42 theaters) I don’t think qualify. Extraordinary Measures I think will be done, but on a very special occasion. I’m personally too busy for it, some might say I already work around the clock. Out of them all Six Days Seven Nights might end up being a keystone in a certain number game Jamie might just be outlining below, so I think it is a definite. And More American Graffiti seems poised for a sweet Bad Sequel cycle. I think 3 more Ford films will find their way into BMT then to make a total of seven (plus Paranoia which was done on our own as a Razzie nominee I think). For such a long career that is a pretty solid hit rate to be honest, to only have those handful of duds available. That’s your life Harrison Ford. Auf wiedersehen, and back to you Jamie.
Random Hearts is the perfect Chain Reaction film for this cycle. Is it a thriller? Is it a romance? Is it a political drama? Or is it a political-thriller-rom-dram? Whatever it is it hardly fits into a standard category and provides something a little different than our typical fare. Patrick expounded on the weirdness of this film, even without the baggage of the book. Why? Because the book is exponentially weirder. Even though the book has some of the political angle of the film, there is no doubt that it aims to be a straight romantic drama. The only problem is that there is nothing romantic about the book in the least. The story starts essentially the same as the film: two people find out their spouses were having an affair after they turn up in a plane crash sitting next to each other under false names. Good plot. It then deviates into the super philosophical about the nature of love and what it means. The characters feed off each others’ crazed neuroses brought on by their anger and grief. They throw everything they own out, they sell their houses, Vivien give her son to her parents and implies that she’s never coming back, and she gets rid of her dog all because they believe that if their love wasn’t real then nothing else they had was too (including her son!). He then loses his job and so they spend their days shacked up in an apartment together obsessing over finding the secret love nest that their spouses kept, having sex, and talking endlessly about their nihilistic view of love and how nothing can ever be promised or built because love has no future or past. It is depressing and horribly unromantic. You might wonder how this was ever adapted into a film. Well, when you have a simple nugget of a plot so good (the plane crash aspect) it not hard to see the desire to take that and turn it into a totally different film, which is what they did here. Other than that particular crux of the story very little of the film has any relation to the book, which was a relief.
We got a great Settings 101 film in Random Hearts. The film is very specifically set in Washington D.C. with Harrison Ford being a part of the D.C. police department and Kristin Scott Thomas being a state representative from New Hampshire. We get a jogging scene in front of the National Mall, a jaunt to New Hampshire, Miami, and Maryland through the film (I like when there are specific secondary settings in a film, adds to the fun), and the major event in the film (the plane crash) is explicitly detailed as a flight from D.C. to Miami that crashes into the Potomac. You have to give it an A-. Why the minus? The setting plays a major role in the plot, but not in a particularly fun way. Has all the elements of an A settings film, but could have been set elsewhere without much of a hiccup (other than changing the occupation of Thomas).
Next up is the Sci Fi category in our Based on a Book cycle. Cheers,