Town & Country Recap

Jamie

Porter and Ellie are extremely successful and extremely wealthy and seemingly have a perfect marriage… other than the fact that Porter is having multiple affairs for reasons unknown. Can he stop having affairs, stop lying to everyone, and stop being a giant asshole before it’s too late? Find out in… Town & Country.

How?! Porter is a very very very very very very rich architect married to an equally successful interior designer, Ellie. Unfortunately Porter has a problem: he can’t seem to stop having affairs. Even when the marriage of their best friends falls apart as a result of an affair he can’t see just how disastrous a choice he is making and almost immediately falls back in bed with his cellist mistress. To make matters worse Ellie is so concerned for her soon-to-be-divorced friend that she asks Porter to accompany her down to Mississippi to check in on her property where they totally bang (seems like a mistake). Returning to NYC dead set on ending the affair, Porter and her end up banging again and almost get caught by Ellie. Upon their return to the city it’s revealed that Ellie has discovered Porter’s affair with the cellist (who is apparently also pregnant) and at last Porter admits everything. Porter and his friend, now both set to be divorced, decide to take a trip to Idaho to a secluded cabin. There Porter proceed to almost have affairs with two more crazy women (at this point he literally seems like the worst person in the world) only to be discovered by his children who have come to talk sense into him. Disgusted they storm off and Porter realizes everything he has lost. Returning to NYC he attempts to reconcile with Ellie only to have all the women he’s had affairs with show up at the same time. Coming to grips with his own foibles, Porter admits all the terrible mistakes that he’s made and bears his soul to Ellie. Realizing that they still love each other they decide to attempt to work through their issues in their own time. THE END.

Why?! Porter seems to indicate at the beginning of the film that the affairs are out of the ordinary and yet through the next two hours they all seem quite routine. It got to the point where I started to assume he was an unreliable narrator and in fact he was always a lying scumbag. Only at the end of the film does he reveal that he started having affairs because in his old age he feet like he lost something. He thought some youthful indiscretions may recapture the magic (he is of course wrong and instead he loses everything he cares about). Well that sounds like an OK film… why do none of those motivations show up on screen and instead we have to watch a rich asshole act like a rich asshole for two hours?

Who?! Vera Wang has had two major motion picture credits in her career, both of which we have now watched for BMT. The first was for Bride Wars, which makes sense as I assume she provided the wedding dresses used in that one. The credit she got here was also for “Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn’s wedding dresses,” which is interesting since I don’t remember them in wedding dresses in the film… maybe in a picture or something?

What?! Do you think the magazine Town & Country was cool with this being named after them? Doesn’t seem like much of a product placement as it’s more or less making fun of what is considered the stereotypical audience of the magazine.

Where?! This is ridiculously NYC. The entire concept is built around the highest of the highfalutin Manhattanite (with a beach hour in The Hamptons, obvs). To nice effect they travel to the rare BMT locales of Mississippi and Idaho under the guise that these types of people just randomly own property around the country that they never visit, don’t give a shit about, and let fall into disrepair until their lives are such a disaster that they are forced to go out there. I gotta give this an A because I don’t think the film makes any sense other than set in NYC.

When?! For a while I didn’t think we’d get an exact time for the film, but then out of nowhere popped up a Secret Holiday Film Alert. In the midst of his marital troubles our boy Porter attends a Halloween party dressed as a polar bear and gets into all types of farcical hijinks which results in the final dissolution of his marriage. Hilarious! A-

This is a BMT mystery for the ages right here. While this was not a good movie on either an artistic or BMT level, Patrick and spent more time discussing it than 95% of BMT films. Why? Because we truly couldn’t wrap our heads around how it could seemingly misfire on almost everything up until the very end of the film. It’s tough to watch such an unlikeable guy do a series of relatively mundane things for two hours. Not to mention the fact that everyone is like cartoon NYC rich. The only redeeming thing about it is that Gary Shandling is pretty funny here and there and Andie MacDowell is so convincing as an absolute crazy person that it made me momentarily forget that she is beautiful. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Town & Country? More like Boring & Unfunny. Amirite? I am. I am right, this movie is boring and unfunny. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This isn’t quite at the point of a “forgotten film”. I should try and quantify this at some point, but a forgotten film is basically a film that just … no one watches? Like Hex … I’ve never heard of this film, it looks like a kind of parody of the erotic thrillers we all know and love from the early 90s, and it was released to 2000 theaters. Anyways, Town & Country is probably still known for being Beatty’s last big release, but it was still a film I had personally never really heard of beyond whispers of its financial shortcomings. I was a tabula rasa.

The Good – Some of the acting was solid. Andie MacDowell comes to mind. I like Gary Shandling. And for what they needed to do Keaton and Hartnett and Vessey also did a fine job. If you like looking at rich people (like … REALLY rich people) live their rich (like REALLY rich) lives, then this has a few moments of like “hey you are flippantly flying to Paris on a private jet for a birthday weekend … that’s cool”. I think I laughed once which is actually probably above average.

The Bad – The entire film is a disaster. An unmitigated disaster. You can even tell points in which they tried to massage the story into something more palatable. Like, hmmmm it seems weird that Beatty decides to cheat on his wife a whole bunch right after seeing his best friend’s life get ruined by doing the same thing … uh, let’s add a little beginning part explaining that no, he’s been cheating all along! Wait … is that better? It seems worse. He tries to cheat with four women, but only succeeds with two of them, but the movie would have been more fun if he succeeded with all of them and realized that it didn’t help his midlife crisis, or if he tried but just couldn’t manage it like what happened in Curb Your Enthusiasm. The movie feels about, oh, four hours too long? It really is a marvel, I’m still chewing this movie over in my mind days later.

The BMT – You know, this isn’t a traditional BMT favorite, but maybe it should be. We discussed the ins and outs of how this could possibly be made for like an hour. We fixed it, debated it, raged over it. It was a really fun discussion about a really really not-fun film. Which is amazing. We’d probably have to seek out more dramas to get the same feeling. This was a “comedy”, but the most interesting part was how it tried to straddle the line between drama and comedy and managed to be a bad version of both.

Roast-radamus – There probably were product placements, but I’m too poor to notice them. There wasn’t a Planchet, but there was an interesting Odd-Ensemble thing going on, with like forty different caricatures all floating around Beatty at any given time, but that isn’t a category (yet). Setting as a Character (Where) is definitely in play for New York City. Also Secret Holiday Film (When) in that the climax of the film takes place at and after a big Halloween bash, which is actually quite excellent. I don’t think it’ll make Good/Bad/BMT, but it is closest to Bad.

StreetCreditReport.com – Amazingly this Empire article from 2010 lists this as 48th worst film ever … which is insane. But really I’m just here for the juice goss (that’s short for gossip). And this article dishes like whoa. That’s some cred.

You Just Got Schooled – I really couldn’t find anything specifically about the film, so let’s go with a bit of data analysis for fun. Jamie and I have been exploring an idea of notability in film. And how do you know something is notable? That’s right, the thing in question has a wikipedia page. So how many people involved with Town & Country are notable? Well there are 218 people in the fill cast on IMDb. Of those an impressive 51 have wikipedia pages. And sure, Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, but there are surprising ones as well. And Jamie mentioned, Vera Wang gets a special thanks on Town & Country. And yes, this would count towards your notability. After all, just being able to put that in your film is a level of notability I could only dream of. Stay tuned, “notability” is the next big Bad Movie Twins metric.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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