Monday, January 6, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty & A Coat

I used to go to movies frequently. I can't say I've attended too many in the past few years, although the ones I have seen were generally good ones. I made up my mind to partake of a few now, since all the best movies seem to be released in December.

My friend posted the following on Facebook, along with a trailer. Just to clarify, it wasn't a camping trailer but rather a trailer for a movie. The movie was "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" based on a short story by James Thurber, written in 1939.

" What a great movie! Went to see it this week. I enjoyed every bit of it. Messages on so many levels. I really really would suggest seeing it."

I went on Saturday. The story has been updated to include modern technology. I wasn't certain whether I was seeing a comedy, a drama, a very long online dating commercial, or a travelogue, but I persisted and watched it to the end. After seeing this updated film, a remake, I think I'd like to read the original short story. I liked the underlying message as it fits with my view of life.

Here's the plot sans spoilers. Walter Mitty works for Time magazine. He spends much of his life daydreaming about himself as an adventurer and hero. (If you can survive the first 20 minutes of ridiculousness in this movie, you might make it to the better parts). His life seems to have quit moving forward after the death of his father. Walter imagines being a hero and impressing women, one co-worker in particular. When he misplaces the photo for Time magazine's final cover, he travels in search of the photographer (Sean Penn, brilliant) who sent him the original negative for the cover picture. At this point, his life becomes more fulfilled and his fantasies disappear. As an added perk, I noted that he also becomes handsome.

I must say, I loved the scenes in Iceland and Greenland. Those were interesting and contained some humour. There were however, many parts of the movie that fell below my tolerance level. The silicone face and Abe Lincoln-esque black weird beard on the character of Ted Hendricks was laughable and not in a good way. I've been trying to scrape the creepy off myself ever since.

There are threads which are recurrent throughout the story and help to connect the movie segments. These include a dangling piano (probably some kind of symbolism), a cell phone (works even after being submerged in frigid Arctic sea water. I neglected to take note of the brand), a dating service (enough said), and mom's clementine cake.

As I was leaving the theatre I noticed that everyone else remained in their seats. Had they fallen asleep? I searched the screen for a reason but found none. Perhaps they were expecting a recipe for clementine cake to show up following the credits.

My final verdict - It was ok and a bit better than I expected. I like Ben Stiller. I enjoyed the movie more than anything that's likely to be released in the early months of 2014.

Best Part - On the way out of the theatre, I walked past a store and spied a $200 full length coat on  a one day flash sale for $49. I also got a $5 off coupon code on my cell phone by joining the store's club (which I immediately unjoined after buying the coat).

By the way, should anyone be interested. Here's Nigella Lawson's clementine cake recipe. Looks better than the movie.

1 comment:

  1. Needless to say, all problems with this movie aside, I look forward to what it is that Stiller can do next with his time as a director. Good review Hilde.