Sunday, October 18, 2009

MOVIE: The Soloist

For me, the phrase "based on a true story" is as appealing as phrases such as, "I like you, but..." and "Are you going to wear THAT?"

The Soloist is apparently one of those. It's nicely written. Politically correct. Plump with "big names." Depicts uncomfortable social situations which I'll never experience. Supposed to make me feel good. And to put a big ribbon on the top of it, everything is (you guessed it:) based on a true story. A twisted, drama-filled, and light-on-the-facts true story. But it entirely depends on your definition of "true."

Superficially, it is about a Julliard cello dude, Ayers, who (approaching the first leg of a journey to fame and success) develops lots of schizophrenia and goes from the edge of the musical spotlight to the crap-filled gutters of Los Angeles. Amazingly (sense the sarcasm?) a local emo newspaper columnist, Lopez, discovers the crazed cello dude playing a dingy three-string violin and singing Zen koans in the of a litter-strewn park. An odd friendship develops. Ayers is given a second chance, but fails. Lopez takes it personally. And then kumbaya, we all hug. Oh, Hollywood is so good and telling me what is beautiful and right in the word. Pardon me while I find an abandoned third-world leper baby to adopt and name after a greek muse. That's how inspired I am by The Soloist.

Yes, the acting is good. The pacing actually worked. I enjoyed the bulk of the dialog and was quite find of Lopez' character. But it all feels like something I've seen fifteen times already. All too familiar and predictable. Like the reanimated corpse of ten other movies which roamed the theaters hungry for praise and shiney accolades.

Possibly a good dinner & a date movie. The ladies might like it more than I did. I'm predicting bored teens and nonplussed twenty somethings. But worth a rental on a slow night. Very slow, when nothing else in your Netflix queue is available, or Blockbuster has it on special for a $2 rental.
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