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Drew Baylor designs shoes for a major manufacturer and seems to be doing brilliantly...until he designs a dud that bombs and loses the company $1 billion. Fired by his boss and dumped by his girlfriend, he is about to commit suicide when his sister rings to say that their father has died away from home and he has to go to Elizabethtown in Kentucky to fetch his body. Suicide plans on hold, Drew meets Claire an air stewardess on the plane on the way there and, because she knows Kentucky, draws him a map of how to get to Elizabethtown, on which she also writes her phone number. Over the course of the next few days, Drew has to cope with his family and the funeral plans and ends up speaking to Claire on the phone and then meeting her in person. Claire's quirkiness helps Drew to see life in a different way. Is this a romance that can last? Will Drew eventually come to terms with his career failure?
British actor Orlando Bloom plays Drew and, apart from the fact that he is very easy on the eye, does a good job in the role - considering that there isn't a great deal of depth to it. He does have to show a variety of emotions - euphoria, devastation, grief, impatience and a slow recognition that life isn't so very bad. However, it is a little bit like paint by numbers, not because he doesn't act well, but because the story/director (Cameron Crowe) doesn't allow him to do more than show his feelings with a couple of meaningful shots. It's a shame, because this is a long film and there was plenty of opportunity to add a bit more depth to Drew, but it didn't really happen. Nevertheless, within the confines of Drew's role, I thought Orlando Bloom was good - certainly good enough for me to want to see a bit more of him.
Kirsten Dunst seems to attract a lot of attention - positive and negative. On the whole, I like her - she is one of the lead characters in The Cat's Meow, a real favourite of mine. However, her role as Claire isn't one of her best. The quirkiness to her character that Drew finds so attractive is actually very annoying and her voice begins to grate after a while. The sentiment behind her trying to drag Drew out of his depression is a sweet one, but it comes over as being over-the-top - something that Dunst might have been able to avoid had she pulled back just a little. On a more positive note, her chemistry with Bloom is really good; I found it easy to believe that they were a couple falling in love - despite the rather odd story.
There are a few familiar faces littered throughout the film. Susan Sarandon plays Drew's mother and is very entertaining at the funeral, when she gives a stand-up comedy performance. It doesn't sound very appropriate, but in the context of the film, it works well. A rather fleshy Alex Baldwin plays Drew's boss, and also manages to add a few sparks of humour to the film. Jessica Biel fans will be pleased to see her as Drew's fairweather girlfriend, but she doesn't really have to do much except look good. Finally, I enjoyed seeing Judy Greer, who plays Drew's sister Heather. She's actually a talented actress, with good comic timing, but always gets side-tracked in movies, as she does here. I'd like to see her in something a bit more meaty.
The story is the real let-down for this movie. I'm interested in mental health issues and have suffered badly from clinical depression in the past, so the concept of someone rebuilding their life after a complete melt-down is always appealing to me. However, there are a lot of films that are about this concept, so a little effort to develop the story to make it different from the rest is really necessary. With Elizabethtown, it just didn't feel like a great deal of effort had been put into it. Much of the film meanders from road trip to funeral conversations to Drew and Claire and then back to road trip again and so on. In fact, a lot of the film seems to involve Drew in a car driving around America. It is occasionally interesting - I enjoyed the Martin Luther King references in particular - but it has little to do with the story as a whole and just felt superfluous.
I felt that Drew's suicide preparation was turned into a bit of a joke. I know (all too well) that people aren't thinking straight when they are about to kill themselves; nevertheless the way that he was planning it was really quite bizarre and done for a laugh more than anything else. It's not something I'm going to lose any sleep over, but I think a bit more tact could have been shown. On the whole though, I appreciated the touches of humour. They lightened what otherwise could have been an incredibly tedious film about navel-gazing, with a touch of romance thrown into the mix, and made it a lot more palatable.
Another thing that lightened the film and made me almost forgive the road trip scenes was the music, which was really superb. I'm a big fan of Tom Petty, and there was plenty of his music - including It'll All Work Out and Learning to Fly. There was some Fleetwood Mac (Big Love), Elton John (My Father's Gun), Simple Minds (Promised You a Miracle) and U2 (Pride (In the Name of Love)). Drew's cousin performed Freebird at his father's funeral, which was incredibly well done considering it wasn't performed by the Masters themselves (Lynyrd Skynyrd). All in all, it is one of the few soundtracks that I would like to buy - it just has so many songs that mean a great deal to me personally (yes, I was a teenager in the eighties!).
There are a number of extras, but none that are really worth seeing. There's something called Training Wheels, which are just short clips of the main actors seemingly auditioning. Meet the Crew is the same, but for the crew. The extended scenes were marginally interesting, but to be honest, I'm glad that they weren't included in the film, which is already long enough. Then there's a photo gallery and two trailers for the film. I would much rather seen a making of documentary - I know some people find them boring, but I like the insights that they provide. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
On the whole, I think this film is average. It didn't leave me with any great impression, with the exception of the soundtrack. I didn't find it dull enough to turn off, but I can imagine that some people would find it hard to watch all the way through. It certainly could have done with a bit of editing. However, Orlando Bloom is good to look at and the comic moments, although not hilarious, do revive the attention a little. If you haven't seen the film and happen to come across it, then it's worth a look, but don't go out of your way to watch it. Three stars out of five.
The DVD is available from play.com for £3.99.
Classification: 12 (the preparing for suicide scene is the only one to be concerned about)
Running time: 119 minutes
ElizabethTown is a 2005 film directed by cameron Crowe and stars Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst.
Orlando fresh from his success in Lord of the Rings and the newest of the cute young things decided to push out this awful dreary rom com with Kirsten Dunst as his female lead.
Orlando plays Drew Baylor a previously successful designer whose latest trainer design bombs severly and sends his company into a financial nightmare. Drew decides to take his own life and uses his exercise machine with a knife attached to the arm as a method for killing himself, its after watching the whole of the film you wish he'd succeeded in this aim rather than take us through the next 90 minutes. Anyway he's prevented by a phone call from his sister telling him his father has died and he will have to return home with the body.
He meets Claire (Dunst) on the plane, who draws him a map of Kentucky showing him where Elizabethtown is, and her number. He gets lost, can't get home and calls her. They talk and connect etc etc and the film plunges onward.
The film then takes us on a long long journey with little or no interest through most of it. He tries to stop his fathers cremation but is left with the urn, he and Claire do the required but then agree to split.
Then we come to the denoument of the film, Drew decides to drive back and Claire writes him a map with detailed descriptions of the places he'l go through along with CD's pictures and props for some of the small towns he'll drive through. Of course at the end Claire waits for him etc etc.
To say the film is boring is an understatement, I watched the film with my wife, my sister in law and neice and we found by the end that we were talking about almost anything else rather than the film. There is little chemistry between the two leads, the concept is ridiculous with the map as a prop almost defying belief. I mean how could Claire create such a detailed map given such little time?
This is one of the poorest of all the romcoms and thats saying something, it has little romance or comedy and little to recommend it.
Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) feels like the world is against him. He works for a shoe company and after designing what seems to have been the 'shoe of the year' (god knows why - shoes are shoes right?) - something has gone horribly wrong with the said shoe and now Drew is out on his ear, and in a week's time the whole world will know about it. What terrible thing can go wrong with a shoe that involves firing someone and splashing it on the front cover of a business magazine with the headline 'fiasco' I don't know. But it must have been bad. So bad that his girlfriend is far too embarrassed to be with him (he has no job now after all) and consequently dumps him.
So Drew is pretty down, goes home and decides to kill himself. No, really. As we all do when we've had a bad day at work. Until he is interrupted by a phone call from his sister to tell him their father has died. Stopped in his tracks, Drew has to fly to Louisville to arrange for his father's body to be taken home. And when he gets back he will start what he finished.
OK - I am sucker for romantic films (and I do like Orlando Bloom too) but this is a ridiculous beginning for a film. I won't give all the details away but the way Drew tries to kill himself is just plain weird in itself. When he arrives in Louisville the story actually starts to get better as you realise that Drew is about to be taken on an emotional journey that will change his perceptions of success and happiness. If only the beginning of this film was more thought out it could have actually been half decent! Saying that, I have seen this film quite a few times, and I do like it, but as a reviewer - it's not really very good - I just have some bad taste and a crush on Orlando Bloom let's be honest here!
On the plane we are also pleasantly (or not so) introduced to Claire (Kirsten Dunst) who is the annoying, southern, interfering air stewardess who annoys Drew no end, but who he later calls and meets up with anyway. He has nothing better to do after all! Kirsten Dunst is quite annoying in this film - her accent changes with every sentence she says - they should have got her Orlando's voice coach because at least his American accent sounded believable! Claire is the one who shows Drew what he's missing out on, why success and money don't equal happiness and how to appreciate what he's already got in his life.
As I said the story idea is great - and in parts don't get me wrong, it's a nice little film showing you how close knit Southern families are, how family is the most important thing in life, how you can get caught up in the things that matter the least, and how you can change all that. In other parts though, it drags and some of the story is just completely unbelievable. As well as Dunst's annoying acting there are a couple of other characters whose acting is just so over the top it's a bit cringe worthy. All of this is very surprising since the film is a Cameron Crowe penned one. Which is one of the reasons I was so excited when this came out as I love Jerry Maguire and thought it would be a solid film with a good looking leading man like Orlando really pulling it off.
Orlando Bloom is good in parts - he captures some emotion towards the end of the film for his father and that comes across as believable. At no point in this film is Claire very believable though. With a different actress she would have been a great character but Dunst's Claire is too bolshy and annoying to be lovable to the viewers and you struggle to see what Drew sees in her. I will say that the soundtrack is great and when Drew is doing his road trip home after the funeral at the end of the film, the song choices are just magnificent. This is something Cameron Crowe never seems to get wrong in his films, but unfortunately he got a lot of other things wrong here.
So I don't really know what to rate this. I like it because I'm a sucker for a romance and a sucker for a happy ending. I'm also a fan of Orlando Bloom who I think is very underrated as an actor. His performance in the Calcium Kid is just great. I would like to give this a 3 out of 5 just because of that but really it only deserves a 2 and a half for effort. So I'll give it a fair rating - 2 out of 5. If it's on TV one day watch it and see what you think but its probably not worth wasting your hard earned money on.
When I heard about this film coming out I couldn't wait to see it. I had expectations of a movie with a Garden State feel, that of people in their mid twenties experiencing doubts and fears over their future. Upon the first watch I was completely unimpressed, infact I'm not sure if I managed the whole way through.
Then one day I gave it another go and fell in love with it. Elizabethtown follows Drew, played by Orlando Bloom, a once successful footwear designer who costs his company billions of dollars by designing a trainer that spectacularly flops. The beginning of the film sees another tragedy forcing him to go on a journey alone to re-evaluate and sort his life.
Kirsten Dunst plays the quirky, fun girl who he strikes up a friendship with and she shows him that life, although at times distressing, can be fun and special because of those around you.
Elizabethtown is more than your average romance. There is something undeniably sweet and innocent about this film. With a strong emphasis on family, it promotes great morals without preaching to the viewer.
A sweet movie with a fantastic soundtrack. Dunst is, as ever, fantastic.
I thought I was going to really enjoy this film and had looked forward to watching it for a long time before I actually did. Elizabethtown is widely available on DVD if you are looking to buy a copy yourself and costs £3.98 from Amazon at the moment. Please do read a few reviews, including mine, before you decide to give away four pounds of your money though.
The idea is of this film is that Orlando Bloom plays a character called Drew who has messed up his career most spectacularly. He is a shoe designer but his latest design is so bad that the world and his wife are ridiculing him. He has lost his company a considerable amount of money and left it all behind him to fly home to deal with his Dad's recent death.
En route he meets over-enthusiastic flight attendant Kirsten Dunst and they begin a rather bizarre relationship. The reason I say it is bizarre is because there are no real moments when we see anything developing between them, and yet they are allegedly drawn to one another from the word go. I found the emotion and reason really lacked here right from the outset.
The story itself was fine and very standard for an American family feel film. The supporting cast were a mixture of decent and mediocre actors who added a touch of drear, hysteria and bad comedy to the plot along the way. Susan Sarandon makes a particularly poor performance in this film.
I think this is one of those films you have to see to truly appreciate how poor it is. Most of the components that go into this film are fine in themselves, they simply do not work well together. The mixture of actors included in the film sounds fine, but they do not work well together on screen. The story lacks any real originality and the complete lack of romantic purpose made this a film I struggled to understand.
Have you felt like the world is against you? What did you do? Did you even think of committing suicide? Well, that's also the case in this movie but eventhough he still didn't continue.
Orlando Bloom - Drew Baylor
Kirsten Dunst - Claire Colburn
Susan Sarandon - Hollie Baylor
Jessica Biel - Ellen Kishmore
Big stars on this cast, first with heartrob orlando bloom. He's character here is Drew. He is works on an international shoe company, he is one of the designers there. But after his proposal about the new design, the company didn't like it and he was criticized for that. And it happened on a Friday, i think. Then in the Monday of the following week, his face will be in all magazine in America and he will be recognized as a loser. FIASCO, that's the word describing him and his creation.
Kirsten role is a flight attendant and they just met in the airport. That is the first meeting they have.
Susan's role is the mother of drew and she was deeply hurt when her husband died. She will do anything to forget the pain of losing of his hubby.
Jessica's role is the ex girlfriend of drew who dump him after knowing that drew didn't got the deal to the shoe company.
The plot is about a man who lost it all and tries to end it all by committing suicide. But he was about to, he got a phone call telling him that his father died. He thinks that his live will never the same and he is right because he will meet someone that will eventually change his life forever.
Very nice plot. Very unique. I like it a lot. There are a lot more than just the plot, i like the twist very much. I can tell what is it because i may spoil it all to you...LOL
9 out 10 - It is for the cast and the plot. Very nice. I can't believe that Kirsten and Orlando can have this chemistry. At first i was sceptical about this movie but once i watched it, i really enjoyed it a lot! It makes me wanna fall in love again and again and again. Another thing that i like is the lesson. This movie shows that after every storm, there will always be the sun. The sun will shine and light your life again. You must also be resilient so can cope up with life and that is evident in the character of hollie. The movie industry's rating is 6 and i really don't care! LOL
Very nice movie, there are a lot of scenes that i like in this movie like when drew is talking to her mother in the phone and she can't be talked normally because she is in this denial state. Drew is jumping because of anger. That is funny!
Another scene i like is the map that Claire gave to drew when he is going back home. She listed a list of things to do, the songs that should be playing while he was in this part of the journey, some pictures and trivia about the place and others. Until there is this place the drew was given a choice to stop by or just continue his journey. And so he stop and followed the steps and at the end of the puzzle, she said that he must find someone wearing a red hat and Claire is there standing, waiting for him. THAT IS VERY ROMANTIC!!!! Makes me wanna love again!
The first time I attempted to watch Elizabethtown I fell asleep halfway through! Perhaps that should have told me something but seeing that my husband bought me the DVD for my birthday I felt like I should give it a second go. I have to confess that I wish I hadn't bothered as having watched it all the way through now I'm struggling to decide what the point of it all was.
It's a strange story that seems to meander in lots of different directions somewhat aimlessly! The film stars Orlando Bloom who plays Drew Baylor. Once successful, we discover at the start of the film that he has just lost the shoe company he works for almost a million dollars. He is just about to commit suicide having attached a sharp kitchen knife to his exercise bike when he is saved by a call from his sister saying that his dad is died. He then sets off to Elizabethtown to dress his dad in a blue suit and bing the body back.
This is where the film that started off fairly promisingly just gets stranger and stranger. He is the only passenger on the plane he travels and start up a conversation with Claire (Kirsten Dunst) a very annoying air hostess. He then meets an absolutely weird set of people in Elizabethtown. Drew seems to get more puzzled as time goes on especially when every one argues over the funeral. Mids all this Claire gets in touch again and seems to be encouraging him to loosen up and live a little! It all culminates in a rather surreal memorial service for his father which features his widowed mother tap dancing and moon walking! As I said it is surreal!
I really seemed to lose my way watching this film and I really didn't get it. From about a third of the way through I found my interest dwindling. I was tempted to give up again but thought I would just keep going just in case it all became crystal clear. There were a few isolated humourous moments but I don't think the film knew what it was meant to be. I guess some people might call it a comedy whereas others might claim that it has a more profound message. Interestingly it does not claim to be anything at all on the DVD cover!
As the film ends with Drew taking a road trip home I guess you would equate this with the fact that his character has been on a journey through the film albeit one with little direction! However, this road trip element of the film really feels like it is tagged on the end and by this time I really had had enough. I felt that the film would have finished more fittingly with the memorial service!
I didn't feel myself warming to the characters either especially the main two. Orlando Bloom is very watchable but I find Kirsten Dunst quite annoying and I didn't change my mind watching her in this. Susan Saranden and Alec Baldwin appeared in supporting roles but even they could not salvage this rather strange film.
The film is just over two hours long but really felt so much longer than that. After watching it I could not help but feel that those two hours could have been spent much more enjoyably doing pretty much anything else! So with these thoughts in mind I really cannot recommend this film, although I guess that other people have felt differently as I have read some very positive reviews.
Just one redeeming feature was some of the music that you hear played during the film which include songs by Elton John, Tom Petty and The Hollies. These are all very enjoyable to listen to.
There are some DVD extras but as is always the case you really need to have enjoyed the film in order to watch these. However if you are interested they include:
Two theatrical trailers
meet the crew
Needless to say I didn't bother with these!
Named after Elizethtown in Kentucky this is a romantic film.
Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) has just been fired from a shoe manufacturer where he was a shoe designer. Out goes the job and out goes the girlfriend, left all alone Drew considers suicide when he gets a call from his sister telling him about the death of their father. He has to go and collect father's body.
While flying in a plane with his mother and sister he is upgraded to business class by an air hostess. She draws him a map of Elizabethtown and on the back leaves her number.
While Drew is carrying out family duties, Claire (Kirsten Dunst) the flight attendant meets up with him, they talk, they make love, they do things that couples do when they first meet.
That takes care of the plot; by reading my review you will think the film is a bit wishy-washy. It is that, Orlando is not the best choice for the role, and Dunst well I like her, she has played string of same roles, and in here she is strange Claire but very likeable Claire. The main asset in the movie is supporting characters.
For the romantic in you, the film has cliché scenes like the long talking on the phone scene and few more like this.
All in all not a classic movie although I would sit down and watch it on telly.
From an initial look at the front cover, this is not the kind of movie which would normally appeal to me - young, happy people, a feel-good story, with no function or actual point
..and I was even more disappointed with it that I had expected to be.
Orlando Bloom Drew Baylor
Kirsten Dunst ..Claire Colburn
Susan Sarandon ..Hollie Baylor
Alec Baldwin ..Phil de Voss
Bruce McGill ..Bill Banyon
Judy Greer ..Heather Baylor
Jessica Biel .Ellen Kishmore
Paul Schneider Jessie Baylor
Loudon Wainwright III Uncle Dale
Gailard Sartain Charles Dean
Jed Rees ..Chuck Hasboro
Paula Deen .Aunt Dora
Dan Biggers Uncle Roy
Alice Marie Crowe .Aunt Lena
Tim Devit Mitch Baylor
Writer / Director / Producer: Cameron Crowe (Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire)
Producer: Tom Cruise
If lifes a journey, its the detours that really count. - Drew Baylor
Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom), a sports shoe designer, is fired from his job by his boss (Alec Baldwin) after creating a very unsuccessful trainer, the Spasmotica and losing the company millions of dollars. Realising his only real passion in life is over, Drew plans to commit suicide. But moments before completing the deed, he receives a phone call telling him that his father, who he had not spent much time with since he became occupied by footwear, has passed away suddenly whilst visiting his hometown, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In a humiliated, depressed and detached state, the film follows Drews journey to attend his fathers funeral in Elizabethtown, then bring the ashes home to his distraught mother (Susan Sarandon) in Portland, Oregon. On the flight out he meets optimistic air stewardess Claire (Kirsten Dunst), who makes a resolution to herself to help him, and to bring a wholly positive influence into his life when he least expects it.
Crowe excels at capturing the atmosphere and feel of scenes with great music, and this soundtrack is one of the best Ive heard on a movie for sometime. He employs Elton John (My Fathers Gun), Tom Petty (Itll All Work Out), Nancy Wilson of Heart, The Hollies (Jesus Was A Crossmaker), The Hombres with Bob Dylanesque style, Lynard Skynard and others to achieve a feel of The Great American Radio Station.. An excellent selection of samples are available to listen to at www.elizabethtown.com.
This movie has received mixed reviews, some critics berating Crowe for his extreme self-indulgence at making another semi-autobiographical movie (this time based on his experience with his own father). As I mentioned earlier, the subject matter would generally not rank as my cup of tea, so I wasnt expecting too much from it. And my scepticism was not unsubstantiated.
Elizabethtown tries too hard to belong to two very different types of genres, and in the end fits into neither. It is not deep enough to mark your life or beliefs, its not funny enough to keep you laughing for two hours. In fact sometimes the mix is just to inane - for example during the memorial service, after the touching words and reminiscences, a large papier mache bird catches on fire and crashes in to those gathered to pay their respects. This movie tries to deal with very dark and serious issues - sudden ruination of a promising career; loss of a father; contemplation of suicide; loss of a husband - but treats them in a light and belittling way.
I found the main downside to the movie to be the choice of lead actors. As part of a lonely minority that have never seen Lord Of The Rings, I havent seen Orlando Bloom act before, but I was disappointed at this mediocre attempt at a leading role. His brooding, suicidal character, experiencing the worse things life can throw at you all at once did not betray anywhere near enough emotion. Even worse was Kirsten Dunsts quirky saccharine sweet Claire, who I found neither compelling or particularly likeable. This role needed to be filled by someone with an immense amount of natural charisma, especially as she is meant to have enough appeal to bestow upon a stranger new purpose and direction in life, but I just didnt find her personality irresistibly attractive enough. In fact, her cutesy ways were downright irritating - if I was contemplating the end, five minutes in her company would push me over the edge and around the other side.
The true stars of the movie were the bit part characters, the long lost relatives who lingered in the background portraying an accurate feel of small town Kentucky life. These people, and the small role from the ever superb Susan Sarandon were the saving grace of this film. Sarandon, as the neurotic, unstable mother coping with the loss of her husband and trying to move on, steals the only real comedy moment, with a bizarre gabbled speech and a bout of tap dancing at her husbands memorial service in front of a large room of rather shocked family members.
The finest thing about this movie is it stylised to show the best of certain aspects of American life. There is a strong focus on the beautiful scenery, the kind and generous society, and the idyllic atmosphere of Southern small town life, much inspiration being taken from quintessential American artist Norman Rockwell, who gets a mention at the beginning of the film. One of the best sequences is the roadtrip, where we see beautiful landscapes, hints of unstaged local cultures, and shots of poignant national sights of interest, such as the motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated and the memorial to the Oklahoma bomb. The roadtrip is the whole movie in a nutshell - Drew openly grieves and ponders on the good memories of his father, and finds release by scattering his ashes along the way. In my opinion it is the only decent ten minutes in over two hours of dross.
What Crowe set out to do here was to make, a movie that could blend tears and laughter. This could have been touching down to earth introspective exploration of life. Instead it was an overlong, tedious chore that I found neither moving or uplifting. Thank God for the music. And as my mother rightly pointed out, after all that fuss, they never did say what was actually wrong with the trainers.
Running time: 123 minutes
© 2005 (2006) V.L.Collyer
I do like Kirsten Dunst and I also like Orlando Bloom so when I saw that they were both going to be in a film called Elizabethtown I wanted to see it. It came out at the cinema and people kept telling me how bad it was so I didnt bother going to see it but I rented it on video the other day and me and my sister Sam decided to give it a go and then wished we hadnt. Very disappointed as it could have been a great film and here is why.
The Film Story:
The first scene of the film introduces us to Drew Baylor. He is a young hot shot who has just created a shoe which has sold like anything and made the company a lot of money. Drew looks extremely happy and is celebrating in a big room with all of his work colleagues and the colours are bright and happy.
The next scene however sees Drew being talked to by his boss Phil who is saying that the trainer has had to be recalled and the company is set to lose in the region of one billion dollars because of Drews mistake and as a result Phil has to fire Drew. Drew knowing that the news will break out within a few days begins to feel suicidal and in this state he attaches a knife to a bicycle that will stab him as he rides the bike. The colours have now changed to very drab blacks and greys so you can feel depressed as a viewer too. As Drew prepares to kill himself he gets a phone call from his sister who announces his father has died and that he is needed to collect the body ready for the cremation.
As Drew makes his way to collect his fathers body from Kentucky he meets an air flight attendant called Claire. Claire is the exact opposite of Drew as she is full of life and optimism and sensing that Drew is feeling a bit down she tries her best to offer him advice and to cheer him up. As he leaves the airport he realises that her advice is worth taking and is pleased when she phones him up out of the blue one evening.
Drew and Claire begin a friendship as they chat on the phone throughout the night and realise that they could be good for each other and the film follows their blossoming relationship.
Verdict on the Story:
Yes the story sounds depressing but that is because essentially it is. The comedy and lighthearted themes do not come out very often and when they do it is only due to Claire as a very optimistic person who is full of life. It is a great premise that a suicidal person is bought back to having fun because of the influence of those around him but this story just does not work well at all.
The script is to blame as I cannot stress to you enough how boring it is and it is so dull that it makes you hate the movie and just want it to end. The story plays out as you expect it would as it is so predictable but because the characters are boring it makes the story boring. There is nothing new with the story and the script writers could have done with thinking a bit more about using the characters to their full potential by making the script an identifiable story.
The one thing I would definitely change about the film is the awful use of narration throughout from Drew. I know he is not meant to be a happy chap but the narration does just make the film even more depressing. The thing I dont get is the narration does not even help you, it does not give you any insight into the character or how he is thinking because he just says things that you are seeing so it is a bit obvious.
Cast and Characters:
Orlando Bloom Drew Baylor
Kirsten Dunst Claire Colburn
Alec Baldwin Phil
Jessica Biel Ellen Kishmore
Susan Sarandon Hollie Baylor
Verdict on the Cast and Characters:
First the cast and by looking at the list I bet you are thinking well how could they fail. To be honest most of the main cast are great and play their roles with ease but the only problem is Bloom. Now I like him but in this film he is just the wrong person and is unbelievable in his role. He seems to be overacting all of the time and I know that his character is supposed to be quite depressed but Bloom does not pull any facial expressions. He does not look sad at any point and it is just annoying as he just looks like he is trying to look sad all of the time if that makes sense.
Dunst on the other hand brings a breath of fresh air to an otherwise rubbish movie as she really gets you to believe and care about her character and you cannot wait to see her in all of her scenes.
Every single character in my opinion is not at all memorable and the character of Claire is actually the only one. I know it is down to the script that makes the movie have such a depressing film but films such as Garden State have had the same sort of story and they have made the most of the characters and made them very identifiable. This movie fails and I do think it is down to the script and not entirely to the cast that the characters are so unwatchable and to be honest you just want to skip most scenes.
Things to know:
Price £9.99 on Amazon
Runtime 123 minutes
I think where this film fails is it is trying to be something it isnt. Me and Sam got the impression that the film makers desperately wanted it to be seen as a bit of an indie flick but they have done it all wrong. The way the film is shot is annoying with many scenes simply unneeded because they are so boring such as at one point when you see Orlando and Kirsten talking on the phone for ages with just music in the background. I can see why they have put the scene in but it did not stop it being ultimately boring.
The actual story has such a great premise and could have been made so good and interesting by using the right script so it is such a shame it has turned out this way. I have to admit to you that while we were watching it we did skip several parts because they were so boring it was depressing and we still followed the film completely. While we were skipping we could see what was happening so we didnt feel like we missed anything at all. The only scenes we did watch were ones with Dunst in as they were at least watchable.
He other thing that is wrong with the story is the narration by Bloom which makes the story seem even more boring as he is always talking about depressing things. I have to say that I would never watch this movie again as it is so annoying because of that narration.
The absolute ray of sunshine in this film is Dunst who provides all of the fun and every scene that she is in is worth watching which unfortunately still only equates to almost an hour of a two hour film. Everything else is simply boring because Bloom is just rubbish in it. People have always said to me that they do not think Bloom is a very good actor and I have always stuck up for him but in this film I can see what they are on about. He is trying to be a likeable character who has these deep thoughts but Bloom does not act properly so he looks like he is constipated throughout the entire movie.
The way the film is shot is quite interesting as usually they try to make film scenery look quite appealing but I would not have liked to visit anywhere in this film as it all looked quite built up and dull. Sets seem a bit common so it looks like the film was made on the cheap but saying that it does fit in with the theme of the film as not everywhere can be beautiful with sandy beaches and blue skys I suppose.
My other complaint about this film is the length which is just extremely too long. If they had cut down on some of the unneeded scenes such as ones at the Dads friends house and when they are on the phone then I think about half an hour could have been shaved off the film. I know it has been marketed as a romantic comedy film but to me there is just not much comedy and the only laughs come from Dunst.
In conclusion I would say this film just scrapes in two stars because of Kirsten Dunst providing light relief to the otherwise dull Orlando Bloom. If you want my opinion then I would put this film back on the shelf and go and rent Garden State instead as this is the film Elizabethtown is trying desperately to be and failing miserably.
Thanks for reading.
Why we picked it
'Twas a Saturday night, and my best mate and I decided that we would forgo our dancing shoes for a change and pop along to the cinema. So, we decided to meet up at 8:30 and watch either Brothers Grimm, or Elizabethtown. Having been devoid of nicotine for sometime, we decided to go first to Sainsbury's and pick some up (so much for my Allen Carr victory), and then have cocktails in Frankie and Benny's, which is next to our Cineworld in Ashford. We therefore decided to see Elizabethtown, which was being shown at 9:20, as opposed to the other which was at 9:00, so we could fit in as much booze and fags as possible. Plus Orlando Bloom is in it, and he is from Kent, so it would only be right so support him by seeing his wondrous body- I mean- film. So there you have our motivation to see the film-completely shallow and self serving.
So what's it all about, Alfie?
Elizabethtown is about a young man called Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom), who has worked his butt off for years on a design for a shoe, for the company he works for, at the detriment of his home and his relationship. However, this shoe flops most dramatically, leaving him to blame for the loss of $972 million for the company. His boss Phil (Alec Baldwin) fires him most dramatically (Baldwin is only in it for 5 minutes, so its only right that he is Very Dramatic for these 5 minutes), and so Drew goes home, chucks out all his belongings into the street, and sets about making a very gruesome looking suicide machine, involving an exercise bike, and a kitchen knife.
Then the phone rings, the poor fellow can't even be a success at committing suicide. It's his sister, calling to tell him, that his Dad has died of a heart attack, whilst visiting his hometown, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. His mother uses his dearly departed father's words to sum up what had happened, "If it wasn't this, it would have been something else." So, Drew sets off to Elizabethtown, with his Dad's blue suit, to bring him back for cremation in Oregon, with the plan to continue killing himself as soon as he returns. And Abra Cadabra, we have our title.
En route to his destination, he meets flight attendant Claire (Kirsten Dunst), and as he is the only one on the flight, she proceeds to annoy him for most of the damn journey (actually, he seemed to find it endearing, I found it annoying). She corrects his pronunciation of Louisville (it's Loo-ah-vulle, apparently), and draws him a map of his route. After they land, he tries his best to extricate himself from her grasp, and then she proceeds to screech '60B' (the junction he has to get off at) across the airport at him.
Drew goes home to meet his family, who he hasn't seen since he abandoned them to start a new career in California (or so they keep insisting, even though he lived in Oregon), and so they all think he's a genius, and so he cannot bring himself to tell thewm of his recent failure. There's his cousin Jesse (Paul Schneider) and his repulsive brat of a son (name unknown, but the best excuse for contraception I've ever seen), then a million other family and friends members who loved and lost his father. He battles with the mayor and the family to have his father cremated rather than buried in the plot that had been reserved for him, and then tries to help his sister control his crazy mother (Susan Sarandon), who has taken up organic cookery, tap-dancing and comedy classes, just to take her mind off things.
Drew, at some point during the fun and games with his family, finds the time to ring Claire (seeing as on the map she gave him had ALL her phone numbers written on), and they embark on an all-night phone conversation, resulting in meeting up to watch the sunrise. They decide to that they were better on the phone and part company quickly, but a lot of meetings, engineered purely by Claire, ensue.
Any more plot information would probably give away the ending, so I'll proceed to what I thought.
What I thought
I read a review of this film in Heat magazine, and so should point out here, that I ripped this from it, but it seems utterly true to me. The film doesn't work all that well, because it cannot decide what it's about. Is it about Drew and Claire, or Drew and his family? I can sort of see where Mr Crowe was going, but mixing the two plots just meant to me that the story was a bit runny and bumbling. I'm still not sure what the film is about.
There has been a lot of debate from the critics about the casting, and how it was all wrong. I'm not enough of an expert to comment, but I must say that up till now, I liked Kirsten Dunst. Bu tin this film, she annoyed the hell out of me. I felt the need to get up and shout, "but she's a bunny boiler!" at the screen. Maybe they should have just cast Kim Basinger and had done with it. Her persistent chasing of Drew really did my head in and her 'theories' about everything, and general humbleness grated on me. I also want the girl to stand a little straighter, the slouching is appalling.
Orlando Bloom was gorgeous and convincing throughout, but it still is a mystery to me why they got an English actor to play the part, seeing as the character is America, when they could have cast someone gorgeous and American.
The film also went on for ages. There were several moments that the film could have ended, and been a lot better off as a result, but it seemed to bumble forth, with no regard of the lack of direction it was heading in.
All in all, the film appears to be plotless, and with one of its main characters being irritating as hell, there really isn't much to go on, apart from Orlando, a good supporting cast, and a fairly good soundtrack. It seems more of a show-off time of the supporting cast's talents, rather than an actual story, making the whole film a great big mish-mash, trying to squeeze a bit of everything in.
On a par with Lost in Translation (which I totally did not get either), and utterly not worth the £7 entry fee, wait til it comes to DVD.
Orlando Bloom - Drew Baylor
Kirsten Dunst - Claire Colburn
Susan Sarandon - Hollie Baylor
Judy Greer - Heather Baylor
Jessica Biel - Ellen Kishmore
Paul Schneider - Jessie Baylor
Paula Deen - Aunt Dora
Loudon Wainwright III - Uncle Dale
Bruce McGill - Bill Banyon
Cameron Crowe - Director
Running time - 121 minutes
Paramount Movies 2005
Elizabethtown has all of the elements of a great Cameron Crowe movie, but none of the Cameron Crowe vision that made Almost Famous work. It's mostly a series of sweet moments, each capped with the right song at the right time; in fact, the soundtrack is the real star of the movie, and the right song is all there is to piece together a film that is much less than the sum of its parts. From the start of Elizabethtown, big contrasts are evoked: death and life, success and failure are side by side, so we're told. When the movie starts, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is experiencing failure and death in spades: the shoe he spent eight years designing for Mercury (a thinly-veiled copy of Nike) has been recalled, costing his company $972 million dollars. On the verge of a suicide attempt, he learns his father has died, and Drew flies to Kentucky to retrieve the body to Oregon for cremation. On the red-eye to Louisville he meets Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst), a perky flight attendant with a charming flair for cute lines ("I'm impossible to forget, but Im hard to remember," she chirps). Once in Elizabethtown, Drew tries to plan a memorial while dealing with relatives who have their own agenda in addition to his manic family back in Oregon, all while facing the reality that in a few days he'll be known nationally as one of his industry's most legendary failures. Yet still he manages to connect with Claire on an all-night cell phone conversation--complete with the requisite watching of the sunrise--and to strike up a furtive romance. So we now have death and life side by side. But despite these dramatic shifts, what sets up to be a roller coaster ride of a film flattens out to a milquetoast middle ground with no real life of its own. Drew Baylor has suffered two tragic personal losses in the course of one day, but you wouldn't know it from Bloom's lethargic performance. There's not much to Claire either. Her whole character is made up mostly of cutesy quotable lines and mysterious little smirks. In the end, Elizabethtown is a film that doesn't know what it wants to be, and unfortunately there's no payoff, other than a few memorable lines and a great soundtrack.--Dan Vancini