The Lovely Bones

Anyway, whenever I mention the movie Lovely Bones the reaction is always the same. "Did you read the book? Did you read it? Didja didja?!" Yes!! I read the stupid book!! (I actually did). And I remember liking the book enough to actually finish the book (which says alot these days). But realistically the first third or so is all I remember. Beyond that is a blur of girlish dreamscapes mashed in with frustrating slowness in catching a killer-- swirling down into some vaguely disappointing literary wrapup. But the biggest strength of the book was that it was way vivid. I remember I could smell things. It was physically damp. It formed really cool pictures in my head-- the way Harry Potters do. But I also remember feeling like I was reading a book for girls. Take out the murder and add unicorns and that jacket would have turned pink.

Whatever. The movie is a mess. And boring. And frustrating. And miscast. The soundtrack was a badly used crutch. The special effects barely had wow. It naggingly insisted it was from the 1970's. (I get it! Ugly shirt!) But worst of all, this flick was an emotional letdown at the end of practically every single scene. I didn't even make a dent in my heart. However, it did continually tease me into giving it the benefit of the doubt. Like it could turn it all around. I'd do that trust game where you fall back and someone has to catch you -- and time after time this movie wandered away and I'd land butt first on the orange shag carpet.

Bad cast! First off, I've made a decision about Mark Walberger! I only like him as an actor when he's re-acting. In Boogie Nights he was in a constant state of reaction. The Departed. Reacting to Damon. Funny and good. Feed him and he responds well. But when he has to be out there setting the emotional tone-- he's unconvincing and his tone of voice is weird. Like he's always being vaguely sarcastic. Other cast: Greta Veitz was more of a ghost than the kid. Sharon Sarandon playing a cigarette drunk was over the top. And the whispery ginger girl probably would have worked better if she didn't have an asian girl who sounded like she was using a fake asian accent yammering at her. Oh yeah, sorry Christofuh Moltisanti--- I see only you still. I'll keep trying tho.

But the bigger problem with this movie is it didn't work as a movie. A 14-year old girl disappears and there is a childless creepy guy living alone across the street who makes dollhouses and sits in his car in his garage -- but nobody seriously suspects him? That's eye rolling some Scooby-Doo bullshit on the big screen! I can't watch someone peering from between the curtains at the house across the street and not be like, 'Oh come the f-k on!'  AND on the other side-- how many half-assed circa 1995 CGI colorized limbo dreamscapes am I supposed to "marvel at" before getting a little queasy and tired? Planet sized-marble in the ocean surf! Giant yellow flowers! Colorful clouds! What. Ever. This flick came off like it was directed by some swedish dude with a  in his last name who made his mark directing Cocteau Twins videos.

In this case, I would have preferred a traditional hollywoodization of this flick. Just give us what we want--- make it closer to Teen Ghost (swayze demi ghost) and make us all happy in the end. Do your dreamworld wandering... fine-- but let's make it a real movie on earth. Yadda. I got the feeling Peter Jackson got stuck on this. He realized it wasn't all spelled out for him like in LOTRs. With LOTRs it was a question of trimming stuff down and streamlining. This girlie flick was all about padding it up--- and his bra was awkwardly overstuffed.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- It did hold my attention from start to finish.
- I thought Stanley Tushy did a good job as a convincing creepizoid (although the glasses looked fake).
- Some of the dreamy stuff did look nicely creamy dreamy.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- The murder scene felt like a high-browed cheat.
- Everything was distracting from everything else.
- When I'm mad at the family instead of sympathetic... something wernt done right.

All in all, this movie wasn't a flat out disaster-- I guess it held tight to the pages in the book. It pranced and tiptoed around making sure not to disrupt or corrupt. But it could have gone for a little corruption-- because realistically Lovely Bones as a book is a short story stretched nicely. And as a movie it played like it was stretched way too far-- and just lost its shape altogether.

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