ELIZABETHTOWN: NOT MUCH TO CROWE ABOUT
Elizabethtown is one of those films that I had to let seep in. It seems, at least among friends who have seen it, that I am the only one who liked it. I didn’t love it, but I was hoping to. First of all, this is the first time I almost enjoyed Kirsten Dunst. Frankly, her teeth are distracting. If you make your living in front of the camera and close-ups are your bread and butter, the dentist should be your best friend. Those pearly whites deserve to be straightened, Ms. Dunst. One hour of work on that third Spider-Man movie should more than cover the cost. Regardless of her snaggletooth grin, Dunst is charming as a quirky flight attendant from the South. Strikingly similar to Natalie Portman’s role in Garden State, Dunst saves the boy and helps to soften the blow of major father issues. I’ve also never been on the Orlando Bloom bandwagon, so my expectations were quite low for his first role with an American accent and without heroic garb. He was bland at best, and only showed signs of true emotion on occasion, which I tend to believe had more to do with the script and his character. My vanity complaint about him is that hair. Does it have to be long and scruffy for every film? In this movie, we are supposed to believe he is a hotshot shoe designer, so I assume his long locks are our visual clue that he’s a creative genius rebelling in corporate America. I appreciate the overall sentiment behind the movie; that Cameron Crowe wrote and directed Elizabethtown as homage to his father (much like Almost Famous was a tribute to his mother). One reason I enjoy all of Crowe’s films is that they’re dialogue heavy and character specific. Each movie is a tad autobiographical, as Crowe tends to transfer personal experiences from both his young life and rock & roll wife (Nancy Wilson) to the big screen. So although I wasn’t sold on the acting, I loved two elements of the film: strange people who happen to also be your family, and road trips with soundtracks. It is no surprise that the soundtrack to this movie provides a narrative above and beyond the story, that specific songs accompany key scenes beautifully. Crowe is the master of movie soundtracks, dating back to Say Anything, which he also wrote. I don’t grade films, but if I did, I would give Elizabethtown a solid B. At times it felt disjointed, but Crowe is the kind of filmmaker that makes me want to write a screenplay supported and surrounded by my favorite songs.