Find Me On:
First of all, I was really disappointed by this film which I had hoped would be good… but wasn’t. Now a few critiques of this critique:
1) Yes, the PXL-2000 was out of production in the 90′s, but became a sought-after product for many artists who combed tag sales and flea markets trying to find them. The film did NOT show Hathaway or Gyllenhaal buying the camera, just using it. I think it was clear in the film that it belonged to Hathaway who was an artist frustrated by the fact that she could no longer “hold a brush in my hand” so she turned to photography and videography to create her art. She also used an old Polaroid camera. Just because things aren’t new and shiny doesn’t mean that they aren’t still around and being used!
2) I just re-watched the opening scene of the movie, and there are no shots that show the large television sets from the side or back. I don’t think that what you interpreted as “FLAT SCREEN TVs” actually were. They were just large screen TV’s with, yes, relatively flat screens, but not thin cases, such as we now have that can be mounted to a wall (there are none shone hanging on a wall, for example). 1996 was the year of the first HI-Def broadcasts. Therefore, there were Hi-Def televisions. If you watch the scene again, you can tell that these weren’t circa 2010 sets.
3) Cell phones were getting real traction by 1996. A lot of companies were giving them away in exchange for outrageous contracts. The Motorola StarTAC was introduced in January, 1996, and that is the phone he is trying to sell to his customer. Many “ordinary” people were starting to buy cellphones, and there was a lot of marketing to people telling them they should have one “in case of emergencies”. It is perfectly reasonable that an older woman would be interested in buying one to have in case her car broke down and she need to call for assistance. Which brings me to…
4) You need to evaluate your immature response to “old women”. The woman who was looking to buy a cellphone was interested in new technology, and was having fun dancing with Gyllenhaal. As usual in this movie her appearance was for comic effect in a typical ageist stereotype (elderly people are supposedly asexual, so seeing them dancing, flirting, or swearing seems anachronistic ). The woman who approached Hathaway at the Chicago convention looked as though she might be in her early 50′s. She was not elderly or feeble (although again the lame stereotype was used that it is funny to hear a mature woman swear). If a man that age had approached her, would you have described him as an “old man”? There is a huge double standard in the way people view aging in women as opposed to men. Older men are most often viewed as sharp, often powerful figures, who command respect while women of the same age are viewed as powerless – which this character, who was pro-active and sharp, was not. By referring to her as an “old lady” you show immense lack of insight and immaturity.
5) The “Un Convention” was not an extended support group. It was an organized, day long protest against the drug companies. A main theme in the movie (which failed to come across in a coherent manner just like everything else they tried to do) was the discrepancy between the modern healthcare system with Big Pharm out to sell their products with little regard for the plight of actual patients, as well as the doctors are hindered from actually helping patients by things like HMO’s, insurance companies, and malpractice suits, and expanding bureaucracy (as described by Azaria in his speech about “treating 50 patients a day…”). The movie failed to explain why the “UnConvention” organized across the street seemed to be strictly Parkinson’s patients. It would have made more sense if they had added something about Pzizer putting all of this research and marketing money into Viagra and not into medications for Parkinson’s. The flyer that the woman handed to Hathaway actually did lay out that the UnConvention was for people with chronic, degenerative diseases who were sick of being marginalized by Big Pharm (which also makes billions in profit on things like Viagra while charing prices for drugs that very ill people desperately need so high that the patients can’t afford them). Unfortunately, the flyer was only shown for about half a second – to fast to read unless one paused the film. Rather than thinking of the UnConvention as a “support group”, it makes more sense to realize that it was a kind of convention where many groups banded together to protest Big Pharm and empower patients and their families. It seemed to be set up to go on all day, just as the drug convention was, so sure there was time for many people to get up and speak.
You made some great points about the movie. I am however, a bit disappointed that you could not come up with a single good thing to say about the film. I thought Gyllenhaal’s performance was good and Hathaway’s performance was excellent and there were some really good scenes between the two of them. This movie could have been a very good film, but the script was a mess. I guess I just find this column to be fuel for the hater mentality that has permeated the web. This film does not deserve so much time and energy. I feel bad that I let myself get dragged into this conversation. Why spend so much effort on the negative when there are so many positive things in the world?