Film review: In Good Company

It’s so subtle, so sophisticated and the only character I can truly relate to is Carter Duryea the lead. It felt timely to write this review because I am 26 and Carter is 26. I have seen this film many times over the years as I had bought the film when I was a teenager in April 2006.

My first impression of the film watching it as a sixteen year old wasn’t a positive one I was almost bored by it but that is simply because the humour and dynamics are too sophisticated for mere teens it’s a grown-up film and you need to mature a lot to appreciate this film.¬†So it took a lot of time for me to fully appreciate it but I was immediately drawn to the film and would watch it over and over again. As a teen watching it I found it so exciting that Alex gets to date Carter and their serendipitous run-in at the cafe is enjoyable.

 

As a teenager I¬†was obsessed with this one film still of Scarlett johansson outside the (real) Cafe Reggio¬†on 119 MacDougal Street and West 3rd Street, Manhattan.¬†I loved the leisurely vibe and her fashion sense. The term #LIFEGOALS didn’t exist back in ’06 but if it had this photo was it for me. I even wore a blazer and hoodie constantly.

In the scene Alex is reading “Early Short Stories” by Anton Chekhov.

Before I used to, in a way, look up to Carter and thought he was amazing. Now I’m 26 and I completely relate to him because he has this success yet he has nobody, the people at work dislike him and he’s dating a teenager. There’s a lot of insecurity around him and his collegiate girlfriend because she’s dating her father’s boss. So just when Carter is trying to find a chance at happiness it’s really shot down, happiness is never truly tangible for him in the film.

Alex: “It’s strange you know, it seems like your sort of bummed out about your career but you’re so successful.”
Carter: “My career is pretty much what I have in my life that and a dented Porsche.”

In the chance encounter at Cafe Reggio there’s a real sense of disappointment and mild sorrow in Carter. He doesn’t seem as happy as he ought to be given that he’s young, handsome and successful. Alex cannot, as perhaps the audience, understand why he seems somewhat dissatisfied toward his accomplishments. A decade later I understand why Topher Grace portrays Carter in such a mild state of unease and hopelessness (very subtlety.)¬†The truth is when you’re a Carter Duryea type you’re not going to be liked, all you have is your career; with great skill and talent come disappointments as nobody else is as on the ball.

Initially until I actually turned 26 the fact that he was secretly dating his colleague’s¬†18 year old daughter didn’t feel inappropriate but now I see that it is. That’s partly because I was seeing myself as the 18 year old Alex in the film so naturally felt it would be wonderful to date someone like a Carter Duryea. He comes in his Porsche to collect you from your dorm room and gives you a Diamond Chopard necklace for no reason.¬†(Gotta say guys like him don’t really exist-sadly!)

Previously in my teens I didn’t immediately like Carter yet I was completely gravitated by this character because he represents so much truth about what life is like on the other side. I didn’t immediately take to Duryea not because of his traits or actions I think it’s to do with how the character is handled. There just wasn’t enough expression in Grace’s face, because there are plenty of reasons why the audience should root for Carter but perhaps they don’t. Some actors are auditory and other actors are visual and it’s the latter that pull you in deeper. What I mean by that is auditory people make less facial expressions. Why? Because they’re focused on dialogue, they’re focused on reply, tone of voice or coming in with their line at the right time. Whereas a visual actor (think the entire Friends TV show cast) are incredibly expressive and the emotion on their face is easy to read whereas as I did not see this in Topher. Though his entire performance is strong and perfectly captures the nuanced message that success is not all it seems and the scary truth as Life Coach Tony Robbins would put it: “Success Without Fulfillment Is the Ultimate Failure.”¬†

Films like this just aren’t made anymore. What makes the film so satisfying is that there are no major betrayals between characters no maliciousness and nothing too salacious which makes it so refreshing. Notably the Paul Weitz also directed About a Boy and was an executive producer of American Pie 2. A film similar to this may be The Company Men starring¬†Ben Affleck yet it lacks the sweetness of In Good Company as it’s very real and¬†poignant. In Good Company portrays corporate culture with a wholesome dash that continues to make it a pleasure to watch as the years go by.

 


 

IMDB profiles:

Topher Grace / @TopherGrace
Dennis Quaid
Scarlett Johansson 

www.InGoodCompanyMovie.com
Buy USA
Buy UK

 

 

Film review: Metropolitan

Metropolitan

Source

Doomed   |      Bourgeois      |        In Love

‚ÄúManhattan, Christmas Vacation, not so long ago…‚ÄĚ

Oscar Nominated for Best Original Screenplay this¬†film takes you into the lives of Manhattan’s elite. They’re young, beautiful yet doomed. A group of preppies sans Gossip girl overtones after all this was released before text messages even existed.¬†It’s a nuanced debut film by Director and Screenwriter Whit Stillman. ¬†Stillman¬†made Serena a chic name in books, film and TV. He paved the way for beautiful and damned Manhattanites found in Cruel Intentions alongside Gossip Girl the book series and its eventual mega-hit¬†TV show.

The film still above the original “you can’t sit with us” scene.

Meet the U.H.B. Urban Haute Bourgeoisie¬†pronounced “Uhhb.” ¬†You have Tom the auburn haired fellow with a penchant for socialism and is conflicted by his views on privilege to fully mingle with his new preppy friends. Audrey is in love with Tom, but he can’t get over Serena. The dark haired guy in the above photo is the dashingly witty Nick who serves the best lines:

“The Surrealists were just a bunch of social climbers.”

“Playing strip poker with an exhibitionist somehow takes the challenge away.”

“Rick Von Slonecker is tall, rich, good looking, stupid, dishonest, conceited, a bully, liar, drunk and thief, an egomaniac, and probably psychotic. In short, highly attractive to women.”

It’s a subtle plot. You are essentially spending the holidays in a W.A.S.P. way. There’s stimulating conversation and¬†a foreboding of economic uncertainty present by the fact that even these¬†privileged kids face the prospect of downward social mobility and that even these lucky kids see themselves as Charlie puts it “doomed.”

Tom Townsend once belonged, not to this particular set of friends but to their world: Prepdom. ¬†Since his parents divorce he has lost his privileged access and lives as an ‘outsider’ in Upper West Side. Though he’s in love with the resident Preppy It Girl Serena Slocum, who is with Baron Von Sloneker who Nick detests and labels¬†titled Aristocrats as “scum of the earth.”

Tom kind of annoys me: “I don’t read novels I prefer good literary criticism.”

Audrey is adorable and there’s not much revealed about Jane who looks like an American cousin of Nigella Lawson.

It’s witty, interesting and a¬†traditional depiction of an extraordinary class. It’s delightful and there’s none of the stress and drama found in contemporary depictions of rich kids. You’ll either love it or you won’t. It’s an enjoyable film for those that get it.

 


Purchase the film on DVD 

More about Whit Stillman

whit_stillman

Twitter: @WhitStillman
IMDb profile

Other films by him:
The Last Days of Disco
Barcelona
Damsels in Distress

Film Review: “The Dreamers”

This Film directed by Atheist Bernado Bertolucci has all the makings of being a Bohemian Film Masterpiece. Sadly it is not. A spoiler must be revealed as one core element of the film ruins it’s masterpiece status. It turns “The Dreamers” into a nightmare: it subtly though provocatively displays an incestuous relationship between siblings. That is the end of the spoilers and that is the end of it’s likability.

Otherwise the Leornado¬†DiCaprio lookalike protagonist Michael Pitt as a student in 1960’s Paris meeting two other film lovers would have been a Bohemian 60’s Tale. The aesthetic of their apparel and the twin’s home is just right. Coupled with the cinematic references of good film gone by it is gratifying.

And¬†Oooo La La¬†yes there is nudity. Not just of a woman but of a man and it is oh so satisfying. Though moments before things are prickly, uncomfortable. But I’d never seen anything like it in terms of male nudity. I never felt so indulgently fulfilled by the male form for a few cinematic seconds.

The astutely-informed, literary and knowledgeable Bohemians can easily strike envy because they are so filled with literary lowdown one wishes they too had the chance, nay the time to be engrossed with cinematic classics and read all those books we have been meaning to. The beautiful albeit incestuous twins present the leisurely luxury method of devouring such cultivated cultural pursuits: whereby everyday is a lazy Sunday to lounge in, read and watch real film.

Louis Garrel plays the twin brother and epitomizes the Bohemian looks a girl¬†dreams of seeing on the streets of Paris though ultimately never sees. Garrels’ twin sister Eva Green is chic and models sophistication well.

dreamers6

An enjoyable film despite it’s forbidden and ultimately sick inference of incest. You Atheists like to cause trouble don’t you? There are some ghastly moments-blood of the hymen anyone? The only way to deprave a nation is through subtlety and slyness like another character from that long-forgotten Book of Genesis. A trick used not just in cinema but everywhere is to make the forbidden, disgusting, criminal and sickening as palatable as one can prettily make it. Be vigilant, be aware guys.

7/10

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