Wonder Boys Reviews
The inclusion of Bob Dylan makes this already great film even better. If you're not into Dylan, or at least not later Dylan, you probabky won't agree. I think it fits perfectly though, so I'm glad it's in the movie. Even though my intro to this review showed my inability to completely relate, a movie about passionate people struggling to deal with all life puts them through is something that everyone can get, even if the specifics differ from the viewers' own personal experiences.
The weary, stoner, neurotic Grady Tripp is a great character. He's someone you can love and feel for, yet he's still very ragged, and you wonder why you should continue to care, if you ever really did to begin with. Michael Douglas is fantastic as Tripp, giving one of his best performances in years. Tobey Maguire, I feel, is channeling Bud Cort's work from Harold & Maude, and it pays off. He also gives an excellent performances as the troubled and mysterious prodigy. Katie Holmes has a smaller role, but she's also pretty good. Sometimes I forget that she does have talent. Downey Jr. and McDormand also give fine performances as always.
I liked that this was a small movie, and that it has high artistic vlaue, but that it isn't too pretentious or artsy, and that it became a sleeper hit. I haven't read the source material, but it seems like something I could see myself enjoying.
There aren't a whole lot of overtly cinematic moments, with lots of abundant style and flair, but this is definitely a "film" as opposed to a "movie". This ranks, along with L.A. Confidential, as Curtis Hanson's best film, and one you would do well to see. It's charming, touching, and very entertaining.
Directed by: Curtis Hanson
Summary: This endearing slice of life centers on unraveling English professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), who's forced to confront his writer's block, fear of aging and irresponsibility as he watches a student (Tobey Maguire) surpass him. Meanwhile, he contends with the consequences of an affair and fends off the advances of a young boarder (Katie Holmes). Steve Kloves earned an Oscar nod for his script.
My Thoughts: "This has to be my favorite movie that Michael Douglas has done to date. Just really loved everything about this film. I am disappointed that I waited so long to watch it though. Tobey Maguire was so good as the quirky, mysterious, brilliant pathological liar. I loved all the characters in this film. It was casted quite brilliantly. I was surprised at how funny this film was considering its listed as a drama. But it had lots of humor in it, especially with all the predicaments they find themselves in. Robert Downey Jr. was his funny self as usual in this. Just a very smartly done film in my opinion. Haven't read the book so I can't compare it. But after seeing the film, I would like to. So its got a great story, good acting, great characters, it's funny, and it even has some good music to top it off. Just a fun watch. Give a go if you have yet to see it."
In this comedy, a middle-aged man juggles his problems with women, literature, and a career, while a younger man chases the artifact of his dreams. Pittsburgh college professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) is currently single following his divorce from his third wife; after publishing an acclaimed first novel, Grady has been working on a follow-up, but he's been sidelined by a severe case of writer's block. Grady has more than his writing career to think about; his affair with one of the (married) chancellors at the University of Pittsburgh (Frances McDormand), has resulted in her pregnancy, while Hannah (Katie Holmes), a student boarding at Grady's house, has developed a crush on him. While Grady is obsessed with his book, one of his students (Tobey Maguire) has an obsession of his own: finding a jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe.
Michael Douglas reminds us all that despite having been in nothing but tosh for a decade or so, he is still a pretty good actor. He plays Grady, a college professor who's midlife crisis reaches a climax on the weekend his wife leaves him, his editor is in town and his mistress has some big news. Highly enjoyable comedy-drama, with an excellent supporting cast (particularly Tobey Maguire). Not life-changing, but well worth a look.
Grady Tripp: Yeah, James.
James Leer: What are we going to do with... it?
Grady Tripp: I don't know. I'm still trying to figure out how to tell the Chancellor I murdered her husband's dog.
James Leer: You?
Grady Tripp: Trust me, James, when the family pet's been assassinated, the owner doesn't want to hear one of her students was the trigger man.
James Leer: Does she want to hear it was one of her professors?
Grady Tripp: ...I've got tenure.
A great movie about writers. One of Michael Douglas' best movies, and the rest of the cast only helps out as well. A very funny movie that's also very real.
Michael Douglas stars as a professor and writer who has taken 7 years to continue to write his next book. He is also a pot smoker and having an affair with the wife of his boss, played wonderfully by Francis McDormand.
Robert Downey Jr. also stars in one of his great supporting performances as Douglas' gay editor who has great chemistry with Douglas.
Katie Holmes is also here in a role that shows how not annoying she can be when paired with Cruise in real life.
Tobey Maguire is the other main star who shows a dark kind of character much different than the innocence he has as Peter Parker.
Even Rip Torn shows up in a small role as an obnoxious showboat of a writer, who has had more success than Douglas.
The movie's plot is nothing too structured, it mainly revolves around Douglas interacting with these different characters and trying to get his life on track after a certain number of incidents are presented to him.
The movie is just very entertaining to watch, Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential) shows again how he doesn't need to confine himself to a specific genre, he can do all kinds of films. There is a lot of humor throughout, and a good soundtrack as well, including an Oscar winning Bob Dylan song. Good flick.
James Leer: Now, that is a big trunk. It holds a tuba, a suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly.
Grady Tripp: That's just what they used to say in the ads.
Anyway, this is a near-perfect movie that gets tripped up by diminishing returns. The last half of the movie, though still great, isn't nearly as strong as the first half. Other than that, Wonder Boys is both a classy and intelligent comedy, and a movie that can be touching even without manipulative sentimentality. Gold star for Michael Chabon!