The Man from Elysian Fields Reviews
summary: A struggling novelist hits what he thinks is rock bottom in his career/mid-life crisis. An alternative arises not out of compassionate jealousy (or the 'set up my husband company/agencies' out there) but out of stupidity comes a choice. This story unravel the nature of getting what you want using a love/sex/collegue relationship compromising monogamy.
Curiously, the thing which bothers me most about this flat little work is that they make such a fuss about Pasadena and then get vast amounts of the geography all wrong. For one, no one in Pasadena who really loves to read would ever bother with a Barnes & Noble. They probably have book signings there, but the place in Pasadena for that is Vroman's, on Colorado Boulevard. I saw Sue Grafton, Madeleine L'Engle, and Anne Rice there. My mother saw Walter Cronkite, Ken Burns, Jimmy Carter, and many others. (Including Sue Grafton and Anne Rice!) Honestly, I don't even know where a Barnes & Noble is in Pasadena. There was a bookstore of some sort in the mall, but I understand the mall isn't there anymore. Maybe there's one nearer Old Town, which does get a brief appearance. However, most of the really distinctive buildings shown are in Los Angeles, so what's the point of making Pasadena a Thing?
That fine actor, Andy Garcia, plays Byron Tiller, one of those guys who had one book sell and felt he could quit his job and make a living at writing. Except his one book ends up in the remainder bin, of course. His wife is working at a record store while he writes his next book, which the publisher won't even accept because who reads that crap? One day, he meets Luther Fox (Mick Jagger). Luther runs Elysian Fields, a high-end male escort service for bored and wealthy wives. Byron tells his wife, Dena (Juliana Margulies), that he is meeting with the Book of the Month Club to consider making his book, which he has not told her hasn't sold, a selection. Instead, he is meeting with Andrea Alcott (Olivia Williams), wife of Tobias (James Coburn), who has won three Pulitzers and whom Byron studied in college. Tobias Alcott is sanguine about his wife's affair and in fact asks Byron to read his new book, hoping for an honest opinion. And honestly, it's terrible. But Byron has this idea . . . .
The thing is, all these people feel like paper dolls. Andrea is described at least twice as having the face of an angel, and that appears to be what she's for. She's there to be pretty and provide a link between Byron and Tobias. She's also there because it's important that Byron be treated as a whore, which in fact he is. Dena is there to be the Good Woman Betrayed. The first night Byron spends with the Alcotts, I'm not even sure what story they told Dena. He was just sitting at their breakfast table the next morning. By the time Dena has had enough, he's spending pretty much all his time with them and none at home. There is also Nigel (Michael Des Barres), there to be a mirror in which Byron does not want to see himself. And, you know, man-whore Mick Jagger sleeping with inexplicable Anjelica Huston. I think she's supposed to be there to add depth to his character, or maybe to make the life Byron loses seem so much better. It doesn't work for me.
I do think it was filmed well, honestly, which just made it all the more disappointing. I can't ever live there again, but Pasadena does have some charming places in part left over from the colonial days. Of course, a lot of the things shown here were actually Los Angeles proper, but they still do film it to good effect. Los Angeles is the dream, but Los Angeles is also the land of loneliness. It's really big. Spread out. Even just Pasadena keeps on going. Los Angeles is full of places we go through. My mom's house is miles from my old high school, and while I know approximately what's between them, a lot of the neighbourhoods are places to go through on the bus. And, yes, Los Angeles is a town of secrets, but it's because there are so many places to hide them. Byron (and ye Gods, there's a bit of a pretentious name) uses a phone in front of the old Tower Records building, many miles from home. Ambassador Auditorium isn't very far from Old Town--just a couple of blocks. But there's still a sense of distance which the filming helps explore.
Once again, we have hit one of those movies with a wasted cast. Fortunately, it wasn't James Coburn's final movie, though I haven't seen the movie which actually was. But for all my teasing (which is based on a one-off reference on KROQ in the early '90s), Andy Garcia actually is a fine actor. Juliana Margulies hasn't done a huge amount worth watching, but she's not a bad actress. Mick Jagger . . . well, is Mick Jagger. Olivia Williams is beautiful and charming. And honestly, I think you could do a really great movie out of the feeling of isolation these people have. There's also an interesting movie in the idea that writers are, in the end, selling themselves no less than the "escorts" Byron ends up becoming. However, Pasadena is just a stage, and the people in it are merely shadows. The writing parts of it don't ring true. Somehow, the two men working together produce the Greatest Work of All Time--even though it sounds a great deal like the one Byron's publisher rejects at the beginning.
his client is a wife of an old, dying and awarded writer. soon he becomes cooperation with both of them in different ways. but he stays just a hooker, a hired hand for both of them.
all the characters are carefully written. byron, the writer, can't make up his mind, he is just delaying pain of being treated as an object, being poor or both. his wife is not clueless as wives of infidel husbands usually are, she is confident enough to leave him, and she knows she has every right. his employer has wisdom of a man who wanted everything the easy way, and who realized there is no easy way. the old writer is being sentimental, sad, vane and wise like an old fart should be. and his wife is understanding, but selfish. the dialogues are smart and educated, so it makes it a grown-up movie.
the problem is in the second half, when the pace slows down showing there is no real solution, so the (happy) ending is being cooked to long, with a huge downfall in between. and it all looks like some wise ass preaching.
but if you want an intelligent movie about human choices and some kind of predestination, you can look at this one.
there is no suspense and action like in american gigolo, just people and their life choices and lessons. and moral standings are about the same.
There is a saying that might perhaps be one of the themes of this interesting passionate character study: "Never love a woman who loves you unconditionally." I think is how it goes?!
However, I won't spoil the surprise.
My fellow movie viewers' reviews are "on spot" except for the commentary I read about Andy Garcia. Andy Garcia has the face of a beloved puppy dog and your dearest friend or long lost love to my mind and watching him perform in this believable role where he "performs" to survive, we all were given a glimpse at what integrity means.
Okay, yeah I'm older than I look (especially in this photo!) Let me share a personal experience? Both my brother and sister (Geminis) could never stand to remain in the room (or theater) when watching a violent, or otherwise horrifically uncormfortable movie.
Tiller loved his wife and had just as much passion for his writing. He became numb. Garcia is a man full of raw power, charisma, even vigor but with the face of a hound dog (except even more lovely)...those eyes. He can speak volumes without one word.
What happens to good people when they are forced to feed their family? Watch this and find out... we all might go there.
Rolling Stones lead singer, Mick Jagger, is the Man from Fields. I won't go into the title of the movie.... you will understand when you watch the first half hour.
Well acted in every respect, Jagger is very good as is the main character.
In the first scene, you see the lead character, a down and out writer, in a bookstore seeing that his novel is in the bargain bin. A customer picks it up and notices his picture on the back cover..... the writer signs it for her.... then he leaves the store.... watch what she does with the book!
Watch this one if you like deep thoughts, although what the writer does is rather unbelievable (he has to perform, for his money, some unlikely things).
Two fingers way up on this one. Agree?