Monday, May 23, 2005

how expectations are mismanaged

i just watched "spanglish", a movie starring adam sandler and tea leoni that was killed by the public, and i understand why. this is nowhere near as funny as "billy madison" or "happy gilmore".

but then again, it's not meant to be. this isn't an adam sandler movie.

"what? who? huh? what do you mean? adam sandler's in it. i know who he is! i've seen him on 'saturday night live'. i've seen all of his movies, and he was great in all of them except 'punchdrunk love', which sucked."

okay, here's the deal. actors act. they take the words that are given to them, and they make it flow like seemless dialogue. some actors are funny; some are not. they add something to the script, but they don't create it. they are not the storytellers. they are the props.

directors direct. and, along with the writers, they are the storytellers. it's their point of view and their humor that you watch. and they use the actors to tell that story.

unfortunately, movie companies don't market films correctly because they're not in the business of managing expectations; they're just looking to make a buck. keeping the public entertained and satisfied is a byproduct, but not a necessity. so if they market it as an "adam sandler" movie, of course you're gonna be disappointed.

that's because "spanglish" is a james l. brooks movie.

who? what? huh? well, james l. brooks is a prolific writer and director, he wrote and created "taxi" (the show, not the jimmy fallon debacle), "mary tyler moore" and a small show that you might have heard of called "the simpsons". he also wrote and directed these films, among others: "as good as it gets". "broadcast news". "terms of endearment". and "spanglish", i agree, is not as good as those movies. but it was a nice little james l. brooks movie, and he makes damn good films.

if you want to see an adam sandler movie, pay attention. his writer is named tim herlihy. if he wrote it, you know what you're getting. if he didn't, think differently. actors don't want to do the same thing all the time, and you get that from working with different writers and directors.

(and, by the way, "punchdrunk love" was indeed a terrible tim herlihy movie, but that's because it was a great paul thomas anderson film. and if you haven't seen "boogie nights" or "magnolia" or "hard eight", then you're missing out on an amazing storyteller).

i guess what i'm saying is that manage your own expectations, and you'll know what you're getting into.

and watch a bunch of james l. brooks films. you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what? magnolia sucked. and so does sandler. he's a one-trick pony. with a broken ankle. time for the glue-factory, adam.