13 July 2010

What Movies Would You Rewrite

One of my favorite movies is Something's Gotta Give. But it's one of my favorites in spite of itself.

I love Diane Keaton's character, Erica Barry. She's a writer, plays specifically. She owns a beautiful secluded beach house. She listens to French music as she writes alone in her home. Her daughter is grown, happy (ish) and self-sufficient. Erica is happy with her life exactly the way it is and it radiates from her face and her white turtle neck sweaters. A handsome, much younger (easily twenty years) man is drawn to her confident, peaceful energy and pursues her. She's a great character. It's a great movie, EXCEPT for the Jack Nicholson fly in the Cabernet sauvignon.

It isn't actually Jack that I am opposed to, but the asshole character he plays: Harry Sanborn.

I am not ageist. It isn't Harry's age (63) that disturbs my movie peace here. This man is simply an ass. From the first moment he appears. And even though he has one act that could possibly be construed as redeeming near the end, it just isn't enough to make up for all that leads up to that. And for who we know this man really is at his core. An ass.

I'm the kind of person who watches her favorite movies over and over again. Proudly: Cannery Row. Out of Africa. Full Monty. Julie and Julia. The Family Stone. Pride and Prejudice. Big. Chocolat. Miss Potter. Cold Mountain. Ocean's Eleven. That Thing You Do. The list continues...

So I've seen Something's Gotta Give probably two dozen times over the years. And every time, I wish it would go differently than it does.

I'd say that it's the ending I'd change but this feeling comes over me much sooner than the end. This younger man, Dr. Julian Mercer (played by Keanu Reeves) is the man in this movie. The man who appreciates who Erica is, what's important to her. Who clearly sees her amazing inner and outer beauty. He is handsome and attentive. He feels lucky to be with her, for the far too few scenes that he is actually with her. This type of male portrayal in movies today is far and away the exception. (Although Stanley Tucci as Paul Child in Julie and Julia is another rare example.)

Now before you accuse me of just preferring the prettier packaging that Keanu Reeves brings to the table, I'll tell you Keanu is not my type physically. He's too clean cut for me and there's something so intense in his gaze that I don't think I could look him straight in the eyes for more than a second, if he did happened to be standing here before me. But you know, I'd give it my best shot. I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings or anything.

But instead the writers of this movie put her with the schmuck, asshole, bastard character because we are supposed to believe that he's changed. As if that EVER happens.

In my version of this movie, Erica writes the play that is based on Harry and his bad behaviour. She makes millions of dollars on ticket sales. She has an amazing magical relationship with Julian (who lives a few doors down from her beach house), Harry shows up in Paris for her birthday and attempts to win her back but fails. Because frankly, Harry you had your chance and you were too stupid to see what a great thing you had. Sorry. Erica and Julian go back to their suite overlooking the lights of a snowy Paris night, and have crazy, "Harry who?" sex all night long.

The End....closing credits roll.

Honorable mention: I also I love Frances McDormand as her sister, Zoe. I think she's incredibly sexy in each of her scenes and wish she had more.

I would also change the movie Cold Mountain but that's another blog post.