For everyone, Jodie and I are doing tandem movie reviews, as we do for our Facebook page Dear Rocky Dear Jodie: The Actor and the Psychologist At the Movies. We hope you enjoy them, find them provocative. Whether you agree with us, or disagree please comment! We welcome all comments. Thank you, Arlee Bird and everyone who does such a magnificent job with this challenge!!!
I know you know this already, but please let me offer a definition for the word "hilarious." This comes from Merriam-Webster online.
"Hilarious: marked by or causing hilarity: extremely funny. "
Here's one from The Free Dictionary: "Hilarious: Characterized by or causing great merriment."
One of the movies I've been wanting to see this award season is "August: Osage County." It opened across the US today, but, being a longtime member of the Screen Actor's Guild, I received a screener DVD copy in the mail. After my writing was done for the day, I put the movie on; wanting it to put a smile on my face, because the very first word I saw on the cover of the DVD screener copy was "Hilarious." I read a couple of reviews that said the same thing.
The description you will read on the Rotten Tomatoes website begins . . . "AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family. . ."
The one thing I agree with these critics was that it was an excellent movie. The performances were amazing. The movie went right to my heart, because, with variations, it was about my own family.
A number of critics saw the movie as a "hilarious" comedy.
I did not.
Oh, I laughed in a number of places. Comedies should always have elements of drama and dramas should always have elements of comedy.
It bothered me that New York and LA critics saw the movie as "hilarious" and that the producers chose to put that description on the cover of the screener.
This is a movie about drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide, infidelity, incest, and potential child molestation, and critics and producers alike thought it "hilarious." That bothers the shit out of me. These topics to me are not "extremely funny." These topics do not cause "great merriment."
The movie was amazing. I'll be thinking about it for a long time. Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and others give brilliant performances. "Hilarious?" Really?
I'd be willing to bet that had these dysfunctional families been from California or New York, the "hilarious" would have been changed to "poignant" or "profound" or "important." Maybe "tragic?" Do critics and producers think these issues are hilarious because they take place in the plains of Oklahoma … the state just north of my home state of Texas? Or because it takes place in the South? Or anywhere in "Hicksville" outside of New York or LA?
I reckon so.
Sometimes I believe that the New York and LA crowd of critics and movie producers laugh at the rest of the country, particularly those of us south of the Mason/Dixon line.
I have many friends in both areas of the country who in no way subscribe to what I just laid out, or in no way would support such an attitude. I am only referring to movie critics, producers, and publicity departments.
There are a number of words I would use to describe AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, many of them in support of a wonderfully creative effort. "Hilarious" would never be on that list.
Check out Jodie's take here!