An Afternoon At The Movies

We are visiting the Dallas area for the Thanksgiving holiday and a wedding and took time to go see Stranger Than Fiction. Availability of descriptive video as much as the film itself dictated the choice. It came down to a choice between Fast Food Nation (no descriptions) or the movie we ended up seeing. Having read Fast Food Nation a couple years ago and the desire to see a described movie, we settled on Stranger Than Fiction.
Whether it is the direction of the thumb (up or down), number of stars or some other rating system, we all tend to have our ways of judging movies. For me I suppose my quick and dirty way of ranking a movie is the number of times I check my watch during the film. The really good ones will get a zero, films that capture my attention a one or two and anything beyond a five is likely not worth the trouble.
I doubt my system will get adopted by any film studio. Something tells me that putting a tag in a movie ad of “zero watch checks” according to Kelly Ford just isn’t a selling point. Still my rating system works for me.
Stranger than Fiction was by no means a great movie. With two watch checks, it was still a reasonable way to spend an afternoon at the movies.
the basic plot of the movie is pretty straight forward. Harold Crick’s been living a very uneventful and repetitious life. We are told for example that Crick brushes his teeth 76 times each morning.
How Crick’s life is explained to us starts to show the movie’s main twist. We quickly learn that the narrator telling us about Crick’s life is an author writing a book in which a character by the name of Harold Crick appears. Of course Crick hears this narrator too and the movie starts down the path of Crick trying to figure out what’s up. Things quickly escalate when Crick learns that the character in the novel is going to be killed. Of course this means the real living Crick too will quicly be a dead man.
Fiction is just that, fantasy. So as long as you are willing to suspend belief and accept the basic premise of the story and go with the flow, the story is told well.
I found a college professor played by Dustin Hoffman particularly entertaining. There was something amusing about his straight-laced delivery to Crick telling him, Crick, that he must die to make one of the best literary works ever come to fruition. Hoffman’s one of those actors that does a great job of letting his voice fit the role of the characters he’s playing.
Coming in at two watch checks, Stranger Than Fiction is a film I’d recommend. It isn’t a must see in the theater but is worth putting on your Netflix queue.

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