Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MOVIE: "Morning Glory"


I couldn't wait to see MORNING GLORY which promised a charming cast in a sweetly comic plot-- or so I thought. There's Rachel McAdams as the sprightly young morning TV show producer chock full of earnestness who has been hired to breathe life into a dead dog of a morning newscast. The warring anchors are a prima donna (Diane Keaton), and a really "hard" newsman (Harrison Ford) who's out of work but nonetheless looks down his long row of Peabody Awards in disgust at the shallow depths in which morning news regularly wallows. In one awkward cameo appearance by Morley Safer, Bob Schieffer,and Chris Matthews, it's clear he only lunches with the big guys. And now I'm starting to get the picture: we're supposed to think he's the BAD guy, turning up his nose at cooking demonstrations and cute little animal segments, while our GOOD girl producer is simply trying to get him to lower his standards and loosen up for goodness sake. The climactic moment comes when he, to win her over, spontaneously makes a fritatta on live TV. I had a tear in my eye.
I think I'm going to be sick. Remember BROADCAST NEWS when the roles were reversed and we were cheering for Holly Hunter as the spunky executive producer, holding the line against the encroaching blandishments of infotainment in the form of a pretty boy anchorman (William Hurt)? At least we knew what and whom to root for, even if it was hard. Those characters were complicated.

Here Harrison Ford's overacting makes him and all those silly journalistic principles he represents--seriousness, relevance-- seem stodgy and inhuman, as though only a bloated egotist could have such standards. The film throws him a bone at the end in the form of a breaking news story that he sniffs out--when and how we never know-- so I wasn't buying it. And how are we supposed to root for a heroine who repeatedly insists that her anchorman comport himself like an idiot on camera? And she never recognizes the importance of the news story he breaks until after it gets headlines, and then, only because it's good for the ratings.

And what of the glorious Diane Keaton? She's left howling and ranting and preening. What a waste. And McAdams' love interest, the attractive Patrick Wilson? He's merely a prop for her to run from, usually in her underwear.

MORNING GLORY is a clueless ode to fallen standards everywhere; there is no glory, and it left me in mourning.

6 comments:

  1. Agreed. I thought the movie was OK as was, but it coulda been so much more. Lots of wasted talent and possibilities in exchange for single-note cliches. I often wonder how good actors get into projects like this -- maybe the script looked OK and the film didn't come together in editing? Maybe just the $$? :)

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  2. Joyce, ya can't hold back, don't keep it inside.

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  3. Hi Dave-- You are correct on all counts-- money is part of it certainly,and the talent involved sometimes causes other talent to jump in, though I can't imagine how Harrison Ford read this and thought it was anything but wrong on all counts.
    Maybe the script changed from initial concept to execution. Maybe they're just not as smart as we are or have no taste! This one is baffling. Rachel McAdams smile--adorable as it is--can't erase the wrong-headedness of the concept from the get go. Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Thank you for saving us the ticket price. When you and Manohla Dargis both pan a movie, I'm saving my ticket and raisinette money for something else.

    Speaking of something else, Joyce, do you take requests? I would love to read your take of Today's Special by a friend of ours from the Daily Show. It's an indie flick that opens locally tomorrow.

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  5. S.R.: Can you get me a screener? I'd be happy to watch and comment! My e-mail: Joycekulhawik@verizon.net
    and I'll let you know where you can mail it.

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  6. You guys are all no fun. It was nice little movie. If you have worked in TV and watch morning television it is not that far off the mark!

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