Friday , September 18 2020

21 Grams

Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga to director Alejandro González Iñárritu:

    I have an idea: let’s make a relentlessly grim, gray movie with lots of joyless mechanistic substance abuse (nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, religion) about the lives of a weak woman (Naomi Watts) who loses her husband and two young daughters to a hit-and-run car accident committed by a reformed ne’er-do-well (Benicio Del Toro); and the dispirited dying man (Sean Penn) who receives the heart of the dead husband in a transplant, rejects his wife and stalks the despondent widow, who in turn decides that Del Toro – who had turned himself in for the crime only to be set free due to lack of eyewitnesses and contradictory evidence – needs to be killed for his crime and importunes Penn to do same.

    And we’ll tell the tale in cut-up, back-and-forth in time, threads-coming-together-in-an-explosive-climax style, only we’ll make sure that no one invests emotionally in our characters so they really don’t give a shit about the way we cleverly tie the plot points together at the end because they are sick of the whole thing long before then anyway.

    Come on – it’ll be fun!

My wife once again entered the video store, saw the words “Academy Award nomination” (Watts for best actress, Del Toro for best supporting actor, who were both, indeed, outstanding), went into a trance, rented the DVD, foisted it upon an unsuspecting household, then said, “I give up, you pick out the movies from now on,” about 3/4 of the way through this turgid, 2-hour slog through utterly humorless bleakness.

Okay, I did care to a certain extent about the Del Toro character, who was a decent guy attempting to do the right thing and live the right way with the full force of callous fate tossed in his careworn, haunted face; but I really just wanted it all to go away, which it eventually did.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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