November 11 - 17, 2005 • Vol. 26 - No. 45

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Elizabethtown—A Different Kind of Love Story
by The Maven and The Blonde
Film Columnists

Drew Baylor is a rising star at an athletic shoe company. His multimillion ($972 to be exact) athletic shoe design has failed in a MAJOR way. On the day that he is fired, his girlfriend turns away from him. To top off this monumentally bad day, Drew's sister calls to inform him that their father passed away while visiting family in Kentucky. While sis has to hold mom’s hand at home, Drew must now go to Elizabethtown, Kentucky to retrieve dad for his cremation.
Playing the role of the handsome but flawed Drew is Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean). On the red eye flight to Kentucky, Drew meets an eternally positive woman who changes the course of his life forever. Of course, he doesn't know that yet! Kirsten Dunst (Wimbledon and Spider-Man) plays the perky, intelligent, spontaneous Claire Colburn.
Drew arrives in Elizabethtown and realizes that almost everyone in the town knew his dad. Apparently, to know Mitch Baylor was to love Mitch Baylor. Drew gets to know his dad through all the people he meets. Meanwhile, after an all night talk fest on their cell phones, Drew and Claire decide to meet up. Through Claire, he learns that his business failure does not define who he is.
Now we fast forward to Mitch's memorial service. Try to picture Susan Sarandon (Shall We Dance and Dead Man Walking), as Hollie, (Drew's mom) tap dancing to “Moon River.” Then picture a band similar to Lynnard Skynnard performing “Freebird” while a white bird on fire soars across the room.  
Cameron Crowe always seems to blend good music into his films. Look at Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire. In a recent interview, Crowe said that he listens to the music while writing the scripts. Sometimes the music influences the scene, as was the case in this film on his road trip.
Elizabethtown does seem to ramble on occasionally, but it has sweet aspirations and needs some rambling to get where it is going.

The Blonde: This film surprised me. The previews absolutely mislead you! It really is such a unique story! Elizabethtown was like Once Around meets Home for the Holidays meets The Majestic meets no other movie! If you think your family is odd or small townish, then this film will be a relief for you! Elizabethtown WILL take you on a journey… literally. This film is a journey of emotions; emotions of love, death, compassion, understanding and realization. Although there are many stars in the film, you will mostly focus on Orlando (Drew) and Kirsten (Claire). This was a great opportunity for these two young actors to really shine, and shine they do. The funny thing about Elizabethtown is it started out slow and, honestly, I was bored. Then, it got better and better and better with the best ending to a film I have seen in years. It will eventually grab hold of you, but I warn you, be patient, for it does evolve into quite an endearing tale!

The Maven: I am quite relieved to see Orlando star in a movie as just a regular guy. Usually, he is a swashbuckling pirate, a knight or an elf. Finally, he got a role that requires him to actually act! I've read some critics reviews that say his performance is dead and boring. I say it's DEAD ON! Here is this wunderkind who has failed dramatically and publicly and is dealing with the loss of his job, girlfriend and now father. How should he play this role? Like Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura? We see his character, Drew, come out of his numb-like state as the film moves along. Orlando does a wonderful job as this contemporary guy getting to know his dad through the feelings other people had for him. You see the transformation of Drew while he is connecting to Elizabethtown, which reconnects him to his dad. Pretty good acting as far as I'm concerned.

The Blonde: Sometime critics need to be hit on the head because they don't understand subtle. There are many flashbacks written into this story, so you really need to pay attention. These flashbacks brilliantly enhanced the story and made you understand and feel why and how the characters react as they do. One of the best parts of this movie for me was that it was spiritually intelligent and sensitive! This film has some profound great movie quotes that I MUST share with you!

The Maven: OH, MUST YOU?

Story continued on bottom

The Blonde: YES, even YOU WILL LIKE THEM!  Here goes: "This loss will be met by a hurricane of love," "I will miss your lips and everything attached to them," "To fall BIG and have the courage to stick around, that's greatness," "If it wasn't this, it would be something else," "Sadness is easier because it is surrender," "It takes time to extract joy from life" and "I want to get into the deep blue melancholy of everything that's happened"! So good!

The Maven: While this may not be Cameron Crowe's best picture, it is semi-autobiographical. Maybe, some of those quotes were too. Cameron's father was from Kentucky and, when he died, Cameron returned to his father's family and learned more about his dad than he had ever known before. He traveled the area in a tour bus (similar to road trip in film). Fourteen years later, he finished the screenplay and immediately thought of Orlando for the role of Drew.

The Blonde: This movie proves, once again, that there are NO small parts, just small actors. Susan had a nothing part, yet she stole the screen whenever her face glowed onto it. The character Chuck, who played the groom-to-be, made every moment in front of the camera shine! Not only do I simply love Kirsten's political views, but she was radiant in this role. Men dream of a girl like Claire! Orlando's performance, despite what other critics have stated, was fabulous. I wholeheartedly agree with Mav about this. He was wonderful and true to the emotions of his character or like any one of us would be in his shoes! The viewer feels and literally experiences everything his character is going through. By the way, I must commend Susan for being way ahead of her time (i.e. Demi Moore and Ashton) on the older woman/younger man thing!

The Maven: Let us not forget that Goldie did it long ago, even BEFORE Susan. That leaves hope for even you, Blonde, to hang with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliff)!

The Blonde: Maven, THAT IS SICK! And besides, I have my eyes on actor/singer Jessie McCartney! Hey Maven, when I go, please make sure MY funeral is a party with music, laughter and drinking. I love how this film celebrated the father's life and not the death, making it a celebration rather than a time of sorrow.

The Maven: Don't worry! Your death WILL BE a celebration! Especially to any of your exes who had to pay alimony!

The Maven: Well, they'll still be happy!


The Maven: Good thinking???? Back to the film, I think what I liked most about this film were the family scenes in Kentucky. Ya know those get-togethers where you're meeting familiar strangers? The house is always crowded, the kids are always loud, and the food is always good!

The Blonde: Yeah, but that just sounds like your house on any given day! Anyway, what is up with Jennifer and Vince? It is SO obvious that he’s her rebound guy after Brad!

The Maven: First of all, how do you know that? Second of all, if it is, than it's not a bad rebound!!! Speaking of rebound, Kim Cattrall (from “Sex and the City”) has a new book out called “Sexual Intelligence”! Have you seen it?

The Blonde: Seen it? Give me a break! I just about wrote the thing! She called me daily while she was so called writing it! I was her personal bevy of info!  I was her major resource! I was her guru, her teacher, her mentor, her…

The Maven: AH HA! ENOUGH! We get the point! Then why weren't YOU on the cover naked with her, too?

The Blonde: Professional jealousy! AND EXACTLY whose body do you think they superimposed her head onto?

The Maven: HERS!

The Blonde: You are so NAÏVE!

The Maven: On that note of "blonde delusionment," this film is ultimately about people. The situations are contrived but sincere. I think Cameron writes about moments; not on the large scale, but those moment that make up your life. Whether you turn left, right or go straight ahead, he wants you to LIVE the moment! It's even better with good music. I rate this film a B for the best memorial service I ever saw.

The Blonde: Most interesting was that I went through so many levels of emotions watching this film, ranging from boredom to being totally charmed. My final conclusion indeed was that this is a wonderful film. I rate Elizabethtown a B+! For your movie snacks, try some Lifesaver Candy, as Claire was truly a lifesaver!

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