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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Curious Case of "Benjamin Button"

What's curious is not that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has garnered 13 Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.  No, what's curious is that David Fincher, who directed Zodiac, among other exceptional movies, is responsible for this movie, which struck me exactly as Forrest Gump meets Titanic.  With those kind of parents, it's no surprise that the Academy has broken out the laurels.  It's also little surprise that the movie is, in my view, dreck.  It's the longest three-hour movie I ever sat through.   

Posted by Paul Horwitz on January 22, 2009 at 10:26 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Button was the best film made in the last few years. The cinematagraphy was breathtaking, the script impressive, the direction impecible, and the acting performances memorable. I seriously question the judgment of anyone that would honestly compare it to two inferior films the likes of Forrest Gump and Titanic.

Posted by: T.J. | Jan 28, 2009 8:45:00 AM

Or as Stephen Colbert put it, the thirteen Oscar nominations finally prove it, Americans really are in favor of torture.

Posted by: Jim Green | Jan 28, 2009 7:21:11 AM

Weel, for me the explanation of the time reversal starts with the wish the clock maker had, of reversing time so his son doesn´t die during the war. This wish was evident when he finished the clock and it started to run backwards. That coincides with the born of Benjamin, at the end of the war, who is for me, the reencairnation of the clock maker son, who satisfies his prior father wish.

Posted by: David Mendez | Jan 28, 2009 12:44:39 AM

This movie was good, but I don't know that it deserved the slew of Oscar nominations it received.

Posted by: Pinky | Jan 27, 2009 4:44:53 PM

Well, BB's screenplay was by Eric Roth, who also penned Forrest Gump. And here's a video comparison of the two:


And I agree with you. David Fincher is one of my favorite directors. Se7en, Fight Club, and Zodiac are among my favorite movies. The Game isn't far behind, and both Alien 3 and Fight Club are pretty good popcorn movies. But BB just really left me feeling underwhelmed.

I hope that Fincher can get his Eliot Ness movie off the ground and return to form.

Posted by: Evidence ProfBlogger | Jan 23, 2009 6:33:27 PM

Paul, I echo anon in saying that your review could've been pulled directly from my brain after I watched this movie. I pulled out my phone to check the time about an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie, then sighed when I realized it wasn't yet halfway over. It was kind of touching in parts, but the thing that really bothered me about it was that every other line spoken by one of the characters seemed like it was intended to be a classic movie quote. No one I know speaks in trite little proverbs.

Posted by: Paul Washington | Jan 23, 2009 12:20:09 PM

David Edelstein on NPR had one of the most devastating quips about Button. I'm paraphrasing, but it was roughly, "This is a movie about the fleetingness of life that runs more than 2 hours and forty minutes. So that's a problem."

Posted by: BDG | Jan 23, 2009 9:00:25 AM

I have never agreed with a movie review as much as I agree with this one. It was nothing more than the combination of those two movies, except that it rested on an absolutely ridiculous premise. Forrest Gump has lots of remarkable things happening, but nothing altogether impossible. You can imagine each event, even though not all are likely to happen to the same person.

Benjamin Button doesn't even get off the ground. What is the explanation for the reverse aging phenomenon? A clock maker? Really?! Better to just blame it on Hogwarts. At least "magic" has some credibility.

Posted by: anon | Jan 22, 2009 11:05:07 AM

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