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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 31: Being Flynn


Aug 31: Being Flynn

"Working in a Boston homeless shelter, Nick Flynn re-encounters his father, a con man and self-proclaimed poet. Sensing trouble in his own life, Nick wrestles with the notion of reaching out yet again to his dad."
Directed by: Paul Weitz, Rated: R, 102 minutes

Being Flynn is a pretentious piece of crap that tries way too hard to tell some glorious coming of age, daddy-issue filled story. It features two incredibly unlikable characters that you can't sympathize with at all and throws every thing it possibly can at you in order to get that reaction.  It leaves you wondering if Robert De Niro's career is indeed, completely dead at this point, and if the man even has anything left in him. The film is a story about writers, a topic that for some reason has a harder transition to film than others, and the end result is usually genius (Barton Fink, Adaptation) or absolutely awful. Being Flynn falls under the latter category and is honestly a struggle to get through. 

His badass level is completely depleted. 

The movie follows Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) and his life in Boston. After losing his girlfriend and his job, Nick begins working at a homeless shelter, helping to feed and clothe those less fortunate. He falls for a girl named Denise (Olivia Thirbly) and the two seem to hit it off. After eighteen years of not hearing from him, Nick receives a phone call from his his estranged father, John (De Niro), who is a completely unlikable racist who hates black people and homosexuals. John needs some help and Nick picks him up, only to discover that his father just wanted the favor and nothing more. The two part ways soon after. After hard times fall on John, he enters the homeless shelter Nick is working at and the two, in a way, reunite. John reveals to Nick that he' been working on a "masterpiece" and this his novel will be published and he'll be rolling in money. Nick is a struggling writer himself, and as he talks to his dad more and more, he finds inspiration to write poetry. However, his dad doesn't stay around the shelter too long as he's kicked out for acting up (he's a violent son of a gun), and the two again part ways. 

Angry grandpa muscles don't make you likable, Bobby D. 

As I wrote the synopsis above, I began to realize how poorly the film was put together. The story's a mess, combining a rather unsatisfactory "reunion" of father and son with flashbacks to Nick and his mother (Julianne Moore who's just there... because). While the plot isn't complicated or anything of the sort, it's just too all over the place to really be coherent. There's very little substance to the plot and any character development is only seen at the very end of the film, and even then there's not much there. It's ironic that a story about writers would turn out so inconsistent and the screenplay is by far, the weakest part of the film. Robert De Niro does a decent job as John, but like I stated several times, his character is so unlikable you kind of grow to hate him. Sure, he has signs of crazy and he may not be completely right in the head, but it still doesn't excuse a large part of his actions throughout the movie. Paul Dano, who seems to be type-cast as the "self-loathing, whiny writer" just doesn't fit in the film. I loved the guy in Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood but his career is getting too repetitive and annoying for me to really care about. 

His neurotic-ness is turning into a weird combination of sleeze and desperation. 

Being Flynn is not worth the watch, even if it's a movie you catch on TV (for free). It's simply too much of an irritating portrait of characters you could care less about and tells its story in such a chaotic fashion that nothing emotional really sticks. By the film's conclusion, you've lost any interest in what's going on and you're actually hoping that it comes sooner than later. You'd also think that a film like this would at least have a great soundtrack, but not a single song is memorable, which is a shame because all the songs are from Badly Drawn Boy, a great band in its own right. Being Flynn is a skip. There's much better ways to end your summer than sitting in front of the TV and watching this flick. 

The Good:
the fleeting moments of Olivia Thirbly and the charm and sexy she brings to any movie
The Bad:
a story that's packed full of nothing and lacks any real substance to elicit any positive emotional response
The Ugly:
two very unlikable lead characters that seem to continually out-do each other in that department, making it way too easy to not give a damn about them

Overall: 3.5/10


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At August 31, 2012 at 5:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like a movie that had a lot of potential, especially for people like me who are drawn to quirky/crazy family dramas. It's a shame the screenplay was -- judging from your review -- so bloody god-awful.

At August 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

Woah that sounds like a crap but I'm thankful it's not another comedy in De Niro - while he wasn't awful in Meet the Fockers he did some things there I couldn't believe he decided to do, like wearing fake boobs to feed his grandson. I was like...dude, you have 2 Oscars.

At August 31, 2012 at 5:57 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yeah, it was a mess... I can't even say there was much potential.

At August 31, 2012 at 5:58 PM , Blogger Nick said...

He went as crazy as Travis Bickle... just the wrong kind of crazy.


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