Article by James
I’m actually a bit nervous for Cameron Crowe, successful director of 1996’s Jerry Maguire and 2000’s, Almost Famous. Both great films that earned Crowe a lot of praise throughout industry and box office. But after the mildly successful 2001’s American remake Vanilla Sky (some would say what audience it did pull in was because of Tom Cruise), there was a four year absence from directing. He returned with 2005’s snorefest, Elizabethtown. If you didn’t see it, it’s ok. Not many bothered. And for those that wasted our time, we’ll never get it back… Let’s move on.
Crowe successfully produced and wrote/co-wrote some of those films as well, and has been quiet on all fronts until now. 2011 sees the release of two documentaries, The Union and also Pearl Jam Twenty (about guess who?). 2011 will also see the release of his first feature film in six years. On Boxing Day in Oz, We Bought a Zoo is released. The movie is about a father who moves his young family to the country to renovate and re-open a zoo. Well, not exactly earth-shattering stuff, but Jerry Maguire doesn’t look so exciting on paper, and it turned out to be an amazing film. Crowe has had a way of bringing out something special in his actors. And, he can write a decent script, often creating cinematic gold. But that was over a decade ago.
We Bought a Zoo stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson in the leads, which is why I’m concerned. Damon has been churning out the films in the last few years since the hugely successful Bourne trilogy. He has presented some great performances too with Clint Eastwood’s flawed Hereafter, naturally True Grit, and the surprisingly cool The Adjustment Bureau. I haven’t seen Contagion yet, but by all accounts it looks like it’s going to be pretty good. And what a cast! But ScarJo????
I’m afraid I think she’s extremely over-rated. She’s hot, but she is supposed to be able to a-c-t. Ok, Lost in Translation was inspired, but don’t you agree that is owed to Bill Murray and director Sofia Coppola? There have been a few mildly good performances but nothing great. And then there is the shite, like 2005’s abysmal The Island. I actually liked Match Point, The Black Dahlia, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Spirit, all of which she was involved. But they were all reliant on others. She didn’t really have to act. When she is ok, she’s basically a living blow-up doll, and when she is “acting” she’s a mess. If the movie is good, it’s usually because she is disguised by a larger role. Someone else’s.
It’s also interesting that We Bought a Zoo will be her first role since 2010’s disappointing Iron Man 2, where she played Black Widow. Next year will also see her resume that role in The Avengers. But she has managed to keep herself in the limelight with divorcing Ryan Reynolds, a week later jumping on Sean Penn for 4 months then being spectacularly dumped, and now is photographed clinging to one of those ugly Culkin brothers. Any spare time has been taken up with ‘those’ ads with Moet. You know the ones? She must have been proud holding those over-sized bottles, as she “pops their cork” and the fluid gushes out. It’s not cheeky; it’s ridiculous and embarrassing. I actually felt embarrassed for her when I saw those ads. Furthermore, let’s not even mention the new “leaked” naked pics…
So Mr Crowe, you are taking a fairly sizeable risk on this one. Let’s hope she doesn’t talk much.