We get older. We learn and develop. We try, we fail, we try again. Our successes spring from lessons learned. Eventually, we find a very personal equilibrium between risk vs. reward. If one observes and accounts for life's early attempts to communicate with the wider world, one can trace the path that led to here, now. So when I see that you began your career with works like New Year's Evil and [Killer Klowns from Outer Space]2,it's perfectly obvious that…wait, what? Really? _This? Comfort food for retirees?
And So It Goes does not belong in that previous life of yours. Written by Mark Andrus*, it documents the attempts of an aged Michael Douglas to find the sort of equilibrium I referred to above. A cantankerous grump, he is forced to reevaluate his life choices and priorities when his ne'er-do-well son appears out of the blue and asks him to take care of a granddaughter he didn't' know while he serves his prison sentence. Of course, his sympathetic lady neighbor gets involved. Of course she's played by Dian Keaton…and so it goes, really. You know the story before you've even seen it. Klowns may have packed all its originality into its title, but in this, your latest film, the plot, characters, and jokes are already buried in the brain of anyone over the age of eight (and if you are that young, please close this page, because this is not an appropriate site for you, at all). For the intended audience of 60+, this is all very, very familiar territory.
But just because it's unoriginal doesn't mean that it's bad. It is proven repeatedly that any familiar story is worth doing again if it's done well. All the necessary pieces are here, and the zeitgeisty marketing strategy of appealing to a swelling** population of late-stage Viagra romantics offers some interesting possibilities. But they don't really come together. Everyone seems to be playing it way too safe, perhaps because of the risks inherent in producing and distributing with such a small studio. I'm suspicious of Andrus and Reiner, though. There are some nice moments of emotional connections, and some clever--even edgy--dialogue. Frances Sternhagen gets some of the best lines, which makes me think that, for the main cast and the main plotline, the moviemakers were pulling their punches.
So how did you get involved in this saccharine disappointment? Klowns was much more fun and clever and enjoyable than it should have been. You've seen people weave cotton candy and potato peels into gold! Have you strayed from your early path? What am I missing…?
Well, perhaps I'm still right. It's all part of a larger, circular arc. You can't see the whole picture by looking at one piece. There are myriad different ways to give up and cash in.
Going, going, gone.
*Andrus seems to specialize in multi-monosyllable movie titles that are hard to remember and have almost nothing to do with their movies, like As Good As It Gets and Life As A House. Did they come out of a title generator? How about Good Like It's Life? Or Go to the Room? In either, a _____ man overcomes a hurtful loss with the help of _____ family member, his_____ ___, and some __ neighbors. Your options are: old, minority, love interest, artistic, cantankerous, emotional, quirky.
**Yeah, in numbers, thank you very much. *