In THE MAJESTIC, Jim Carrey stretches his talents and proves that he can be a credible serious actor with his portrayal of Peter Appleton, a Hollywood B-movie screenwriter who is black listed during the McCarthy era.
(c) 2001 Warner Bros. Pictures (c) 2001 Castle Rock Entertainment (c) 2001 Village Roadshow Pictures
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OK this isn't exactly the most original idea ever and the whole thing feels a bit like an extended 'Twilight Zone' episode (one of the more sensible ones), but this truly is a beautiful film with the kind of performances that are guaranteed to make you smile. A simple tale set in the 50's, a young man is accused of being a Communist and his life is turned upside down. One night he gets slightly drunk and drives his car off a bridge accidentally and ends up almost drowning. He gets washed up on the shores of a small town where he is believed to be a WWII soldier killed years before. This is complete and utter American pie through n through and I mean that in the best way possible. Generally things like this can be quite sickening with all the Stars n Stripes patriotism and this does have that, truth be told this actually has more treacly gooey hanky moments than you can shake a stick at. There is also the element of the all American Communist 'witch hunts' which is the whole plot beneath the surface. Its only kinda touched on really but its played out in a typically heroic way for the main character in the end. You think he will submit to the government, a government of so called democracy, but he fights for truth and justice and the American way. Yes the finale is a bit too vomit inducing for us non Americans. What works for me is the pure visual spectale of the film with the typically quaint white building built US town set amongst the glorious Californian woodlands on the pacific coast. In short this film looks stunning, its made to look extremely whimsical of course but it works. The era makes this work even better as the sight of old classic US cars cruising around, small diners, the smart fashions, jazz/big band music etc...give the film a very homely taste that I think anyone (more so adults probably) can enjoy. The cast is another reason to like this film, how can you not enjoy seeing Martin Landau in a brilliantly moving role. I loved 'Ed Wood' and this yet another portrayal of angst and heartbreak but even stronger than before. Gerry Black also gives us a lovely performance for the old caretaker of the Majestic, his gravelly raspy voice draws you in whilst his cheeky grin is heartwarming. James Whitmore has a small role but he sure fits in well, performance is perfect as is his costume and character design, looks good with the pipe. To be honest all the main roles are played well by a host of solid actors, many I have seen before and merely know by face, reliable character actors. Then we have Mr Carrey, to be honest a brave move as before this he was known only for his comedies. This doesn't mean he was the right choice of course hehe, in my opinion he can't quite handle the kind of serious emotion involved here (at least at this period in his career) and you can see it. A case of being type cast for over the top crazy ass characters or idiots, due to this you keep half expecting him to do something or say something daft. Carrey never really looks too comfortable in this film surrounded by proper quality character actors, he was yet to break away from his over acting lunacy. A charming nostalgic film that manages to homage the golden age of small town 50's America and the classic (and much missed) age of big regal looking cinemas, but is also a stirring tribute to the fallen of WWII. It is extremely cliched and cheesy, love it or hate it I doubt there will be any middle ground here. It really does pull all the obligatory heart strings to get you choked up, every old trick in the mushy book, but damn it...it works!.
- phubbs1, Thursday, July 26, 2012
Sometimes your life comes into focus one frame at a time. Good movie, not bad. I often wondered how Jim Carrey would handle a drama and now I know. I kinda enjoyed this trip through nostalgiatown as Carrey rejuvenated a town with his infectious personality. Heavily dramatic at times but always with an undercurrent of jollity running through it. If you wanna see Jim Carrey in a whole different way you go see this one. Peter Appleton is an ambitious young screenwriter working for HHS Studios during Hollywood's Golden Age, 1951 in particular. "Ashes to Ashes" is about to be released, and he's dating the attractive movie star, Sandra Sinclair. Just when everything seems to be going his way, it is discovered he (unwittingly) attended a Communist meeting during college when pulled there by his girlfriend at the time, and thus heavy suspicion settles over him and he'll have to stand before Congress. Afraid of what might happen if they don't, HHS cancels Appleton's contract and aborts the release date of the film. Appleton promptly begins to wallow in self-pity and spends nearly an entire night at a bar, then drives intoxicated through the streets of the California course until plummeting into a stormy river and getting knocked unconscious. Washing up on the beaches of a small town called Lawson. Although the people there are pleasant and likable, the town is depressed and lifeless due to having lost 62 of its sons in World War II. One of them, Luke Trimble, was missing in action; and miraculously, Peter bears a striking resemblance to the black and white photos, close enough to fool even Luke's father, Harry. However, thanks to the blow to the head and the alcohol, Peter has suffered amnesia and decides he must be who they think he is. Besides, it's not a bad life: Luke's beautiful lover, lawyer Adele Stanton, is all over him, the town has suddenly come back to life with excitement, and he and his "father" rebuild a movie palace Harry used to run, the Majestic. Unfortunately, Peter's memory returns in time for G-men to track him down.
- MANUGINO, Tuesday, August 9, 2011