Erin Brockovich (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|It really wasn't too hard to come
up with the Robbins Recipe for this one, because this is
exactly the same movie as A Civil Action, so it didn't
really need to get cross-bred with anything else.
Here's how it worked.
They were all sitting around watching A Civil Action one day, and someone said, "y'know this is a pretty good flick, pretty inspirational, but it's missing something".
|And the one producer said, "yeah,
where's the T&A?"
And the other producer said, "and what's the deal with Travolta? I mean his comeback is officially over. He's a fat ugly dude and he's staler than cheese-puffs after you've opened the bag and left them on the counter for a week."
|And the first producer said, "OK,
hear me out. We remake this same movie without the fat
ugly dude. We replace him with a babe with big tits. I
mean a real babe. Like Jennifer Connelly".
And the response was, "Nah, not Connelly. She's a babe, but she's got no box office appeal. We want to sell tickets. We need Julia Roberts."
"OK, point taken, but we need tits, and Julia doesn't have any"
"Not yet. But, shit, my wife doesn't have any tits, and she wears this stuff that makes her look like fucking Chesty Morgan. (Presses intercom) Crystal, get me Victoria's Secret on the phone"
A hit is born. They had everything they needed to make a perfect commercial movie.
To be fair, although I rarely worry about fairness, Julia did a remarkable job of recreating the abrasive style and personality of the real Erin Brockovich, who is interviewed in the DVD extra features, and is so irritating and cocky that if you had the money, you'd pay her $300 million just to shut up. I mean this girl makes Ross Perot seem charming. Julia took a real risk in playing an unpleasant, rude woman who ignored her family in order to do her job superbly in a good cause. That could have backfired big-time, but did not, because Julia and the script managed to strike the correct note of righteousness, in which the end justified the means.
Along the way, however, Brockovich constantly whines about people not respecting her when she shows no respect for or even politeness toward anyone else. In fact, almost all of her complaints are about her own personal role, and not about the case itself. She wants to be able to dress like a street hooker, and mistreat her co-workers, and completely have her own way at all times about everything.
Erin Brockovich was nominated by the academy for the Best Picture Oscar, although, as I write this, it's nowhere near the top five year 2000 films, as rated by IMDB members. Nominees are highlighted on the table below. Obviously, Brockovich and Chocolat would not be the people's choices for Oscar nominations. By the way, Chocolat's Lasse Hallstrom wasn't nominated for Best Director. The fifth directorial nod went to Billy Elliott instead.
I think I'd be quite happy if the top five listed here were the five Oscar nominees. You could argue that Gladiator is out of its league, but there's no candidate in the remaining choices which really inspires my passion.
genius director Steven Soderbergh, the style and
invention of his usual work is held almost completely in
check in Brockovich, and he just did a play-for-pay turn
by telling a factual story in a factual, chronological
way. He can thank his lucky stars it was a good story
with an inspiring finish, because he really didn't do
much except straightforward narration. He handled it with
consummate skill - and not the slightest hint of
inspiration. I'm not even sure that he actually showed up
on the set.
Don't get me wrong. Erin Brockovich is a good movie. It just isn't a great one.
So once again we have one of those totally honest movies made by a big corporation about how big corporations are bad. Let's hope they get what their karma dictates, and that the real Erin Brockovich makes her next cause a class-action suit against Sony, because I want to see what kind of movie them sumbitches make about that one.
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