Sunday, November 6, 2011
Are these the same movie?
Thursday afternoon I was out with my son, pushing him around in one of those plastic blue cars with the big handle coming off the back. You know, so you don't have to stoop down to push, but so he also gets that thrilling close-to-the-sidewalk experience you just can't replicate elsewhere.
On this walk I saw -- not for the first time -- both of the posters above. But it was the first time I saw them in such close proximity, one on the back of a city bus, one on its side.
Only by seeing them together could I be sure that they were not the same movie.
Sure, the actual composition of the posters is very similar. You've got a bunch of glum looking faces on top, then a scene at the bottom involving a girl in some kind of pastoral, woodsy setting near a lake -- probably indicating some kind of past tragedy, possibly involving a drowning, that all the glum faces are trying to overcome.
But what they really have in common is the fact that neither of them belongs anywhere near a theater near you.
When was the last time you saw such lo-fidelity casts in movies destined for a theatrical release? How destined they are is questionable. While I found a December 2nd release date for Flying Lessons, the Saving Grace B. Jones release date is considerably more nebulous. The film actually played festivals way back in 2009, and the only apparent theatrical release date I could find was back in September. But another website also still lists it as "coming soon" -- a status confirmed by the fact that it's currently being advertised on this bus.
Coming soon to the Hallmark Channel, maybe. To a theater? It's hard to even conceive of it.
But back to those casts ... Maggie Grace? Tatum O'Neal? Michael Biehn? Penelope Ann Miller? Hal Holbrook? Cary Elwes? Jonathan Tucker? Christine Lahti? Let's take them one by one.
Maggie Grace is best known as a character on Lost ... a character who died in like the second season. Tatum O'Neal was on her way to a really big career ... in the 1970s. Michael Biehn was excellent in ... the original Terminator. You may remember Penelope Ann Miller from such places as ... Kindergarten Cop. Hal Holbrook is and always has been a talented actor, as he proved not long ago in Into the Wild ... but he is also 86 years old. Cary Elwes is nearly 25 years removed from playing Wesley in The Princess Bride, and has most recently been found in ... Saw movies. Jonathan Tucker is an anonymous twentysomething ... having shown up in films like The Ruins and The Next Three Days. And Christine Lahti ... well, she's the name you might know least. I think she's quite good. But she's 61 years old, which means Hollywood hasn't really come a-callin' in something like 20 years.
Yet somehow, these two movies with these two casts are coming to some theater, somewhere in Los Angeles, sometime relatively soon.
I, for one, am glad -- much as I appear to be dismissing them out of hand. It goes to show that there is, still, the occasional anomaly when it comes to theatrical distribution, some desperate voice within some studio or some distribution company somewhere, a voice with enough influence to champion a Lifetime Original Movie weepie like these two movies appear to be.
It's nice to see that in a world where the much safer bet is Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.