Ryan McNeil recently wrote a review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and, anyone who has seen our banter on Twitter, can see that I don’t fully condone his actions on watching the film. He always watches the Best Picture nominations, whilst I am well-aware that some films simply don’t deserve their position and I will not pay admission to watch them. My example is The Blindside which I didn’t see at the time and now no one cares about it. I didn’t miss out at all. At any rate, his review pretty much clearly shows how I would probably feel but I noticed how the story, interestingly, involves a boy coincidentally called “Oskar” … which got my feverish mind racing; could there indeed be a story about winning an Oscar buried deep down in the story about Oskar?
I’ve used Ryan’s synopsis of the story (Check out his full review here) in italics, whilst my interpretation – about what the film is really about is in bold…
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is the story of Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn).
The Story is about a film-trying-to-get-an-Oscar …
Oskar is very bright and quite inquisitive, however is also socially awkward.
It’s a good film, but alas, it knows it is Oscar-Bait …
For Oskar, the sun rises and sets on his father Thomas (Tom Hanks).
The film primarily relies on Tom Hanks to truly gain an Oscar – he has won so many, it’s a sure thing.
As much as Oskar loves his mother Linda (Sandra Bullock), it’s his father that has a way of relating to him that both comforts him and pushes him.
We all know The Blindside wasn’t great, so Sandra Bullock alone couldn’t garner the film any success but she does add a weight of credability.
He encourages Oskar’s eccentricities, and yet challenges him to be brave and seek answers for bigger questions.
Tom Hanks will always guarantee a certain corner of the market – as strange as it is, people really do rate him as an actor. People watch Tom Hanks and they are challenged by him – “This is a really good film – I’m just not sure if Tom Hanks is what makes it good” some people think.
Sadly, Thomas is killed in The World Trade Center attack, leaving both Oskar and Linda adrift.
Unfortunately, the film includes a clearly Oscar-bait trait – a reference to 9/11 and the American Dream. Without Tom Hanks, Trying-to-get-an-Oscar and Sandra Bullock have very chance of truly being accepted in the Oscar Best-Picture Club
A year later, as Oskar is sifting through some of his father’s things, he comes upon a curious key. Without much indication what the key is for, Oskar sees it as one last challenge from his father.
But there is a slight chance that if a film is made, that is clearly begging for an Oscar, with a story so steeped in “heavy-handed, muddy, melodrama” (Thanks Ryan), then maybe – just maybe – the short cameo by Tom Hanks in the first act may be worth the money they paid him.
As he inspects the envelope the key is contained in, he notices the name “Black” written on it. He realizes that someone named “Black” must have once owned the key – and possibly met his father.
If there is any way to squeeze in a race-issue, then maybe it is possible that the Oscar is guaranteed. For gods sake, despite how bad Driving Miss Daisy is, it won Best Picture! If that can win Best Picture, then surely Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has a shot …
I’m sure someone is having a joke here… even the poster is Oskar looking shocked that it is so friggin obvious!
A few things interest me here…
First and foremost, recall that the film is an adaptation of a novel written in 2005 – so any co-incidences of names like Oskar and a meta sense of being award-fodder are slanted at best, if not totally moot.
While I'm sure you're having a laugh, the notion that a film based on something previously published is “really” about something else is bollocks.
The thing about EI&IC is that the story likely would have worked just the same without the 9/11 reference. It's about a boy who lost his father and is unable to cope – the guy could have died crossing the street and it wouldn't have lessened the film's impact.
I already grilled Sebastian about this today, but this is true for you too – you don't have to see the films that got nominated. But if you don't expose yourself to them and get the full story, then you forsake the right to bitch about them.
I'm going to bed but the author of the novel may have been thinking about a film adaptation – it makes the book sales increase dramatically. Oscars were still around in 2005…
This is all in jest … kinda …
More irritating than touching, healing or any of the positive things one would guess such a story and cast would produce. This was just a totally manipulative film that tries so hard to be emotional that it almost strains itself and its leading “actor”, Thomas Horn who is probably one of the most annoying kids I have seen on-screen in awhile. Good review.
While I did like Billy Elliot though it has its flaws. There was something about The Hours and The Reader that irked me as I didn't really enjoy those films. The former I found to be very tedious in its direction as the segment I disliked the most was Nicole Kidman because the acting felt very unnatural and overly serious. The rest of the film I didn't care for at all.
In The Reader, while Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes both did great jobs. I found the story to be very obvious early on and I felt that the whole thing had been a waste of time. It was very boring and Winslet in old makeup looked terrible.
Then I saw the trailer for Excruciatingly Ludicrous and Incredibly Cloying as I realized what it was trying to do. Based on a lot of the reviews and what I know from Daldry's work. I realized that he isn't just one of the most overrated filmmakers working today. He's much worse than that. He is the Oscar-bait equivalent to Michael Bay.
@Dan – Thanks for the comment. I haven't seen the film at all so its not a review …
@the Void – In fairness, I don't think anyone is desperate to see the latest 'stephen daldry' film. You might have an opinion if you've seen his films, but no ones a 'fan' really.