Sunday 10 February 2013

How Well Do I Know Myself? The Case of LARRY CROWNE

I remember being excited about LARRY CROWNE, a film written and directed by Tom Hanks, who also stars alongside Julia Roberts.

I saw it in the cinema, and hated it! Didn't believe the relationships, didn't believe the whole scooter bike thing. I thought Tom Hanks had totally lost his touch.

But last week I ordered it on DVD. Why?

My excuse is that I'm a Tom Hanks diehard. My passion for film began with tracking down all of his films and watching them again and again. I also ordered 'The Burbs' and 'Charlie Wilson's War' last week, two films that I don't particularly love either.

I re-watched 'Larry Crowne' and of course, I loved it.

Truth is, I still think most of it is unrealistic, but this time, that's why I liked it.

The film lives in a world where you make a new friend, and a day later they invite you to join a scooter gang. The day after that they give you a haircut and feng shui your living room.

It's a film with a lot of kindness and sweetness. A film where Tom Hanks is the Tom Hanks we love, like the 1980's Tom Hanks. The Sleepless in Seattle Tom Hanks.

'Larry Crowne' washes over you like a pleasant breeze. You need to turn your inner cynic off and go with it. It's heartwarming, but wonderfully so.

I hated this film the first time I saw it, yet for some reason I decided to buy a copy.

And now I love it.

What's at play here? Do I not know myself that well? Do I dismiss films too easily? Do I have deep buried neurons that need a Tom Hanks fix?

Who knows.

I remember at Christmas, sitting down with heaps of chocolate, laughing happily at 'Couples Retreat' on the TV, even though I disliked it in the cinema.

I guess as we watch more movies, we get more sophisticated and need more going on to satisfy us.

But deep down, maybe something simpler is at play.

For me, that something loves the broad humour of 'Couples Retreat' and the sweetness of 'Larry Crowne'. That side of me isn't always accessible, but I feel like it's an important part of me, that I hope to access more.

Have you ever experienced this? A complete turnaround on a second viewing? If so, why do you think it happened?

Care to share?


  1. I remember how heartbroken I was when this came out to bad review. I had been assigned to do coverage on the script and my feedback that it was one of the best scripts I had read and was about something so rare in film today: a genuinely nice guy in which a lot of nice things happened. When I was done reading it I smiled. And then the reviews came in...and so I never saw it. Maybe time to loop back?

    As to your question, I think it's us who change. The best films have a way of growing and changing with us. I've recently been reaching back into my past to go back to films I loved from many years ago and watch them again. How suprised I was to find The Squid and the Whale to be so funny when most of the humour was lost on me the first time; how much Your Friends & Neighbours has changed since I've lived in the big city for a couple of years, etc.

    I think that's what defines a great movie for me, that, no matter when you watch it, you'll get something different from it because you've changed and now see things you didn't the first time. It's what keeps us loving these damned things in the first place isn't it?

    Great post.

  2. This same thing happened to me with Young Adult. I was super-excited to see it, but left the theater feeling nothing. Then, after it came out on DVD, I rented it and immediately loved it, and now I can't stop streaming it. I love watching Charlize Theron paint on makeup and gulp down bourbon. The most mundane scenes in the film are the ones that make me sit up and pay attention the most. I have no idea why.

    So, what are you doing ordering DVDs? I thought the disc was dead!