I’ve spent a lot of time at the movies recently. I actually saw three films in one week: Insidious 3, Love and Mercy – The Brian Wilson Story, and Jurassic World. Now, I know that only one of these films is based on real life events, but I found the Brian Wilson movie much scarier than the other two. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Brian Wilson, he was the brains behind 60s musical group The Beach Boys. Please don’t confuse him with discredited newsman Brian Williams -although I think Brian Williams did once say he wrote “Good Vibrations.” Brian Wilson had a very tragic life plagued with mental illness and an abusive father, yet today he is still considered a musical genius and an innovative musical producer. You would never get that impression from the movie.
First of all, two different actors play Brian. Paul Dano (who?) plays young Brian, and John Cusack does the heavy lifting as the older Brian. Young Brian spends most of the film frenetically trying to get studio musicians to jingle bells and bark like dogs while he runs around in tight white chinos wearing a fireman’s hat and spewing canned smoke; hence, his genius. Older Brian fills the screen with facial tics, baggy shirts and a drug induced, incoherent stuttering while he woos a lovely blonde car saleswoman. Of course she immediately falls for him, which made me wonder who the hell had she been dating before? I would have preferred to see more of middle-aged Brian who weighed over 300 pounds, filled his living room with sand, and spent three years lying bed. For some reason, the film maker completely bypasses this period of Brian’s life and jumps ahead to where he turns his life over to a pseudo-psychologist played by Paul Giamatti in a really, really bad Phil Spector-like wig. The saving grace for this film was that the theater was giving away free popcorn!
Insidious 3. Creepy psychic tries to save girl from strange entity living in the vents of an apartment building. Note: The strange entity is still not as frightening as Brian Wilson.
The final film I saw was Jurassic World, which is pretty much Jurassic Park except for now it’s called Jurassic World. The newly rebuilt attraction has become a Disney-type theme park filled with dinosaurs bred in captivity. The new main attraction is a genetically engineered mutation called Indominus Rex that was created by combining the genetic traits of multiple species. The film has its usual idiot parents, annoying kids, a dumb and out of shape security guard and a multi-racial supporting cast. As soon as I saw the Asian scientist, the Indian owner of the park, and the black dinosaur wrangler, I knew they were all going to become Indominus Rex trail mix. But, in a strange twist and going against movie stereotypes, the black guy actually survives. For me, however, the most unbelievable part of this film had to do with the main character played by Bryce Dallas Howard.
Lovely, redheaded Bryce Dallas Howard plays the over-organized, tight-assed director of public relations for Jurassic World, named Claire. Bryce is the real life daughter of Academy Award winning director and actor, Ron Howard. However, for many of us, no matter what success Mr. Howard has achieved in his career, he will always be Opie Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show. As pretty as Bryce is, she looks too much like Opie for me to ever get comfortable watching her. I kept expecting her to pull a slingshot out of her back pocket and say, “Aint Bee, what’s for lunch?” Now, Claire spends the entire movie wearing a pristine long white skirt and blouse and some incredibly high heels. This outfit is perfectly fine for strolling through the visitor’s center with a clipboard and a cell phone, but it lacks practicality when being chased through the jungle by genetically engineered dinosaurs. But, that is exactly what Claire does.
She runs full speed through tall grass, climbs over moss covered rocks, sloshes through muddy water, hides out in a cave, jumps off a cliff and narrowly escapes the jaws of Indominus Rex by hiding in a greasy, burned out garage. By the end of the movie, Claire’s dress is dirty but not ripped, her hair is a little messed up, but her makeup, including eyeliner and lipstick is still perfect and those damned heels are completely intact. In a film about a theme park filled with dinosaurs where small children ride baby Microceratuses* like ponies, I find the indestructible high heels the most farfetched thing about the movie. I once had a pair of heels break while dancing to “She’s a Brick House” at a wedding reception! I wish I wouldn’t have been so obsessed with the fate of Clair’s shoes throughout the film. What kind of shoes were they anyway? Where they also genetically engineered? Are they “Dinoshoes?” Can I get them at Zappos?
It’s just that once I fixate on something it’s hard for me to let it go. I was much more relaxed watching the Brian Wilson movie, and that’s probably because I had no problem distancing myself from the two completely different insane Brian Wilsons. Also, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Paul Giamatti’s horrible wig. The vent entity in Insidious 3 looked more natural. Movies are supposed to be escapism and I realize that. But, is it asking too much for a little more realism in films – and a pair of high heels that defy the laws of physics?
*I have not idea what the plural of Microceratus is. I also don’t care.