In praise of Todd Solondz's "Happiness"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Stevan Lay, Sep 11, 2002.

  1. Stevan Lay

    Stevan Lay Second Unit

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    WOW!! I was taken aback by this film. It's the kind of film that lingers on in your conscience, provoking thoughts of the themes and performances that brushed each dialogue and character. It reminded me of such recent movies as The Royal Tenebaums, Magnolia, & Lantana, but the movie could not have been more different as it is far engrossing and demoralising than the abovementioned. Much like The Royal Tenebaums there is great sadness to the story and structure of the characters in the movie. And much like Magnolia & Lantana we see the connections that would slowly peel away to the core affliction of the characters that we've been casually watching, immersed in their plight and turn. The performances were truly amazing in the movie, from Dylan Baker, to Jane Adams, to Philp Seymour Hoffman, while the supporting casts were also faultless.
    However, it must be said though that my initial reaction after seeing this film was of disgust and disaproval but I could not shy away from the brutal honesty of the subject matter and the great film-making. The conversation between Billy and his father (Dylan Baker) is a fine example of such uncompromising sincerity.
    I can understand that some may be against this movie as it is not an easy proposition for recommended viewing but as far as film integrity goes it is an amazing piece of work.
     
  2. Jon Strong

    Jon Strong Agent

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    I love his fantasy in the beginning, you know, in the park? Ha.
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Stevan, except for the fact that I didn't care for The Royal Tenenbaums, I agree with everthing in your post.
    Happiness is a terrific and very unique film that will probably turn a few people off due to its subject matter, which is unfortunately.
    You may want to check out L.I.E. as well.
     
  4. Joshua FS

    Joshua FS Auditioning

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    When I first saw this movie, my face was sore afterwards from grimacing so much. But you figure one of the goals of cinema or art if general is to evoke an emotional response. Happiness sure did that and then some. Great movie for the strong of stomach and will.
     
  5. Sam E. Torres

    Sam E. Torres Second Unit

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    this movie sickens me.
     
  6. Tom Rhea

    Tom Rhea Second Unit

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    Happiness is by far one of the funniest movies I've ever seen (and Solondz' follow-up, Storytelling, is even funnier, but the characters are not as well-developed).

    I got to see it on my 35th birthday and as good as the movie was, watching the discomfort of the audience was definitely the icing on the cake. When my friend and I left the theater, some idiot jock was whining about how horrible the movie was. I told him in a perfect world they'd put Dr. Maplewood dolls in happy meals. He got that look on his face suburban boys get when they find out not everybody thinks exactly like they do.
     
  7. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    This is one of my favorite films of the last few years. To distort and strip the sitcom mentality in such a way and to find humor in the most extreme perversions imaginable is something very few filmmakers have tried to explore. I think it's one of the most original and significant American independent films made in the last ten years.

    To see a director make no compromises the way Solondz does is certainly encouraging. And with Storytelling, he's putting together an impressive body of work.
     

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