May 26th, 2014

This past weekend it was a kid weekend and I decided to get The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for the $1.50 Redbox price – now a box literally outside my condo and a short walk.  Brilliant.
Sadly the movie was not anywhere near as brilliant as the location of my new rental location.   I asked my step-father about the original with Danny Kaye and he said that Kaye was excellent in the role.   The dream sequences made sense and he thought that the film was good entertainment.
Here we have Ben Stiller, both acting and directing.   Sad to say that the overall premise is lost and some quality cast members are not well utilized (Sean Penn and Kristen Wiig).   Stiller is working for Time Life Magazine for many years and has a vanilla life as anyone could have.   He lives alone, works, and repeats.   The job is changing as his magazine has been acquired and moving “online”.   A favourite photographer (Penn) has sent him his best work but it is missing.   Stiller is anxious to see it as it is supposed to be the last hardcopy cover of the defunct magazine.    The new management wants to see it as well.
Mitty’s dreams generally make him a hero and exciting and interesting.  They take him away for short periods of time.   Then he takes on a travel log to seek out his globe trotting photographer and ask where his picture was.
The pictures are pretty.  Sites in Greenland and Iceland are all spectacular is Forrest Gump-like panorama shots.  Mountains, lakes and snow have never looked so nice.  Too bad it is all so very inane.
Even the simplest of people would likely have spotted the location of the sought after cover shot.  There is a budding romance but it is lukewarm.   It is bland and vanilla as the rest of this film.   I would liked to have seen Wiig have a challenge and more of an impact.
This was not worth the money nor the time spent.   There are others like Monuments Men that are there to see.   Ben Stiller might wish to re-think this whole directing thing unless he secures a writer who tells a good story first.   Having a travel log through pretty countryside and having a studio pay for your summer vacation isn’t the best move for a career.
For what you likely spent on Sean Penn….others could have been utilized better.    Star power not required.
Appears from rottentomatoes that the cost of the film was around $90M and the box office was around $56M.
I wonder if the studios could ever negotiate a deal with the actor trying to make the picture that they not only forego their own fees to be director perhaps, but also take a percentage of the LOSSES!     Nice to hear that actors like Cruise get a % on the income when it’s a hit — they should conversely LOSE money when it’s a flop!!   Guess we now know why I never represented actors as an agent.

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