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Sunday, August 10, 2014

BOYHOOD IS A MASTERPIECE


Boyhood is a film best described by adjectives:  memorable, noteworthy, uncommon, prodigious, unparalleled....  Kind of like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but in correct chronology with no artificial makeup needs and no animation.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave Boyhood a 99% rating, and 91% of audiences liked it.  No recent films have earned anything close to these raves.  Metacritic anointed a 100 rating, their highest score ever.  There have been only eleven, and others have included Lawrence of Arabia (the 50th anniversary re-release), Wizard of Oz (in IMAX 3D), and The Godfather.  That's "boy" Ellar Coltrane today to the left at the age of 19, and through 39 shooting days spread across 12 years:


Ethane Hawke and Patricia Arquette were there as Ellar's biological parents from the beginning.  Hawke indicated that his divorce from Uma Thurman two years into the shooting provided invaluable insights (the four major actors shared in the writing with the director).  Hawke has already completed the rather unique Before series, and must be into these things.  Certainly, the children matured, but Ethane Hawk hardly aged.  Patricia Arquette displayed various degrees of chubbiness over the years.

Director Richard Linklater exhibited the ultimate in persistence, and his daughter, Lorelei, was Ellar's older sister.  No one could sign a 12-year contract, and the most remarkable part was that the producer from IFC, the film's distributor, committed and provided $200,00/year for the entire period, supposedly shielding this sum within the overall budget for the company, as this had never been done before.  Maybe even more amazing, he never got fired, said Hawke.  Possibly that was because this producer was Jonathan Sehring, the company president, below (he deserves a full shot):


To be truthful, most of the film was rather prosaic and ordinary.  Taken in toto, the production was a masterpiece.  It occurred to me that the "boy" had a lifetime's worth of experience, including already being an award winning photographer, when the closing scene was just his first day on the University of Texas campus, high on marijuana brownies  and contemplating the universe.  I was totally naive and essentially hopeless when I began my college career.  Will Boyhood continue into Adulthood and the Afterlife?  I've had two transition series:  decadal and another one this year that was more detailed.

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Iselle has gone west and Julio is still a hurricane, but sufficiently north of Honolulu that here is the scene from my computer:


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