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Massawyrm shrugs at Clint Eastwood's HEREAFTER

Hola all. Massawyrm here. It’s always a shame to see a good idea go south. HEREAFTER is just such a film. It’s not a good movie – it is 1/3 of a good movie, padded by 2/3s filler. The idea is solid – it is the story of three different people, each touched by death, whose stories all come to a head in one another’s company. The problem is that only one of these stories is any good, while the other simply meander through cliché after cliché until ending up serving only tangentially the story you manage to give a shit about. If you can make it through the other two stories, the single story is worth seeing – but they are the very paragons of mediocrity, and will test your will to keep watching with bouts of wistful banality. The story worth watching this for is Matt Damon’s. Damon plays a psychic spirit medium who is the real deal. The kicker is he hates it. Once upon a time he was a big deal, but he walked away, finding the realm of the dead to be no place for the living. But life doesn’t want to play fair. He can’t have relationships, can’t keep a job, can’t catch a break – and every time things get tough, his fast talking, quick buck brother is there to try and convince him to get back into the medium racket again. This story, every moment of it, is absolutely compelling. It is the tragic tale of a man very good at something that could make him rich when instead he longs only for normalcy. Damon gives this character all the weight he deserves, nailing the nice guy/simple man vibe while also capably delivering on the moments in which he needs to sell the supernatural. He’s equally met by Bryce Dallas Howard, the sexy, effervescent, girl-with-a-broken heart looking for love in the big city. Watching these two develop before one another’s eyes is exactly the type of filmmaking you expect out of Eastwood. But then there are the other two stories: one about a young boy who loses a member of his family and of a seasoned reporter who has a near death experience, opening a brand new world to her but sending her career into a spiral. Neither of these work. Of the two only the reporter’s story holds anything worth mentioning: an incredible opening sequence involving a tsunami laying waste to a seaside town. The tsunami is incredible. Not only is it a perfectly executed example of disaster movie magic, it also manages to capture all the emotional beats it needs to in order to drive home the sheer wanton devastation of such an event. Sadly it serves only too set up a story that could have easily been supported by a smaller, more personal tragedy and leaves you wondering why this happened at all. It’s like opening a talking head, bank robbery film with a Michael Bay freeway car chase complete with explosions and a runaway Ferris wheel. An event that big is only truly warranted is the film is about how it affects several people – not one about someone who saw a bright light when they nearly drowned. It’s not a bad film, but the tedium of the two other stories are liable to lessen the impact of the one you’ll no doubt like. The performances in these stories are great, but what the actors are given to do and say is not. While I love that Eastwood is still working and occasionally churning out something truly great, I really wish he would hire a composer every now and again; his scores are becoming tiresome and blending together. This isn’t the worst Eastwood film in a while; but it is his most middle of the road and forgettable. It’s worth checking out on DVD, but I wouldn’t recommend checking it out in a theater.
Until next time friends, Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Boom..I'm first.

    by Chief_Macho

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Hmmm

    by Philvis

    I still will probably have to check this one out. It looks too intriguing not to. Since Massa didn't care for it, I will be safe and see it as a matinee just in case.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:21 a.m. CST

    One month till Miley

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Nov 23, happy 18th for Ms Cyrus

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST

    It seems like most reviews of this movie

    by Uke_Crazy

    agree that only 1/3 of it is compelling, but none of them agree on which part.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST

    I AM CASTAWAY AND YOU ARE WRONG

    by Rex Carsalot

    And I'm going to tell my mom on you, Massa!

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Best Picture nominee

    by shutupfanboy

    Probably. He got that girl power shit Million Dollar Baby an oscar, he can do it for something that is at least 1/3 interesting. Damon is a lock for nomination as well.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:48 a.m. CST

    One month till Miley

    by adml_shake

    and I bet her dad already has the playboy shoot booked.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Yooou're that siiiigh-kick!

    by Shabado

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 11:20 a.m. CST

    and i shrug at all his heavyhanded fluff

    by FleshMachine

    eastwood makes contrived phoney scripty uber-americanized movies.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    kinda with you, kinda not

    by sbguy

    Totally with you on the tsunami. Great set piece, beautifully staged and choreographed, with stellar effects. I would urge people to see the film on the big screen for that alone. But I think there's so much more to like or love about this film. I actually found both the Damon & the London twins storylines very engaging. And while Marie's storyline could have used a bit more meat, Cecile de France managed to draw me in anyway. She's radiant and in my opinion, a strong contender for best supporting actress. I consider this among Eastwood's best films of the last 10 years.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Little kid in it? Then it's for grandparents.

    by kabong

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Billy Ray is way to protective of Miley....

    by rben

    ain't gonna happen but over his dead body....

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Correction #1: "Sadly it serves only TO set up..."

    by 3D-Man

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Correction #2: "...truly warranted IF the film is about..."

    by 3D-Man

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:22 p.m. CST

    But otherwise, great review, as always!!!!

    by 3D-Man

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:27 p.m. CST

    "It's not a gift!

    by MoviesEtc

    It's a curse!" <p> Such fresh, innovative dialogue.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:48 p.m. CST

    I shrug at the majority of Clint's directorial output

    by I am_NOTREAL

    Never understood the fuss about his movies. Yes, it's admirable that we works so fast and still produces coherent narratives. But this New American Master label that he's been given--just never understood it. Unless mastery = competent, moderately engrossing, yet ultimately disposable.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST

    so this is a sequel to the Sixth Sense?

    by TheBaxter

    matt damon = haley joel osment all growed up???

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:51 p.m. CST

    so the tsunami improves in the movie?

    by Bouncy X

    because the footage we see in trailers looks terrible. since water is so hard to get right with CGI, why not simply film real water elements and just marry it to the movie. because that one scene where we see it washing down the street is just baaaaad.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 12:53 p.m. CST

    A psychic hating his ability is a "kicker?"

    by HoboCode

    How is that a kicker when that is how 99% of psychics in film are portrayed? A kicker would be if a film psychic actually liked having his powers.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 1 p.m. CST

    Second crap film in a row for Eastwood...

    by HopkinsBalls

    Gran Torino was good though..

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 1:05 p.m. CST

    at least he didn't make a new DOLLARS film with Damon leading

    by Tigger Tales

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    This looks pretty mediocre

    by SmokingRobot

    From the stale dialog, the CGI waves, and 'MATT DAMON' this looks remarkably unremarkable. Pass. Maybe Netflix.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 1:18 p.m. CST

    sounds like damon's character...

    by belledame

    is a classic hero called to the lonely vigil, there to serve a necessary function for society but forever isolated by it. he'll get his reward in the next world.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Once again, Capone likes it, not so with 'Wyrm...

    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview

    ...Capone's a better writer... but I trust Massawyrm's instincts more. Another "wait for Red Box and/or Netflix w/ this one.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm shrugs at LIFE

    by pushthebuttonmax

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Eastwood DOES need to hire a composer

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    I know he likes low-key music that just "underlines" the drama, but there are SO many composers who could give him what he wants without noodling around on the piano and calling it a "theme". Give Thomas Newman a call, Clint.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Just reminds me of 'Afterlife' (or whatever they call it in the

    by tangcameo

    ...with that actor who's now going to star in AMC's The Walking Dead.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 7:47 p.m. CST

    Clint Eastwood....

    by Fieldingm

    ...is the most boring director working today. Not necessarily bad, just very dull.

  • Oct. 22, 2010, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Changeling was good too

    by PinkFloyd7

    And Iwo Jima was great. Clint Eastwood made a lot of crap back in the 80's, but now he's putting out quality movies. The haters can go back to watching Michael Bay and his MTV-style quick-edit way of making movies for mindless zombies with ADD.

  • Oct. 23, 2010, 12:30 a.m. CST

    Nailed it on the head, Massawyrm

    by DrunkyMcLush

    Everything you said is dead on, right down to what you said about Eastwood's score. Something I hated about the film that isn't mentioned is that Damon's character absolutely hates giving readings. He hates how they make them feel yet when he actually performs a reading, he acts as though it's not a big deal. He delivers his readings too casually. The only exception is when he reads for Howard's character.

  • Oct. 23, 2010, 12:51 a.m. CST

    I might see this

    by Manatee

    The reviews of this film are totally polarized. In fact, on Rotten Tomatoes, I think it's exactly 50% Some people think it's subtle and insightful, while others think it's obvious and pretentious. In reading the reviews, it's sometimes hard to believe people are talking about the same film! This is the sort of polarity you see with ambitious films.

  • Oct. 23, 2010, 6:30 a.m. CST

    NOTREAL!!!

    by Dolph

    Couldn't have put it better myself.

  • Oct. 23, 2010, 6:56 a.m. CST

    Just by seeing the boring trailer, you know this movie's terribl

    by unfunnydude

    There: it had to be said.

  • Oct. 23, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST

    "Waaaah - there weren't enough car chases!"

    by ForgetfulPete

    He got set up for a flying ferris wheel and it didn't come. Fecking fanboys.

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 1:02 a.m. CST

    godawful

    by darkpassenger

    had to sit through this with my parents, sooooooooooooooooooooo boring ive never sighed so many times in a movie, maybe 3 col scenes in entire flick, previews were very misleading

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 2:13 a.m. CST

    a slow burner for sure

    by lostboytexas

    but worth it. maybe not the type of film that plays well on the big screen but a great movie anyway.

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 5:51 a.m. CST

    Did anyone tell Clint...

    by Master Bruce

    about THE GHOST WHISPERER, or MEDIUM? They've been doing this kind of thing for years. Maybe Clint doesn't watch TV...of course, I wouldn't blame him for the most part.

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 7 a.m. CST

    Dirty Harry

    by HasselFree

    http://www.youtube.com/user/BillHassel

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Jason Bourne returns

    by HasselFree

    in HASSEL UNLEASHED on youtube

  • Oct. 24, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Snooze-fest

    by KISSman24

    This film was BORING. I like almost all of Clint's other films, but for this one, you need popcorn and a pillow. I was hoping that enduring the slow-moving, uneventful story would at least lead to something profound at the end, but no-can-do. Pretty much a standard Hollywood feel-good conclusion. Blah.

  • Nov. 2, 2010, 6:05 p.m. CST

    I have to disagree here, for a better review...

    by Angry_Charlie

    This review doesn't really say much. While Massawyrm makes some valid points about Damon's story being more interesting, I don't think it's as bad as he's making it sound. It's all opinions but I tend to like Capone's review more. For another opinion check out my review here: http://angrycharliereviews.blogspot.com/2010/10/hereafter-2010.html