Saturday, November 29, 2008

Auteur Watch - Peter Chelsom

Oh, it's a sad, sad story, indeed. The saddest part is the ending, so we had better start from scratch.
It all began for us lazy Americans with a li'l film called Hear My Song. Any film student can tell you, it's the debut of Mr. Chelsom, despite Treacle and all. No, every director secretly wants a film like Hear My Song that makes everybody happy. The critics are happy, the distributors are happy, the people are happy. Even the ticket buyers are happy! Because anyone could be. I never saw it myself, but I did see his sophomore effort, Funny Bones. Kind of a Local Hero as a stand-up comic kind of thing. Not as autobiographical as the first, but that's okay. It was all tied in to this whole Jerry Lewis cinematic resurgence, the likes of which was seen just a decade before, but just hasn't been seen since.
It was at that point that Chelsea took the advice his manager gave him from the start: "Drop the screenwriting, stick to directing." Soon after came The Mighty, one of the five films that was to end Sharon Stone's career... at least, for a while. So, it looks like the 90s will have to be Chelsom's favorite decade, because then came Town & Country, and Serendipity, two films that have never been recommended to me. On the other hand, I don't have that many friends, so maybe it's just bad statistics. This would surely be the most expensive phase of Mr. Chelsom's career, with T&C STILL clocking in at 90 million dollars, and Serendipity, well, after 9/11, I guess we just weren't ready to believe in instantly falling in love. Maybe if they remake it.
Then we got Shall We Dance? What is it? Chick flick? Dance flick? Who knew? Part of the Japanese remake Renaissance. That still doesn't explain much. But even that's nothing compared to what's on the horizon for us as well as for Peter Chelsom... A Hannah Montana movie? First of all, didn't we suffer enough already this year? Second, how? How in the h... eck did you land that job? What, was Kenny Ortega too busy? What, was Walt Becker pouting in the corner after someone mentioned Van Wilder? I don't have the time to dwell further on this, but I tell you what. I'll be a generous guy and give you the benefit of the doubt, Pete. But the second you do a film with Larry the Cable Guy, boom! Out of the Auteur club you go.

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