Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'Way' to go Emilio Estevez

Mr. Estevez has come a long way since The Breakfast Club, Young Guns, and The Mighty Ducks.  His new film, The Way which he produced, wrote and directed looks to be quite a departure from the usual Hollywood fare.  And that's just the way he wants it.

Brent Bozell at Newsbusters writes:
In an interview on the Catholic cable channel EWTN, Estevez joked about the horror of making the pitch for this movie about a pilgrimage – no massive special effects, no parade of gore or bedroom scenes with nudity. It’s just an old man hiking across Spain with three people he meets along the way. It’s a small movie, made on a small budget. It’s about our humanity and our spirituality. It’s so easy to imagine Tinseltown’s eyes glazing over.
But what Estevez said in that interview was still striking. “Hollywood is a very difficult place to be earnest and be heartfelt. And I am not interested in making films that are anything but. There’s a lot of vulgarity in films. There’s a lot of violence, casual sex – things that make me uncomfortable watching – and I’m not interested in perpetuating that message.”  …
Here’s how “The Way” unfolds. Sheen’s character, California ophthalmologist Tom Avery, is a widower who’s been angry at his son’s decision to forego a graduate degree to wander the world. While Avery’s out on the golf course, a French policeman calls to tell him his son has died in a storm in the Pyrenees. When Avery arrives to identify the body, the policeman tells him about the “camino,” and he resolves to travel the route with his son’s cremated remains. On this very long walk, he finds companionship with a burly Dutchman who wants to lose weight, an Irish writer with writer’s block, and a bitter Canadian woman trying to quit smoking – and ultimately rediscovers his lost faith.
The movie is beautiful travelogue of the sites along the route, from mountain vistas to beautiful old cathedrals. It’s a great backdrop for a subtle human story. After the Canadian woman cynically suggestes Sheen’s character is there to march on a self-absorbed baby-boomer journey to a James Taylor soundtrack, she’s embarrassed to learn the truth. Later she admits her own dark troubles. She was a battered wife and is haunted by an abortion she underwent because she didn’t want her husband to have two females to brutalize. She says she can hear her daughter’s voice. Estevez explained, “We give voice to the unborn, and again, that is another thing Hollywood doesn’t necesssarily celebrate.”
To quote the great Clark Griswold, "If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am right now."  In another interview, Estevez said this:
This film is really a celebration of family and faith and community and healing and our humanity. And it’s, you know, there’s no CGI, there’s no explosions, there’s no vulgarity, there’s no overt sexuality. There’s a ton of humor, and none of it is raunchy. So, this movie is really a reflection of the path that I’m walking on.  
I go to so many films and I'm embarrassed by what I see. And, you know, Hollywood is responsible for those themes and those messages that they're projecting out there for not only Americans to see, but the rest of the world. It's one of our last great exports, is our popular culture. And it's just that there's so much of it that is negative and anti, and this is a movie that’s not anti anything. This is all inclusive.
Remember this, because it may be a hundred years before you hear a major Hollywood star say something like that again.  Good for him.  We'll see how this works out for him, but whatever the repercussions from his constituents, I suspect he will gain overwhelming support from a huge swath of the country that Hollywood chooses to largely ignore.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait, I'm confused, is this the sequel to Maximum Overdrive? Because I didn't see the big semi with the green goblin face on it.

I actually liked a lot of Emilio Estevez' movies throughout the eighties. About the time he started with those stupid Mighty Ducks and Stakeout movies he kinda lost me, and judging from his nearly dropping off the face of the earth I'd say he lost a lot of other people as well.

I don't mind him making movies without explosions or guns, as long as they aren't stupid. This looks like it actually might be pretty good. Not good enough for me to try to track it down in the theater, but good enough for me to find it at Redbox and go, "oh yeah, that's that Emilio Estevez movie, it probably worth a buck."

I'm all over someone trying to do something different in Hollywood. Something that's not a remake or a sequel. I'm also assuming that this isn't an adaptation. Sure, it's not terribly original, but it certainly is head and shoulders above another Fast and Furious sequel or a remake of The Thing or The Wild Bunch.