Hey folks, Harry here... I couldn't make it to the screening tonight to see THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT - I love time travel movies quite a bit, and any website that has Harlan Ellison's fantastic theory on... "THE SECRET" is cool in my book. Joe Hallenbeck told me the movie fucking ruled the earth. He loved it. LOVED IT! Mr Beaks is much less of a fan, kinda fence straddling upon it. If you read Quint's review he LOVES this movie. Gets very passionate about it, and I can tell you Wednesday night he was kinda... not interested in seeing it at all. This could be one of those films that if you go in with no expectations, it can really knock you out, but if it's been hyped up, that you look for and find problems with. Here's Quint...
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here... To be honest, this crusty seaman is at a loss at the moment.
I'm just in from a screening of THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT, that Ashton Kutcher and Amy Smart flick. You remember the trailer... made it look like a forgettable star vehicle for the gossip "It" man of the moment... Of course you do. I remember the trailer, too, which is the reason why I almost didn't go to the screening tonight. Dishes are piling up, I'm just getting into my second read-through of King and Straub's THE TALISMAN, I just got the upcoming Anchor Bay DVD release of Gilliam's classic fantasy film TIME BANDITS to watch... I had a lot of excuses to blow off the screening.
Ultimately, the theater it was playing at was close and I knew that I wouldn't pay to see the movie, so if I was going to have a go at the film, this would be it. Sweet God, am I glad I made that decision.
This movie is not what the trailer makes it out to be! From this point on, I want all of you folks to swear to me you'll forget that trailer even exists and go see this film. This is the best intelligent, unpredictable, unformulaic sucker-punch of a movie this side of DONNIE DARKO.
I'm serious! I know it's hard to believe, but you're just going to have to take my word on it. The script by writer/directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber is astoundingly smart and perfectly paced. The acting it top notch all across the board, which came as a surprise to me. I had an idea that Kutcher could do some good dramatic work if given the right material, but I really didn't expect much from Amy Smart, other than some good eye-candy.
They both have difficult jobs to do in the film. They have to keep their characters the same at their core, but ultimately a reflection of their current surroundings and memories. Smart really pulled off some tough scenes, which came a huge personal shock.
The film is also filled with great character actors. Eric Stoltz plays... well, a memorable character. Ethan Suplee is a gas, Elden Henson has a small, but wildly divergent role and proves he's one of the best young character actors out there. I'd love to see him cast in a film as Philip Seymour Hoffman's little brother! The kids they cast are really great, as well.
I'm in a bit of a difficult place here at the moment. I was planning on writing up a nice little synopses of the film and tell you exactly how harsh and gritty the flick really is, but I also don't want to expose to what lengths the film actually goes, thus ruining the journey of discovery you will take if you decide to give the movie a shot.
Let me just say that the trailer does a good job of setting up the basic story, but in no way prepares you for how smart the script is, how sharp the direction is, how spot on the acting is or how fucked up the movie really is underneath everything. This is a film you'd expect to be made on the cheap, a film festival gem up there with MEMENTO in the cleverness in the telling of the story. The fact that it's a big studio release really blows my mind.
I know I'm fighting a bit of an uphill battle with this review. There will be those that just can't fathom Ashton Kutcher headlining an intelligent, finely crafted studio movie. There will be the poor semi-illiterate talkback assholes that'll point to the ads for the film on the site. They'll scream and shout conspiracy even when I say I don't get paid for my work on the site and see not one red cent of that advertising money.
Ultimately, I'm shouting at the world from my little perch that this is a great movie. You don't know the names Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber yet, but if they continue on this trend, us fanboys will be drooling over their next project just as we do with Richard Kelly and David Lynch and Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky.
Ignore the trailer and if you don't trust my word, keep your eye out for the reviews from Sundance. The few people I talked with after the screening had their jaws hanging open. This is the little film that snuck through. It's a sleeper hit for me, but I really can't say whether or not the film will be a financial success. We had lots of old ladies walk out of the screening. The people who look at the trailer and say, "Aw, that cute little boy I keep seeing on E! and Access Hollywood is in a romantic movie..." will find themselves scratching their head (or just plain walking out of the movie). The people on the other side of the coin probably won't even make the effort to see it unless urged on by friends and critics they trust.
For those who moan about Hollywood not producing anything original or that every studio movie seems cookie-cutter, it would be a mistake to miss this movie. I was blown away by it as I'm sure many of you out there will be. This film opens on the 23rd, a little more than a week from this writing. Until then, keep your eyes open for other views of the film. They might not all be positive, but you won't find many saying this film is typical Hollywood fare, I can guarantee you that.
Anyway, that's enough from me. Go see this flick. It's movies like these that need and deserve our support. It's a damn shame New Line's Marketing Dept. will hinder the success of the film by presenting it as something it isn't, but nevertheless, I urge you to give the film a shot. I think you'll be surprised.