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Rules Don't Apply: Official Thread

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  • WildforFilm
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    #1201959003

    Didn’t find anything thread on this, so I created my own.

    I saw this film last night and enjoyed it more than I was expecting, which wasn’t much. The trailers really don’t serve the film very well, which is a shame.

    The ensemble in this film was unbelievable. Even in small roles, this film did a great job of incorporating some really great talent. The real standout to me was Alden Ehrenreich, who I expect to have a big career in the next few years. He reminds me of Leonardo Dicaprio and even sounds like him in this film. He impressed me this year in Hail Casear! and now this, which has got be even more excited about his Han Solo casting. Not sure how I feel about Lily Collins in this, still have to think about it more.

    Warren Beatty. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen many of his films, but I thought he was great in this and would be deserving of Golden Globe nomination (not sure in Lead or Supporting).

    Watching this film, I found my self comparing it to Hail Caesar! most of the time, presumably because both are ensemble films focusing on old-time Hollywood. If I had to choose, I would say this film was better than Caesar and more fun to watch.

    What did everyone else think?

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    #1201959161

    While the cast is indeed exceptional, the film is an unfocused mess, spiraling out of control the longer it goes on.  And while the lead couple are charming and have some likable friction, the Howard Hughes incarnation is mostly a distraction, not adding a whole lot to the existing pantheon of cinematic characterizations of him*.  I’d say HAIL CAESAR! is a far better film, with a more playful sense of period and the industry, and with more to say about its characters.    That said, it was great seeing Beatty on screen again and I hope he chooses to act more in films that aren’t just directed by himself.

    I can see this maybe getting a Costume nod.  If Beatty scores one, it’s a nostalgic veteran vote (like Duvall in THE JUDGE).

     

    *Jason Robards > Leonardo DiCaprio > Dean Stockwell > Warren Beatty > Terry O’Quinn

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    Andrew Carden
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    #1201960088

    With 14 Oscar nominations under his belt for directing, writing, producing and acting in his pictures, including one competitive victory (for directing 1981’s Reds) and one honorary prize, Warren Beatty is unimpeachably among the most powerful and talented figures to have ever graced Hollywood.

    Yet, for such a legend, looking back, the Beatty filmography is actually an awfully spotty one. For every tour-de-force production like Bonnie and Clyde and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, there’s a supreme underwhelmer like Ishtar and The Fortune. Beatty’s directorial efforts – just look at the classic likes of Heaven Can Wait, Bulworth and his Oscar-winning Reds – have generally been terrific…when he’s allowed his name to be officially attached in the end. It is well-known Beatty called the shots on both Love Affair and Town & Country, both of which are depressingly dismal endeavors.

    Rules Don’t Apply, Beatty’s first official directing-writing credit since Bulworth in 1998, falls somewhere toward the middle of the filmmaker’s collective work. It’s nowhere near as stunning as Reds or entertaining as Heaven Can Wait but nor does it induce the headaches that other Beatty works have.

    Set in 1958, the picture opens with Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins), a devout Baptist beauty queen from small town Virginia, arriving in Hollywood, where she plans to become an actress. Under contract with the elusive entrepreneur and film tycoon Howard Hughes (Beatty), Mabrey spends her early days in La La Land getting acquainted with her driver, Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich), who is also on the Hughes payroll. The two carry on a charming flirtation that tests their staunch religious beliefs and must remain hidden from Hughes, who forbids romance between his employees and actresses.

    The film’s opening, Beatty-free half hour marks a fine showcase for Collins and Ehrenreich, both immensely talented and charismatic performers, long overdue for such leading turns. While their chemistry is a delight, however, this section suffers a ton from poor editing, with abrupt cutaways as actors seem to be in mid-sentence and an overwhelming feeling that a hefty chunk of material was left on the cutting room floor. There is a scene, for instance, featuring the great Ed Harris and Amy Madigan in which the Oscar-nominees have virtually no dialogue. Scenes featuring Annette Bening as Mabrey’s mother also feel trimmed to the bone. Perhaps this explains why Rules Don’t Apply is officially, curiously billed as running two hours and thirty-eight minutes in length, yet in actuality only runs for about two – Beatty and his editors, no doubt, were taking a chainsaw to this thing at the 11-‘o-clock hour.

    The remaining hour and half of the film is largely dominated by Beatty’s Hughes, who at this point in his life was a notorious recluse, clearly plagued by mental illness and in very hot water with the U.S. government. Beatty’s performance is a true roller coaster ride – while I don’t think his Hughes is quite as compelling as Leonardo DiCaprio’s in The Aviator or Jason Robards’ in Melvin and Howard, it’s still an awfully convincing portrayal and his energy keeps the film from ever dozing off in his scenes. Beatty hits so many notes here, both tragic and funny, and has terrific chemistry with his leads.

    While Beatty’s performance is a memorable one for sure, however, his writing and directing are, I’m afraid, haphazard and unfocused. Yes, Rules Don’t Apply looks fantastic – how could it not with the likes of Caleb Deschanel taking on the cinematography and Albert Wolsky designing the costumes – and the central trio of actors are terrific but these great things, all too much of the time, feel lost at sea in a choppily edited and convoluted endeavor.

    Fans of the filmmaker need to see this. It is, after all, the rarest of occasions when we get a new Warren Beatty flick. And I’m certainly hopeful he goes on to write, direct, produce and star in more feature films – don’t allow the disappointing reviews and box office receipts deter you! But yes, Rules Don’t Apply, while sporting several worthwhile things, does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.

    C+

    For the finest in film reviews and awards analysis, please visit me at The Awards Connection!

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    Alex Meyer
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    #1201960097

    The cast was fine, but the writing was poor and the editing was questionable. The pacing was so sluggish that it felt nearly 4 hours long. Olive Kitteridge was 4 hours long, but it felt much faster than Rules Don’t Apply.

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    clay bryce
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    #1201960106

    I saw it with a theater that was maybe 40% full. At 44, I was far & away, the youngest person in the theater. When it was over, I heard at least 3 senior citizens saying that they fell asleep in the film. “Don’t worry,” another lady said to one of them. “You certainly didn’t miss anything.”

    That’s the perfect review for this film, one of Warren Beatty’s rare failures as a writer/director. The editing in the first hour is so erratic and hectic that scenes come & go so quickly and also are so brief, one wonders why the hell some of them were even kept. (I mean, did Lily & Annette’s characters have anything more to do than to eat supper night after night?) I feel that this was a much longer film that was truncated to try and make as much money as it can. Boy has that backfired.

    While Warren Beatty isn’t half bad in this film, the tone of the film is so unfocused that after awhile, one wonders exactly what the hell the movie is about? Is it about Howard Hughes or is it about a couple of sexually pent-up schoolkids trying to decided if they are going to fornicate with each other?

    All the star cameos in the film were more of a nuisance than a pleasure. I absolutely hate when films boast such a large cast of very well-known actors, only to not have them listed in the opening credits, because, when you’re trying to get into the movie, people around you go, “Is that Ed HArris?” “I don’t know. But I think that’s his wife playing his wife there.” “What?” A little later on. “I didn’t know ALec Baldwin was in this.” “God, Candice Bergen sure let herself go.” That’s some of what I had to hear from the handful of seniors who were not giving into sleep. If the credits had been there from the beginning, I wouldn’t have had to hear such ridiculousness and I might have been able to like the movie a little better.

    I never thought I’d say this, but, out of all of Warren Beatty’s movies, before seeing this, I never would thought I would suddenly like, not to mention appreciate, Dick Tracy, much, much more.

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    Andrew Carden
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    #1201960331

    On a similar note, at my theater, a lady in the audience would announce (to herself) whenever a notable performer graced the screen. “That’s Paul Sorvino!” “Is that…is that Candice Bergen?”

    For the finest in film reviews and awards analysis, please visit me at The Awards Connection!

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    Alex Meyer
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    #1201960635

    On a similar note, at my theater, a lady in the audience would announce (to herself) whenever a notable performer graced the screen. “That’s Paul Sorvino!” “Is that…is that Candice Bergen?”

    For the finest in film reviews and awards analysis, please visit me at The Awards Connection!

    Andrew, the same thing happened to me three years ago when I saw The Company You Keep. There were two old ladies sitting a few rows ahead of me, and every time somebody came on screen, they kept whispering to each other “Look, there’s Robert Redford! Look, there’s Nick Nolte! Look, there’s Julie Christie!” etc.

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