Rhymes With Mitty

MovieBob

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Rhymes With Mitty

James Thurber?s original 1939 story might be the ur-text of the 20th Century ?Lovable Loser? trope. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty manages to bungle that pedigree to no end.

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ColaWarVeteran

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Movies like this are the kind that make me reevaluate my life and make me believe I should be doing something more with it. But then again I also have a boring, humdrum job that isn't very fulfilling and leaves me with a lot of time to think. I don't know, maybe Bob's just not the kind of guy to want more out of life.
 

shogunblade

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I get kind of disappointed when I hear that a movie like this doesn't work. I kind of wanted to think it might be an underrated classic that maybe only I would get, but the amount of Product Placement (Which I think is still reserved for Adam Sandler, and the classic example I can think of is Little Nicky and its obvious placement) within the movie makes me sick to my stomach.

I suppose if there was a tactful way of employing product placement, I'd see it and go, "Well, it's not that bad, I suppose." On the other hand, when the movie is trying to give Eharmony a little support, I just get angry (Time to Admit Bias, I was actually told by Eharmony that their algorithm wouldn't work for me and couldn't 'match me with anybody'. I can't decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, but if Walter Mitty can get an account while just being 'average', What does that make me?).

I will still see this movie, but now not without a large bit of doubt filling me with the inevitable 'It's okay for what it is', which, for a movie like this and for a development hell history this movie has had, That's not okay.

Great review, Moviebob.
 

MovieBob

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ColaWarVeteran said:
Movies like this are the kind that make me reevaluate my life and make me believe I should be doing something more with it. But then again I also have a boring, humdrum job that isn't very fulfilling and leaves me with a lot of time to think. I don't know, maybe Bob's just not the kind of guy to want more out of life.
More likely he thinks that this movie is doing things other movies have done better. A bad movie with a positive message is still a bad movie.
 

WiseBass

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It's an odd story to make into a big-budget movie, considering the whole point in the original short story is that nothing is happening - it's just Walter escaping in his mind from a boring day out with his wife. It seems almost more like you'd want to play it as a kind of slow-motion tragedy, with Walter escaping into his fantasies while his marriage and life are falling apart. You could even throw in job instability in there, just to further the contrast between the more mundane disappointments that characterize his life versus the fantasies he escapes to.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Can't wait to go see Her, looks promising.

I am disappointed that Ben Stiller's directorial debut wasn't that great, this could've been something interesting, but sadly Mitty sits in they grey area between good and bad movies.
 

MovieBob

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So, it's essentially 'it was all a dream' (which is a trope that almost never works well IMO), stretched into an entire film?

Yeah... no.
 

grey_space

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Apr 16, 2012
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Pretty shitty so huh Bob?

It's a shame I enjoyed the original story by Thurber and the movie starring Danny Kaye was a childhood favourite when it popped up on weekend daytime TV.
 

SecondPrize

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I'm not a big fan of the Stiller movies where he just takes abuse. Seriously though, Bob, come on with the Papa Johns thing. It was founded 30 years ago. Stiller's age doesn't matter, Mitty's does. Apparently there's enough wrong here that you don't need to stretch that far to come up with something.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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One reason why movies with product placement don't really bother me is that its already present so much in every day life I don't actively notice or look for it in movies except for a minor "meh"-induced shrug or a "I passed that on the way here, kinda" thought. I think we scream so much about product placement that really we ignore the fact that it is always around us and it creeping into movies is just a by-product of a consumerist society. We pay to be entertained by stories that might take place in a semi-real life setting then complain when real life actually makes its banal appearance.
Sure I like Kevin Smith's world of "my own branding", and Seinfeld's track record for non-consumerist products, but in the end its not a huge concern for me and really shouldn't be a breaking point on whether or not a movie is good or bad.
Hell I worked at Papa Johns as a teenager up through my 20's so I could relate to that very easily as well as moving on to a humdrum shit job in an office with daily fantasies akin to the Family Guy cut-away gags. So a movie that emulates this to any degree would sit well with me. Sorry Bob, we don't all get to live a life of watching movies for a fucking living and have to get our fantastical kicks some other way, especially when most of us have shit jobs that we'd love to ditch for something more exciting, fan-fucking-tastic or even noteworthy.
"We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club
An apt quote detailing how a lot of us grew up thinking we might be something great, and turned out to be mundane as hell. Thats part of life, I'm not pissed off about it though. Just disappointed I'd never be an astronaut, see the moon first-hand or even experience zero-g for a few moments without benefit of a roller-coaster.
 

AntiChrist

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So it's a FUCK YOU, IT'S JANUARY! movie [http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewstclair/8337067711/?rb=1], but released in December?
 

Mr. Q

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I remember reading the original short story and watching the original 1947 version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty back in high school. It was a fun movie that I enjoyed and it was my first introduction to actor/comedian Danny Kaye. Fast forward a couple years and I read reports that Jim Carrey would be doing a remake of the movie (this was back when he was the toast of Hollywood). I was more interested in seeing that then Ben Stiller's version. between the lack luster trailers and Bob's review, the whole idea feels completely wasted. It could have been something better, something that could be compared to the 1947 version. Sadly, looks like nobody even put in the effort to give two shits about this version. -_-
 

Psychobabble

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Mr. Q said:
I remember reading the original short story and watching the original 1947 version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty back in high school. It was a fun movie that I enjoyed and it was my first introduction to actor/comedian Danny Kaye. Fast forward a couple years and I read reports that Jim Carrey would be doing a remake of the movie (this was back when he was the toast of Hollywood). I was more interested in seeing that then Ben Stiller's version. between the lack luster trailers and Bob's review, the whole idea feels completely wasted. It could have been something better, something that could be compared to the 1947 version. Sadly, looks like nobody even put in the effort to give two shits about this version. -_-
Well while I love the Danny Kaye adaptation, James Thurber didn't. He was annoyed that Samuel Goldwyn had the story altered to better fit with Kaye's known comedic strengths. With the Stiller adaptation I was hoping they'd try to stick closer to the short story but sadly it sounds like they did the same thing as the Danny Kaye version, only with far less satisfactory results.

Hell. Since instant ego gratification is just a button click away for most people these days I'm not sure how the Walter Mitty "daydreamer" persona scans with modern audiences anyway.
 

BrotherRool

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2013-1984 = 29

If Ben Stiller is 48 years old that means he was at least 17. That's okay isn't it? (Just being a maths pedant)
 

MovieBob

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Not much to really add to this, but one bit did catch me...
Walter apparently worked there as a teenager (giving up his adventurous dreams in order to work and support his widowed mother functions as a kind of "origin story" for his sad-sackery.) Papa John's was not founded until 1984. Ben Stiller is 48 years old.
1) That's assuming that Ben Stiller's age is representative of the character. I haven't seen the movie, but unless you are saying that the movie said his character was 48 years old as well, that means jack shit. It's not unusual, or the first time, that Hollywood has had older actors playing characters younger than their actual age.

2) Even if his character was 48, you're talking about a difference of nearly 30 years. I know you're a movie buff, but that's basic math right there anyone should know. That would put his character at 18 at the time the store opened, which depending on your viewpoint, can still count as a teenager.


Again, 2's also ignoring the first point, in which his character could easily of been 40-48 if it hadn't been stated in the movies done for it OR the book, which from the bit of searching I've done, doesn't have an age listed whatsoever. Which means you're trying to argue that the plot impossibility exists solely upon a fact that exists outside of the movie's context.
 

Xelanath

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Akichi Daikashima said:
I am disappointed that Ben Stiller's directorial debut wasn't that great, this could've been something interesting, but sadly Mitty sits in they grey area between good and bad movies.
Not quite. He's already directed Reality Bites, The Cable Guy, Zoolander, and Tropic Thunder. Been around the block, this chap has.
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

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Dec 11, 2009
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Xelanath said:
Akichi Daikashima said:
I am disappointed that Ben Stiller's directorial debut wasn't that great, this could've been something interesting, but sadly Mitty sits in they grey area between good and bad movies.
Not quite. He's already directed Reality Bites, The Cable Guy, Zoolander, and Tropic Thunder. Been around the block, this chap has.
Well that shows my own ignorance.

Thanks for pointing it out though, it will prevent me looking like a right wally later down the line.
 

SecondPrize

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BrotherRool said:
2013-1984 = 29

If Ben Stiller is 48 years old that means he was at least 17. That's okay isn't it? (Just being a maths pedant)
Ben Stiller's age doesn't matter. How many twenty-something actors play high school students in movies? Mitty couldn't be 40 with stiller playing him?
 

MB202

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When I saw the title, I immediately thought of Benjamin Button. And Timothy Green, to a lesser extent. I'd say Timothy Green and this movie are deliberately trying to ape Benjamin Button, which is kind of sad... in a way.
 

Korsgaard

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It's a shame so many critics are writing this off as a dud - I had high hopes and plans to see it before that.