Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a movie that runs for 2 and a bit hours. Despite the name it's not about the thrash metal music scene at all. Instead it's a movie about a boy who suffers from Asperger's syndrome overcoming his fear of swing sets.
It is a movie riddled with deep morals and a plethora of subplots. In fact, the movie plot takes up about 20 minutes of the movie. The remainder of the movie is made up of subplot and postcard images of New York.
It stars some kid whose name I didn't bother learning but he looks startlingly like Macaulay Culkin from his Home Alone days. Another movie with a misleading title that has nothing to do with a teenager learning how to access online porn at all.
He is extremely well cast. It's as though the casting agent looked for someone who acted like an Asperger's sufferer - in other words, someone who is unable to express human emotional queues and has difficulty expressing how he's feeling in a manner other people can comprehend.
Tom Hank's main role in this movie is being a voice on an answering machine played about 80 times during the movie. For those wanting to produce a movie with star attraction, this is a fantastic idea. Take a major star and record 3 minutes of audio - the quality doesn't have to be good, as it's suppose to sound like a recorded message. Play it over and over again in the movie, and just pay him for the time he was working. In fact, a good impersonator would probably save you even more.
Sandra Bullock played a part that wasn't the romantic interest in a romantic comedy. Her performance left me with the feeling that she is well cast as the romantic interest in a romantic comedy.
There was also a stellar cast of non-stellar supporting actors. A particular highlight was the old man who said nothing, and as a result had the best lines in the movie.
A boy is regularly lied to by his father who makes up stories about places that don't exist. His father then sends him out places on his own to find these non-existent places. He doesn't find them, which is hardly surprising.
- Moral 1: When you have an only child and you want to get a little lovin' with your significant other, any method of getting them out of the house is justifiable.
At some stage the father takes his boy to central park in New York and tells him to get on the swing. The boy refuses to, and the father take him home without discussion.
- Moral 2: Parenting is all about pandering to your child's whim and running your life around their desires.
The boy finds a key, which is the catalyst for the action, or the key to unlocking the tragic secrets in the boy's heart.
- Moral 3: There is no such thing as having too obvious a metaphor.
The boy then searches New York, lies to everyone, travels through dangerous places, and meeting complete strangers. The fact that this boy is supposed to be intelligent, yet can't work out he could significantly save time by ringing people whose names he discovered in a phone book is never discussed.
- Moral 4: Whenever you are faced with an insurmountable plot hole, just keep going.
In a movie set against a backdrop of post 9/11 New York, he meets lots of strangers from ethnic backgrounds ranging from Jewish, Caucasian, and African-American, and back again. These people are all kind and take care of him. He doesn't meet any nice people from Muslim or Arabic background.
- Moral 5: Islamic people are evil.
He finally learns how to jump off a swing and "fly", much like his father encouraged him. This is juxtaposed against a backdrop of his father's possible suicide by jumping out of a building.
- Moral 6: Suicide is an option, and it's just like flying.
edit Major lessons in movie making
A fantastic idea for a movie is to have it centered around a little boy. The big hits of the past year are Hugo, about a boy with a lock that needs a key, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, about a boy with a key that needs a lock.
The concept of having a young boy as the main character in a high budget film has only recently come back into vogue. For a while it seemed that this was an essential, but it stopped with Home Alone II released in 1992.
This trend seemed to start again with Where the wild things are released in late 2009. Which means there was a significant gap between movies of this genre.
There are a number of reasons why this could be the case Part of the theory is that it relates to Macaulay Culkin choosing to give up being a child star in 1993. However, there may be a darker reason at work here. Have a look at the following time line.
- Home Alone - a movie about a young boy trapped and at the mercy of two bad men - is released.
- Michael Jackson's Black or White video is released, starting Culkin.
- Home Alone II - a movie about a young boy running around the streets of New York on a mission - is released.
- Michael Jackson accused of child abuse.
- Culkin quits being a "child actor".
- Michael Jackson case is settled out of court.
- HIStory is released, along with accompanying book where Jackson denies all child sex abuse claims.
- Home Alone 3 released, but fails at box office.
- Home Alone 4 is produced but doesn't even make it to cinematic release.
- Michael Jackson accused of child abuse. Again. He is acquitted due to lack of evidence.
- Michael Jackson dies after a cocktail of drugs is given to him.
- Later that same year, Where the wild things are movie is released. It is the first movie with a young boy star to have commercial and critical success since 1993.
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - a movie about a young boy running around the streets of New York on a mission - is released.
Of course, this could all just be coincidence. After all, it's not like they're about to make.