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Alan Smithee

Oh c'mon, did you really expect the literary quality of Chekhov with Catch and Release?

I was disappointed (even if I laughed when I was supposed to) in the movie, there just wasn't any there there, if you know what I mean. Not surprising, just disappointing--especially for a romantic like me.


I read the script and was worried:

Though I'm glad I was right about Kevin Smith and will dutifully shell out my $8 to $10 to see him do his thing.

I love Vanya on 42nd Street - the one with Wallace Shawn and Julianne Moore. Have you seen it? And Hannah and Her Sisters is my 2nd favorite Woody Allen film. (My first is Stardust Memories, when he was channeling Fellini.)

E.C. Henry

Almoast saw "Catch and Release" yesterday, but went to see one of your 2006 fav's "Pan's Lybrynth" instead. Was going to let that movie slip past me, but since YOU liked it so much...

Folks if you wanna see the most creative plot of 2006 go see "Pan's Lybryth." I think that's the reason you like it so much, Billy, but I'm not sure. Fusing a general's struggle to hold down a remote outpost in Spain durring the facists early rule, with that general determined to keep his mistress alive long enough to give birth his son, and then focus the story on a little girl's perspective of getting thrown into this monster's world, while watching her mother suffer, then getting visited at night by demonic characters, who offer her a better life IS downright OUT THERE. Thanks, Billy.

Did appreciate the creative side of the story to "Pan's Lybrith." Should win this years best original screenplay, BUT can't recommend it because it is SO dark, and ventures into pagan rituals and suggest that demonic visitations may be a way to improve your life -- a subtle message that doens't sit well with me.

Sorry to go off topic. Even the previews for "Catch and Release" made it look a flawed movie. Love Jeniffer Garner though. Hope sometime soon she can return to form and recapture some of that magic she put into her chacter, Jenna Rinks, in "13 Going on 30."

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA


What a great piece. I always enjoy reading your reviews. (I saw "The Girl in the Cafe" on your recommendation--very good!)

Even if you "just" want to be entertained, shouldn't a "comedy" be interesting and honest? (I had intelligent in there orginally, but I like dumb comedies too.) It almost seems like it's the LEAST we should expect.


This script needed a persistent story editor's pesky little questions: #1 What's the theme? #2Who the hell are these people #3 How do they change? (but answer #1 and 2 first, puhleeze)
Mean-spirited reviews about how Olyphant can't act and Garner isn't leading lady material, make me scream that, "Actors need subtext!! What are they supposed to invent when the characters have no past life, no current life and no visible desires?"
The preceedng rant is a direct result of also having come to the flick with high expectations. Another decent premise squandered. Do ya suppose anybody will notice if I simply rewrite this sucker? (And The Holiday, and Failure to Launch?)


Thanks Billy and fellow writers! I have not seen Catch and Release yet but I always want a happy ending when I go to a rom com :)

I want to believe that you can have pain and sadness in your life and still end up happy and in love...for ever after :)

It is up to the dramas and dramedies to be real and honest and painful.

I wanted to see Pan's Labyrinth, but now I am afraid it may not have a happy ending :)

Yay for the Rom Com!


I was just thinking of my favorite movie of the year, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. It is not a rom com, but it is a dramedy that has death and sadness, but at the end you feel inspired about life and the power of family and love.

I can take the pain and sorrow, as long as there is hope for happiness by the end of the movie.

Let Happiness rule!

THANKS Billy and fellow writers!


Alan: Of course not expecting Chekhov-caliber experience from "Catch," but expecting some measure of DEPTH, given the subject matter...

Christina: LOVED Vanya on 42nd St.

EC, So glad you enjoyed "Pan's"!

Jamy, totally with you there re: comedy, and the best ones can be just as emotionally detonative (I know, not a real word, but you get the point).

Hey Helen, please, go ahead, write them better, will you? (No one will notice by the time yours gets released.)

And your comment on what actors need is so true -- last night's SAG awards bore this out, as quite a number of winners made this very point.

Debbie, I'm thinking you should in fact skip "Pan's"... it is capital-D DARK, with a tragic ending; there is hope in there, but it's kind of meta-hope, and what's sad in the climax is so sad that it could make one weep for a week...


"Catch and Release" isn't out here yet, but since I have a ticket to "The Seagull" at the Royal Court on Saturday (with Kristen Scott Thomas, Chiwetal Ejiofor and Mackenzie Crook) and am hoping to get to the RSC Seagull with Ian McKellen later this spring, I now simply must see C+R when it finally arrives on these shores just so I can say, well, Billy was right, Chekhov is yer man for romcom


Isn't that the same bathrobe Johnny Depp wore in The Secret Window?


Susannah Grant would have done well to take the advice you give in your January 31st post on Groundhog Day. As a former Boulder Valley Girl, I can tell you that Boulder, Colorado is a much more complex and colorful community with more to offer as a backdrop than Celestial Seasonings tea, strolling the Pearl Street Mall and fly fishing (what the...?). I rushed out to see this film to get a healthy dose of homesickness, and was disappointed in the one-note portrayal of my hometown.

Lived there 30 years, never fly fished...ever.


Hi All!
I really enjoyed the post, and so you know your message has hit home, I even ordered Chekhov's plays to see what the fuss is all about. I was on the market for a recommendation for something neat to read - so thanks! I also wanted to add that I "discovered" Preson Sturges after reading about him here, and I recently was taken on a wonderful journey with veronica lake...
thanks for all the great 'raves'


Well, careful, Sal -- What I'm really saying is that he sets a high reality bar for "comedy" and "dramedy" that most contemporary rom-coms can't get close to.

Meanwhile, please come back with a review; Kirsten Scott as Arkadina should be something -- and Chiwetal, too!

My favorite SEAGULL ever was also in London and a family affair:
Vanessa Redgrave as the mom, daughter Natasha Richardson as Nina (I will never, ever forget the peculiar, piercing intonations she gave to the signature line, "I'm a seagull!"), production directed by father Tony Richardson.

MaryAn: I believe so, but they had to make two of them and stitch them together to fit Smith.

Welcome, Rareed: Sorry to hear that. It did look a little TGTBT
(too good to be true)...

Amy: We aim to please (and turn you on); hope you got the Schmidt translations as they're really among the best.

E.C. Henry

Just saw "Catch and Release" this afternoon, then saw "Because I Said So" (which I like a lot more, but this time I'll stay on topic)

"Catch and Release" is no classic, but I did like the Friz/Gray romance more than you did, Billy. When grieving for someone you loved, for some reason, I bought into the fact that Gray might fall for a womanizer like Fritz, and that a womanizer like Fritz might actually want a girl like Gray to be his girlfriend for the long haul. Though I wholehearted agree with you that Timothy Oliphant didn't do anything special to make his role memorible.

What dissappointed me the most with "Catch and Release" was how un-funny I found Kevin Smith character to be. The guy mine as well had comic relief stamped on his forehead -- yet I thought the guy bombed everytime the lights turned his way for that note to be played. Equally disaapointing was the "Dennis" character, Fritz's rival to Gray's heart. In my opinion, the screenplay need a greater focus on his charcter to get us to care and see him as a serious threat to Fritz.

As for Jeniffer Gardener, her big hands, and big feet, and homecooked apple pie good looks do it for me. Two hours spent looking at her did a lot to help me forget "Catch and Releases" flaws. Okay, so when it comes to J.Gardner I'm a horn-dog. Damn, if only there was no such thing as a "Ben Afflick."

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

P.S. The previews for "Music and Lyrics" look AWESOME. First Hugh Grant movie EVER I'm actually looking forward to seeing.

And on the plus side, early rom/coms from 2007 are definately looking better than '06's offerings.


Billy, The Seagull was fab - there's a review on my blog now

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