Rumor Has It Everything Old is New Again
by Kandel G. Eaton
"I don't believe in
happy endings, but I do believe in happy travels, because ultimately......you
die at a very young age, or you live long enough to watch your
friends die. It's a mean thing, life."
From the competitive mix of
entertainment formats, and its need to feed, quick sequels, and
formulaic updates of film have become mainstream money grabbers.
There are some subtle changes taking place, however. Recent film
fashion appears to favor quality, along with personal reflections
of life and culture. This has created a third vision, a Meta-forum
in film, similar to the web's bloggers. It is a new version of
"pastiche," a genre of film as a centralized compilation
of many opinions and ideas, some mass media popular, some not
that abound in our civilization.
The unleashing of digital technology has compressed and stylized
other cultures and every generation gap, making them just ripe
for "pastiche films." Their imagery does the translating
for us, to allow an easy access and understanding of those experiences.
Our differences co-mingle inside these movies inside other movies,
which revolve around older movies to affect and inspire them.
As filmmakers continue to script into the industry's memorable
classics, in this case The Graduate, they will keep actors
in jobs amidst their digital displacement.
"Pastiches" can clarify our history, what is happening
to us, of what we think about. It an aggregate form of free speech
and storytelling that can eliminate political correctness as
a fear (finally!). And, in its initial present anarchic state,
cause myriad other first amendment issues (too much personalization
can be a bad thing). Demand for more "pastiches" may
be the impetus to lead the vox populi to mainstream video logs
(vlogs), moblogs (sound-bitesized vlogs), and info snacks (media
trailers of artists, celebrities, and TV shows). All of these
can be a major source of ideas for a "pastiche." And
over time the "pastiche" can evolve to replace other
genres of films.
Rumor Has It is supposedly
based upon a true rumor of a Pasadena CA family, and is the first
film I have seen that has made me laugh about all these changes.
Written by Ted Griffin, it is refreshing to see a lawyer, Jeff
Daly (an attentive, human Mark Ruffalo), that actually has a
life outside his work. Director Rob Reiner again uses his elegant
touch to provoke lasting fun from a single idea as he did in
When Harry Met Sally (written by Nora Ephron). The pleasant
surprise is that it works as well as Sleepless in Seattle
(directed by Nora Ephron). And, happily, the all-star cast invites
us cineastes, into their "pastiche" as a friend. It
reveals that good things can come from facing our troubles openly
and honestly. That we can change by knowing how we got to be
who we are.
The lead is prodigal daughter Sarah Huttinger (a funny, vulnerable
Jennifer Anniston). She and fiancé Jeff attend the wedding
of her sister Annie (perky, spoiled Mena Suvari) and Scott (sweet,
silent Steve Sandvoss) to discover her grandmother, Katharine
Richelieu (an affably raucous Shirley MacLaine), is the real
Mrs. Robinson. She finds out from her Aunt Betsy (a kinder, gentler
Kathy Bates) about the real Benjamin Braddock, rich dropout Beau
Burroughs (a horny yet suave Kevin Costner). He had slept with
her deceased mother and might be her father. She feels this could
explain why she feels alienated from her family all these years.
Her travels take her back home to her father, Earl Huttinger
(protective, loving Richard Jenkins), who ultimately gives her
all the answers she needs. And from a year of great loss provides
us with a healing ending we all need.
Posted January 12,2006