Matt Damon

I plan to read The New Yorker for the rest of my life. I like the cartoons, the book reviews and the profiles and the humor and the poetry, blah-blah-blah, and I’ve always had a lot of faith in the magazine’s movie reviews, always until last week when it totally failed me and I almost skipped “The Adjustment Bureau.”

Because Denby didn’t like it at all. In fact, every now and then a half way petulant and slightly abused note came into his review as if the movie had failed him personally. It was the sort of note that makes me wonder if he went to see the movie with someone who really liked it and they had a fight about it afterwards with him coming out on the losing end.

I think he made a mistake at the beginning and thought he was going to see an action adventure, something with eye-popping special effects and nail-biting tension. Instead “The Adjustment Bureau” is a romantic comedy fantasy about a man so in love with a woman whose name he doesn’t know that he will ride the same bus for three years, hoping to see her. The characters I call The Adjusters are amusingly omnipotent and bungling at the same time plus they dress like the guys on Mad Men and made me laugh out loud. Matt Damon, powered by love alone, outsmarts them every time. That’s funny because they’re practically demigods.

There’s nobody bad in this movie. No one gets shot or strangled and the characters talk to each other like real people who want to figure how to work things out so no one suffers too much. And as the universe of the movie gets wackier, Matt takes it all in his stride. Sitting in the movie, I bought into it all and turned off the critic in my head, the one who whispers that a movie is a “metaphysical Cracker Jack box without a prize in its empty calorie depths.”

Really, if you want metaphysics, read Kierkegaard.

At the moment, Matt Damon is my favorite movie star. He doesn’t have to act much in this movie. Everything depends on him being one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. But if you saw him in “The Good Shepherd” you know he can bring real depth to a subtle, tricky role. In that he played a CIA bureaucrat and his gravity makes it one of the saddest movies I know.  In “The Good Shepherd” and “The Adjustment Bureau” he’s helped by his body which has left the Bourne conspiracies behind and become attractively stocky. I might even say pudgy. In other words, he looks like a real man and not a variety of Ken doll. I entirely believed him as the charismatic politician with an incandescent smile who might be President one day if he can just curb his impulse to be himself.

“The Adjustment Bureau” is apparently doing well at the box office despite a pan in the New Yorker. Silly romances are so common on the screen and all seem so much the same that it’s cool to see one where the story line twists and tickles and the couple (she’s Emily Blunt) actually set off sparks. He talks and she really seems to be listening. She dances and he watches like he’s never seen anything so beautiful in his life. Lots of fun on a Saturday night out with my best boy.

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2 Responses to “Matt Damon”

  1. Jonty says:

    Dru, I love that you love the New Yorker. I don’t buy it as much as I used to (I scab a lot of articles online for free) but one day I will get a subscription. I even have a book of Antony Lane’s film reviews, which are a lot of fun to read. And Matt Damon, well, he’s on a roll. True Grit, awesome. Have you seen The Informant? That was before his pudgy hunk phase but it’s certainly worlds away from Ken-Bourne.

    P.S. your blog wallpaper is nice and comforting. It reminds me of a mohair blanket.

  2. Kiki says:

    Ah, those pesky critics! I’ve finally learned not to take anyone’s opinion too seriously when it comes to films, books or music. I’m more of a let-me-see-for-myself kind of person now and once I establish an appreciation for and familiarity with an actor, writer or musician, I tend to be very loyal.

    In watching “The Adjustment Bureau”, I felt the Matt Damon and Emily Blunt characters had a real connection, a real chemistry that drew them together and it was pure enjoyment watching them on the screen.

    I have to agree with you about Matt Damon, he is a wonderful actor (Bourne physique or not) and a wonderful humanitarian, which makes me admire him all the more!