Dear Mr. Tennant,
Roughly this time last year I was raging against your movie, "Fool's Gold". Let me be fair, I still don't think it's your best work. "Fools Rush In" is much better. But here in the depths of a mid-western winter, the idea of "Fool's Gold" held a strange appeal to my husband and I as we walked the video store aisles for what felt like the millionth time in a month. It's tropical setting called to us as we pondered what movies we could rent to remind us that we are not locked forever in this hideous gray blanket of a season. So we rented it, despite having seen it a year ago and hating it.
It's still pretty messed up. To be honest, I still think it comes across as racist. And there are too many characters, but I noticed a couple of things this time around.
It has a very 90's sensibility to it, like all your romantic comedies. Viewing it through an early 90's lens makes the film, and it's sense of humor, more understandable to me. It's like the cinematic optometrist gave me "choice A" (modern adventure film) and "choice B" (early 90's rom com). Choice B is far more clear.
Also, like most geeks, I'm WAY too harsh on everything. I'm defensive. I'm downright mean. I review everything like it should be an Oscar winner. Like it should be Shakespeare. Instead of taking a break from my venom-spewing sometimes to go to the theater to try to have some light-hearted fun, I'm sitting there ready to derail everything and point out even it's most microscopic flaws. It's not you Mr. Tennant, it's me. I'm jealous. Jealous that you're maing movies and I'm not.
I'm a walking double standard. Pronouncing the wonders of movies like, "Overboard" and "Housesitter" because I grew up watching them. Relentlessly attacking anything that comes along trying to do something similar in tone while complaining about the fact that they don't make movies like they used to. You see? I've become a jerk.
You just wanted to make a pretty romantic comedy and we skewered you. All of us. Especially me. I'm ashamed to link to this now...I was at the very heights of my snide meanness. Instead of maturely explaining the ways in which I thought the movie didn't work, I...well, you'll see...
Fools Gold Review
I googled some more reviews from the film last year, and it looks like we all pretty much felt the same way about it at that time. But renting it this time, I actually had a lot of fun with it. It works better on our television than it did on the big screen. It's a beautifully shot movie and I appreciated the premise this time around. I love the idea of husband/wife treasure hunters. This time, by the end, I had a smile on my face. Despite the film's flaws. Heck, even McConaughey had a kind of Kurt Russell charm about him this time around. I'm noticing that he's almost a character actor, which I think is kind of cool.
For what it's worth, I hope you don't stop trying to produce romantic comedies. I bet it's really hard to do that right now, because let's face it...dark is really in, even for superhero movies and action films. So I bet that makes your job extra difficult.
I don't want to be a mean geek, and I was certainly mean when it came to "Fools Gold". I crossed the line from film criticism into snarky brat territory. I even made fun of the actor's teeth! For being too white. Re-reading my review, I think I sound like a jealous and bitter mid-westerner. Like a grade school bully.
Let me be honest and say what lots of movie reviewers won't admit...bad films are more fun to review. There are more opportunities to crack jokes and try to be witty and funny. We sit safely behind our laptops and say what we would've done instead if we had been in charge. But we're not in charge.
This October, I had the chance to be 50% in charge of a short film...and it was HARD. Way harder than I thought it was going to be. It's made me a more merciful reviewer. Now that I know there are so many factors at work on a film set and during pre-production, I get that a film can come out less than ideal. It's not always the director's fault.
I don't want to take easy shots at filmmakers or actors who are trying to do something that's different or light or happy. Especially when they're working with original material.
That deserves a different kind of criticism than most of us are used to doling out...the kind we normally reserve for all things Trek, DC, and Marvel.