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WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? (Hanging Up, 2000)

April 14, 2008

Before you get the idea that I’m only going to talk about movies I’ve seen that I really love, I am going to talk about those movies that did waste two hours of my life.  I thought I’d start with the movie that I consider to be one of the worst I have ever seen.  That dubious distinction belongs to HANGING UP.

You would think that a movie directed by Diane Keaton, starring herself, Meg Ryan, and Walter Matthau(in his farewell performance), would be either hysterically funny OR an emotionally moving drama about what makes families work.  But this was not the case.

HANGING UP was one of the most self-indulgent and self-pitying movies I ever had the misfortune of seeing.  I went to this over-the-top melodrama as a favor to my parents, since they went with me to see THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.  For that reason, I decided to have an open mind about HANGING UP.  It took FOREVER for anything remotely interesting to happen.  I can summarize the plot for you in one sentence.  Two sisters argue (for almost the whole movie) about how to deal with their dying father.  That’s it, folks

As a drama, it was shrieky (the constant arguing and crying wore out its welcome about 45 minutes in).  As a comedy, there was a total of ONE joke that got laughter, delivered by Matthau’s character.  This was the first time I ever looked at my watch more than the screen HOPING it would end soon.  After about 90 VERY LONG minutes, it finally did.  My mom actually apologized to my dad and me for dragging us to this movie.
I remember walking out of this movie wondering how it could have gone so wrong so fast.  The cast was full of talent, the story HAD potential to be either very funny or very dramatic, and the Ephron sisters are very gifted writers.  But this was a MESS from start to finish.  To this day, I have yet to see a dramatic comedy as bad as HANGING UP, and I am grateful.

I meant to have a new release review up today, but I was unable to get out to the theaters this weekend.  Hopefully next week, I’ll have something for you.

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2 comments

  1. well, you have your opinion, but let me just say – Hanging up isn’t the worst movie on the Earth, there are BUNCH of worse ones. “Holiday” of Nancy Mayers, “My best lover”(or what was the title of Meryl Streep vs.Uma Turman?), Shopgirl, Igby goes down, About Schmidt and I can go on and on. The main thing, which makes these movies bad – are scripts. Weak boring scripts. But I accept if phylosophically. This is crisis of genre in holywood. At least I love to watch my fav.actors there..


  2. Thank you for replying Olya (you have the honor of being the first responder to ANY of my posts). You raise an excellent point about the crisis of Hollywood being boring scripts from the writers. Those writers think they are making a statement about people and life that we all respond to, when in fact, the script really has nothing to say, and 90 minutes or two hours to say it. In any case, I’ll let everyone know the moment I see a movie that changes my negative opinion about HANGING UP.
    Thank you again, Olya, and feel free to respond anytime!



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