Friday, September 24, 2010

Me and Orson Welles

'Me and Orson Welles' stars Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Christian McKay as Orson Welles. The film takes place in New York City in November of 1937. Zac Efron's character, Richard, is a young 17 year old 'actor' who seeks fame and fortune in the big apple. Upon doing so, he bumps into the theater company outside the Mercury Theater and gets hired on the spot by Mr. Orson Welles himself. He portrays Lucius in an off broadway play of Julius Caesar and has one week to learn his lines, a song and how to play the ukelele. Will Richard be prepared to star in his first major play directed by Orson Welles in New York City or will it be a huge mistake and ruin his entire acting career?
'Me and Orson Welles' was a huge disappointment for me. As an actor and a lover of the theater, I love love love movies that center around a theater company and let the audience in on their performance process. Many people don't know what it's like to be behind the scenes of a play, or there with the actors through their rehearsals or know the types of people that the theater calls for, which occasionally are the most dramatic people. So watching films that have all that is fun and relatable, for people like me where theater friends become like family and there is more drama in the drama department than 'Days of Our Lives'. But 'Me and Orson Welles' didn't make me feel that the Mercury Theater Company was a family or deeply rehearsed performers.  They were just random characters thrown together in this boring, slow film. Richard was supposed to learn his lines and learn to sing and play an instrument all in 6 days, which sure is fast but the audience barely saw Richard doing anything other than being a busybody in other people's business and snooping around the theater.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Zac Efron, and his performance was good but I think he could've done better, a lot better. But, then again maybe it was the writing. The film, felt so slow and there was no action at all, at times I felt there wasn't even a plot. I didn't care for these characters or for the theater or for anything. Christian McKay delivered a fine performance as Orson Welles, I don't know how Welles was as a person but if he is anything like McKay portrayed I would never want to work, meet or be friends with him. He was demanding, rude and outright obnoxious. Claire Danes, who I also adore, was somewhat dull. She portrayed this beautiful girl who basically sleeps her way to the top.

Which brings me to another issue I had with this film, it was quite promiscuious for the time period of the 1930s. The men made a bet of who can get in a girl's pants faster...did people even think of that in that time period? I mean, I'm not that naive but I like to think that there were gentlemen and respectful chivalrous men in that time, especailly when it came to women. Every movie I have ever seen in that time period or portrayed in that time period has not been displayed like this. Even some of the outfits and hairstyles, such as this one character Gretta (played by Zoe Kazan) she had really curly hair in a modern hairstyle and clothes that looked like they could be in this time period. Tiny details such as that could really take me out of the whole film.

The actual story was as I said before slow and boring. There was nothing that made me intrigued to keep watching or interested in the characters. The ending was unsatisfying to say the least and I'm so glad I never bought this movie because I will never watch it again.

I would not recommend this film to anyone. If you want to see a good Zac Efron performace rent '17 Again.' Don't look for it here. And Claire Danes has an entire list of movies she was awesome in, this was not one of them.

If you have had the unfortunate opportunity to catch this flick, please share your thoughts.

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