Odd how you remember movies. My memory is of the sickly sweet score and Costner’s obnoxious fawning manner. All that sentimental BS about baseball that is intended to trap the casual viewer. But in re-seeing this, I remember how very clever it is.
It is a movie of a book about a book and writing. It is presumably the book Mann sends back from the land of dreams. It is movie you can see to help you invent your dreams featuring something very like a movie the character (Mann) sees to help him invent his.
It features the dead and the living. In terms of actors, the dead are Costner and Lancaster who have that sort of aw shucks look at me style of acting and Madigan and Jones who come more than half way toward the viewer.
It is about the movies we make up to get through the day. That’s why it quotes the two movies who first expressed this sort of folding: “Harvey” and “Citizen Kane.”
What’s clever is not so much that it has an alternative reality, instead it has two realities, both made up from movies. The “base” world isn’t real: it is a movie spun sometimes in contraction of truth and sense — here, first by idealistic hippies and then by a sleazy Republican president.
The world as movie, make your own. like in the “Muppet Movie” ten years earlier, also with the Kane and Harvey references.
A point of interest: here’s Liotta’s best and only tolerable moment as an actor with that line about Ty Cobb. He must think of it often.
Posted in 2004
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.