Scoop Point

I had never heard of Focus Features before watching Lost in Translation, but this weekend I came to an important realization: Focus was created for the express purpose of preventing me from completely hating Hollywood and the film industry in general. More so than Pixar, even. I’ve developed an almost Pavlovian response when the Focus logo appears before a movie trailer: I actually pay attention to the contents of the trailer. And I invariably find myself thinking, “Hey, that looks really good,” when the trailer ends.

Likewise with Focus movies themselves: not only do I not feel slightly less intelligent after watching them as happens with most movies these days — I actually leave the theatre happy. Glad to have spent the ten bucks, even. It’s a miracle of Hollywood.

This weekend’s Focus movie du jour was Scoop, which demonstrated Woody Allen’s latest obsession: Scarlett Johansson having ill-advised relationships with wealthy British men. It was a perfectly enjoyable movie for several reasons, not least of which was the improbable sight of Johansson turning into a younger (and vastly more attractive) mirror of Allen’s neuroses. What really made Scoop so enjoyable, however, was the fact that it’s essentially the alternate reality version of last year’s Match Point. I imagine Scoop came into being as Allen was watching the rough cut of Match Point and starting freaking out in his quietly neurotic way, the realization dawning that oh dear this movie is so dark and serious and not at all like what most people expect from him. So he rewrote the movie as a screwball comedy.

Sorry. I know you guys get confused and feel I’m “off message” if I fail to couch everything in terms of videogames, so let me restate in the visual language of nerds:

19 thoughts on “Scoop Point

  1. So which person in the upper right picture is supposed to be Alucard? Also, I’m surprised that there’s anything that can make you happy.

  2. So now I’m wondering what other great Focus Pictures filcks I’ve been missing… but I suppose I could not be lazy and look them up in IMDB or something, so perhaps I’ll do that. And add Scoop to my list of movies I ought to get around to watching someday.

  3. I *heard* Kid Dracula. After resurrecting Alucard in Dawn of Sorrow, I can only hope IGA and co. do the same for his cuter alter ego in Portrait of Ruin. Imagine how cool it’d be to run through that gorgeous PoR world with Kid Dracula–especially if they ripped his sprites straight from the Famicom game. Awesome.

    Quick trivia: My final quarter in college I took a class called Films of Woody Allen because I needed credits. It was pretty much a Friday afternoon Woody Allen movie club.

  4. Did you see Melinda & Melinda? I was so close to buying it on pay per view, but I just don’t know what I’m going to get from Woody anymore.

    I’ll give Scoop a chance, as long as I can get confirmation that Woody doesn’t set up some scenario where he dates Scarlett Johansson’s character in the movie. Eew.

  5. Hey, Parish, speaking of SotN comparisons, I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while. What is it about Gradius Gaiden that makes it the Symphony of the Night equivalent to the Gradius series? I mean, it’s good, but it didn’t seem too drastically different than Gradius 4 to me.

  6. Focus has actually had two previous incarnations, one as U.S.A Pictures and another as October Films. (I’d probably recommend reading “Down and Dirty Pictures” if you want the source for their rise, fall, and rebirth(s).) Titles from their library worth checking out include Traffic, Orgazmo, Happiness, Unleashed, and (hopefully) the upcoming Fearless. They also released a little-known movie called Brokeback Mountain last year, while their Dave Chappelle music concert got decent reviews, even if it’s not really about Chappelle.

  7. Did you see Broken Flowers? I was really dissappointed in it, especially with the ending.

  8. Woody Allen has a very weird paternal relationship with Scarlett’s character in the movie. But not in the Soon-Yi sense. ‘Sall good.
    Gradius Gaiden is SOTN-esque in its breadth of options, attention to detail, some of the graphical styling and effects and most of all in its affection for the series’ history.
    I actually really enjoyed Broken Flowers, especially the heart-breaking ending.

  9. I loved Broken Flowers.
    Fun fact: For our first real date, my wife and I saw Ghost Dog. Whee!

  10. Brokeback Mountain was boring, and was done better in Happy Together, but most people seem to like it. Still, it’s better than most of the crap released last year.

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