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IN SHORT: A big ol' weeper. [Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual references, an intense accident scene and some sensuality. 109 minutes]
We've written about this before so you get a short version: 22 Years Ago; I was walking to work; Behind me a speeding truck loses its brakes and rams a streetlight pole; Pole smashes in my head, breaking my neck and killing me on the spot. White Light. Dead friends. The whole nine yards. We got better. Six months after repair the neck had to be broken a second time. Fifteen months after that, a third time. Now it's 12 years later and guess what . . . yeah. Not gonna happen.
OK. Now we're watch Charlie St. Cloud, in which two brothers are about as tight as can be. Mom (Kim Basinger -- blink and you'll miss her appearance) is off in Portland and elder brother Charlie St Cloud (Zac Efron) is handling parental duties. As a pair, they are champion sailboat racers and inseperable brothers. This night, though, teenage hormones are raging and Charlie drives younger Sam (Charlie Tahan) to a friend's house, so he (Charlie) can go out and party with his buds. There is a fender bender which pushes St. Cloud's car into a lane of oncoming traffic.
Then there is this truck . . . The next hour or so was kinda hazy for yours Cranky. But we kept on taking notes. So . . .
Let's just say that Charlie loves his 11 year old brother so much that, even after the kid dies, the pair meet every day at 5 p.m. or so [there's a cannon that goes off to mark sundown] and toss a baseball around for an hour. They've been at it forever; since before one died and the other one came back. No reason to stop now. Net result: Charlie St. Cloud, the movie, guaranteed to have the ladies weeping. Ladies in our audience, who must have read the book, were losing it twenty minutes in. No reflection on the rest of the film; Once we zone out we become useless.
The rest of the film involves the return of a friend from high school (Amanda Crews) and the festering question in the local community that goes: Too bad about Charlie. Do you think he's really nuts?
As a miserable, motherless young grown up who lives and works in a cemetery, what do you think???
What I think is this (and short of feeling guilty for killing the younger brother that I don't have, I do know how people going through this kind of uber tragedy react . . .) WHERE THE HELL IS THE MOTHER???? I do not care that she, pre-accident "moved to Portland and wants the kids to follow". I do not for a second believe that ANY mother would not be all over the situation post accident FOR YEARS. Now, whether or not she is a smothering mother or an emotional bitch running a guilt trip on the surviving son doesn't really matter to me. It is something to be decided by the writer of the story who chose not to deal with it at all.
Yes, movies are fantasies. I'm not of the group that falls for this one. The ladies in my audience, chatting on the way out, all seemed to fall for it and, initially I gave this film a middle of the road $6 rating (a dateflick level meaning at least one half of the couple is going to like it). It took a couple of days for the fog to lift but I changed my mind.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Charlie St. Cloud, he would have paid . . .
There used to be a teevee judge on the airwaves here in New York (one season and cancelled) whose trademark was to lean down from the bench and yell " IT IS WRONG! IT IS WRONG! IT IS WRONG!"
It sure is.
IF you've read the book, the $6 still applies -- it does reflect the opinions of the multitude of femmes in our screening audience. (Makes me worry about the next generaton, but that's just me.). Those with no idea of what is coming, well, those at parenting age or better you now know how I feel. Teens don't give a damn (never did).
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