Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nine Retrospective

In my first blog poll, more people voted Rob Marshall's screen version of the stage musical Nine to be their pick to be the Best Picture winner of 2010. In April, this doesn't mean much more than the few people who happen upon this blog seem to think Nine is the Academy's type of film. And why not? Rob Marshall's last stage-to-screen attempt, Chicago, was able to take home the Best Picture prize. Also, this film is lined up with a heavyweight cast which includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Sofia Loren, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, and Penelope Cruz, among others. Any other tidbits, you ask? Oh yeah, the stage material is a musical version of Fellini's all-time classic 8 1/2.

So, all that being said, why am I not very interested in seeing this film? I was aware of it enough to include it in my poll, though it was probably the film I anticipated the least out of the quartet I chose. I adore Chicago, even if it isn't the best film of 2002, and it is a bit "stagey". The truth is, there's something to be said about films that rework classics. Surely, the stage version of Nine was a big hit, but there's a difference between reinventing a film on Broadway, and then taking that reworking and trying to recreate it as a film. Something incredibly redundant about it.

Also, this film's cast may be a little too stacked. Kind of like the baseball team that loads itself with home-run hitters and forgets to address the pitching staff. As seldom as Day-Lewis works, anyone else would have preferred Javier Bardem staying on? He at least has a fraction of the sensuality that Marcello Mastonioni holds on screen. As for Cruz--who everybody says has the meatiest role of the actresses--my anticipation for her performance in this film is nowhere near as high as her reunion with Pedro Almodovar in Broken Embraces.

Above: Bad Math

Hate to be a sour grape, but I see Nine as the Benjamin Button of 2009. I will see it, as I'm sure that it will be a hit with many awards groups, but I don't hold its release in relatively high regard. I could--scratch that, I hope--that I'm wrong about the film (that's what happened when I saw Babel three years ago, and it was a very pleasant surprise). Just don't expect me to be first in line to see it.

P.S. In September, there is an animated film named 9 coming out, which looks absolutely amazing. Wouldn't it be very embarrassing if Nine isn't even the best film of 2009 named "nine"? I don't know about you, but I find this showdown fascinating.

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