A couple months ago, Smitty and I had an interesting conversation. Life-changing, you might say.
Then again, maybe not, because it did revolve around People magazine’s sexiest man contest.
I kid, I kid! Okay . . . actually, I don’t. But I wish I did.
Our discussion had to do with Hugh Jackman, the magazine’s top guy. I said that I didn’t understand, that I didn’t get it. Because he’s such a scrawny, nerdy guy. He’s a little man, I said. And as a tall, not small girl, that’s just not appealing to me. And the same goes for Eric Bana, I threw in, just for good measure.
Smitty looked at me like I’m crazy, something that I will have you know happens on a regular basis. She claimed that both actors are not scrawny, nor are they short.
So, as we do when any important question comes up, we turned to the internet. And, my friends, it turned out that I was wrong. Both Mr. Jackman and Mr. Bana are 6’2” or so. (No, I’m not looking it up again to get it exactly right. I have some limits, you know.)
[Random side note, because the rest of this post is so on topic: Jackman and Bana are also both from Australia, and they were both born in 1968. I believe this explains why they are essentially the same person in my brain.]
I’m here to tell you today that since watching Hugh Jackman in Australia, I fully accept just how wrong I was about him. As we watched the movie, I didn’t mention this. But Mark apparently noticed, too, and commented about his crazy muscles. (Hugh’s, not Mark’s. Sorry, honey.)
Aside from this revelation and a little bit of Australian history (which, let’s be honest, I could have learned from our friend, Wikipedia), I really didn’t get much out of the movie.
As a matter of fact, I felt exhausted, disappointed and a little bit depressed. I won’t spoil it for you, but not everyone has a happy ending. And if I’m watching a movie called “epic,” I’d like for everyone to have a happy ending.
I’m irrational like that.
According to 20th Century Fox, “Australia is an epic and romantic action adventure, set in that country on the explosive brink of World War II. In it, an English aristocrat travels to the faraway continent, where she meets a rough-hewn local and reluctantly agrees to join forces with him to save the land she inherited. Together, they embark upon a transforming journey across hundreds of miles of the world’s most beautiful yet unforgiving terrain, only to still face the bombing of the city of Darwin by the Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor.”
And this epic adventure is almost three hours long. For at least the last half of it, I kept thinking, “Surely this is it! It must be over now!” I should have kept a better eye on the clock. Because it was not over.
I’d heard that this movie was supposed to have beautiful cinematography, and before we rented it, I saw it described as being similar to Romancing the Stone. And since I like that movie – and the whole bickering man and woman fall in love while on an adventure genre – I thought it sounded like a good one.
I was wrong. Some scenes were, indeed, beautiful. Because Australia is beautiful. And some issues were, indeed, moving. Because history is moving. But the acting, the plot, the movie itself? Not that great.
Then again, maybe I just didn’t get it. I’ve never seen any of Baz Luhrmann’s other movies, so it’s possible I don’t get him. Even so, I wouldn’t give this one any thumbs up.
In case you’re still on the fence, here are my favorite bits from actual critics:
Australia tries to be a sprawling, romantic epic. Instead, it’s a melodramatic exercise in tedium. Rather than being old-fashioned or classic, it’s old-school and conventional. Instead of believable romance, it offers schmaltz and cliché. (USA Today)
Deliberately anachronistic in its heightened style of romance, villainy and destiny, the epic lays an Aussie accent on colorful motifs drawn from Hollywood Westerns, war films, love stories and socially conscious dramas. Some of it plays, some doesn’t, and it is long. But the beauty of the film’s stars and landscapes, the appeal of the central young boy and, perhaps more than anything, the filmmaker’s eagerness to please tend to prevail, making for a film general audiences should go with, even if they’re not swept away. (Variety)
The second half of “Australia,” Luhrmann’s attempt to pull off a wartime weeper, is so aggressively sentimental that it begins to feel more like punishment than pleasure. I left “Australia” feeling drained and weakened, as if I’d suffered a gradual poisoning at the hands of a mad scientist. (Salon.com)
i heard from a couple other friends that it was a waste of time. although from the previews it looked good! i’d probably waste a 100 minutes watching a movie to see if i liked it, but now that you said it’s 3 hours, no thank! i’ll take your word for it!
oops! no thankS!!
I haven’t seen it and didn’t really want to from the beginning (and still don’t — perhaps even more so, except you may have lost your credibility with those silly statements about Hugh and Eric being “scrawny” … at least you admitted your error though;). I remember having to choose between this and “Four Christmases” when it came out. We went to the latter, which was really bad too. And so crude. It was shorter though. So I guess I’m not sure which one is worse. I think I’d rather not find out though. I’ll just admire Hugh Jackman as Wolverine instead. ;) Thanks for the warning!
*ducking* I really liked it :)
How could you “dis” one of my favorite movies like that? HaHa, just kidding! I’m glad you gave me fair warning. I’m not a fan of Nicole Kidman at all, but I did like her character in this movie. And I loved Hugh as the rugged, shirtless drover… okay, and with his shirt on too. Is he gay, btw?
Funny that you mentioned Romancing the Stone. I can’t remember much about the movie except for all of the completely annoying yelling and arguing. It sounds like you and I have much different taste in movies. That’s okay with me though. I still really like you. :)
WAIT A MINUTE! Sorry to shout, but I was wrong. I was thinking of the movie, The War of the Roses, which also starred Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny Devito. Maybe I should rent Romancing the Stone again to refresh my memory.
Speaking of Kathleen Turner… boy has she changed! Not sure if you saw Marley & Me, but she was the dog trainer in the park. (google or youtube that scene, if not. Would have never recognized her myself. Someone else pointed that out to me. Have I ever mentioned that I also loved that movie? lol!
Not sure if you were kidding, Brenda, but he's not gay. :) He is married though. To somebody not famous (although I looked her up on imdb & she is an actress). I like how normal she looks: http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/09NogQIg2u10c/340x.jpg. They also have 2 adopted kids (love imdb:).
Thanks for that link. I also like how normal his wife looks. I had read that someone else suspected he was gay and then I saw this photo which is really scary!
Sorry, I don’t know how to do a proper link in a comment.
Ooh Brenda! What a horrible picture!!!
Mary…I LOVE Hugh Jackman! He’s one of the few actors I can have a “crush” on that my husband doesn’t mind because he likes him too (in a completely heterosexual way of course! :-D). And have you SEEN X-Men??? How on earth could you think he was scrawny??? I guess MAYBE I could see it in “Kate and Leopold”…maybe. (If you haven’t seen that, I think you’d like it…)
That being said, although I didn’t hate Australia, I was very disappointed (especially because I am against people living together as if they are married when they are not–just call me old-fashioned!) I also spent the last half of the movie thinking that it had to be over any second…and it never ended!
I think that pic might be from when he hosted the Oscars? Or Tony awards? I dunno… but I know that he also does theater (he's been in Beauty & the Beast, Oklahoma, & others), & did some numbers for some award shows. So hopefully that's all that is. ;) When I found those things out about him, I just liked him a lot more. :D
I read somewhere that when he was in People magazine, his wife referred to his "Body of Doom" :D but said she likes how he looks on the inside — he sings ballads at home & makes the kids pancakes. Awww… :D
I also read that he thought those rumors about him being gay meant he was finally someone important in Hollywood. ;)
Sounds like one that I will skip. I just don't do well with 3 hour movies, I barely have the attention span for the normal 2 hour ones. I have never heard of Eric Bana, but as for Hugh, not bad at all ;)
Eric Bana was in Hulk, Troy, Munich, The Other Boleyn Girl, Star Trek… he’s not scrawny (I think Mary’s just a little bit crazy, which she’ll probably admit;).
Gitz – I’m GLAD you liked it! I’d much rather hear that someone liked a movie than didn’t! :)
Brenda – I’ve never seen War of the Roses; I’m pretty sure I would not enjoy it either! :) And we do sure have different tastes…but like you said, it’s okay and I like you anyway!!
Oh, also, I’d heard that rumor about Hugh Jackman, too. Good researching, Chelley!
HM – no, I haven’t seen X-Men. I’m going to use that as my excuse. :)
And seriously, you guys, I realize I was totally wrong! :D But haven’t you ever gotten something settled in your brain, even though it’s based on NOTHING? Poor Hugh and Eric – that’s what happened here. I just got it in my brain that they’re scrawny little guys, when they’re (apparently) not at all! :))
Who needs a subscription to People magazine when we have Mary and Chelly? And like Messy Mom, I had never heard of Eric Bana so thanks Chelly for that pic… Holy Smokes! Yeah, not scrawny.
haha, i’m so embarrassed… (in my defense, school just got out for the summer; i may have too much free time;) and re: eric, i may have tried to find the muscley-ist (i know that’s not a word) picture of him to share ;)
ugh. it was SO ridiculously long.
i was not a fan.
i DID like the character development of lead chicky in the beginning of the movie, and then even the interestingness of that got swallowed up by the rest of the long dragged out story…