Monday, December 31, 2018

"Elf" (2003) -- Initial Thoughts

Yes, it's true.  I had never seen this movie before, even though it's fifteen years old.  The truth is, I'm never sure if I'm going to like Will Ferrell or not.  Sometimes I like him a lot, like in Stranger Than Fiction (2006).  And sometmes, nope, he's just gratingly annoying.  So I... never made an effort to see Elf.  Until now.

And now I've seen it, and the good news is, I didn't hate it!  Ferrell wasn't particularly annoying, and the overall premise was cute.

But I also didn't love it.  I watched it all in one go, it was nice, I was happy at the end, but I've got no need to run buy a copy so I can watch it over and over.  If my kids wanted to watch it when they were a little older, I wouldn't be adverse to getting it from the library again.

The best part, for me, was actually getting to see some old favorite actors in something new!  I've been exceedingly fond of James Caan ever since I first saw El Dorado (1967) in my early teens -- for years, that was one of my top 5 favorite John Wayne movies, as a matter of fact.  I knew he was in this, and I was kind of watching it more for him than anything else.

What I didn't know ahead of time was that Bob Newhart and Ed Asner were in this too!  Oh my goodness, that was such a huge treat for me!  Especially Bob Newhart, as he made his screen debut in the film Hell is For Heroes (1962) that has Bobby Darin and Steve McQueen and Fess Parker and James Coborn, and if you're not wanting to watch that movie already just from me listing off those names, then what are you doing with your life, may I ask?  Not to mention, it was written by Robert Pirosh, to whom I will forever be grateful because he created my favorite TV show, Combat!

And Ed Asner is nice too.

Also, Jon Favreau!  Oh my goodness, how did I not know this was directed by Jon Favreau?  Awwww, I like his Iron Man movies so much, and I love it when he pops up in movies.

So yeah, this was cute and fun, and I'm glad I've checked it off my to-watch list at last.

Was this movie family friendly?  Um, sorta?  A little innuendo here and there, some mild-ish bad language, a little mild comedic violence.  Like I said, I'd let my kids watch it when they were older, probably 10+.

16 comments:

  1. Totally agree with you about Will Ferrell. I saw this movie once a few years back... didn't hate it, didn't love it, but have had no desire to seek it out again.

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    1. DKoren, I can totally see you reacting that way too.

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  2. Definitely an overrated movie, in my opinion. Will Ferrell is hit or miss with me too. Glad to read that someone else wasn't overly in love with it either!

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    1. Ashley, I'm also glad to know I'm not the only one who just liked this okay!

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  3. I saw this movie a year or two ago, I think. I did not enjoy it, though. I've actually never seen a Christmas movie I enjoyed, which is . . . weird to contemplate?

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    1. Jessica, I did enjoy this, I just... didn't love it. How interesting that you haven't enjoyed any Christmas movies so far! I wonder what's up with that. What ones have you seen?

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    2. *pulls up movie list*

      Okay. My movie list informs me that I've seen Elf, The Polar Express, Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and Eloise at Christmastime (I'd forgotten about the last two.)

      I did enjoy both Nutcracker and Eloise, although neither one was super memorable, which is why they don't jump out in my brain as "Christmas movies I've seen," I guess. I emphatically did not like Elf [because I didn't like the humor, it seemed really crude and pointless]; and I REALLY HATED The Polar Express because from my point of view they spoiled everything that made the book special. It actually made me really emotional, not in a good way, because I was like "did you even read the book???? you are RUINING MY CHILDHOOD, GO AWAY." I shut it off after like 20 minutes.

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    3. Jessica, so... the only one of those that I've seen is Elf. I'd like to see Nutcracker and the Four Realms and will try to get the DVD from the library at some point. I've technically seen parts of The Polar Express because I worked at Walmart when it came out, and to demonstrate bigscreen TVs, we'd run new releases on them in continuous loops, so I've seen lots of parts of it, but nothing ever made me want to see it all the way through. And I haven't read the book either.

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  4. I saw this recently for the first time, too! My reaction was basically the same as yours. It's kind of a fun movie, but at the same time, not quite good enough that I'd want to buy it. :P

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    1. Marian, I'm intrigued that so many people here are saying that they also just liked this okay, because I thought it was sort of universally loved! It's cute and fun, but not one I love. That's okay. I can't love every movie.

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  5. I've never seen it and really don't care to. DEFINITELY not a Farrell fan. I was so angry when I saw he was going to play Sherlock Holmes. Will forgive John C. Reilly being Watson, as I understand he's wonderful as Oliver Hardy in the L & H biopic.

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    1. Janet, aww, that's a bummer that you're upset over him playing Holmes. I'm not really planning to see that movie, as it looks a little too jokey for me (unlike, say, Without a Clue, which was hilarious).

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  6. I feel like this movie is more nostalgic for me than anything. It's cute and I remember watching it when I was twelve so now it's just part of our Christmas traditions.

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    1. Skye, I can see that. I'm that way about the 1960 filmed-for-TV version of Peter Pan starring Mary Martin. It was one of the first VHS movies we owned, so I watched it a ton as a kid, so I nostalgically like it still.

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  7. It's weird that I love this movie and you just like it lol. Maybe one day we can watch it together and you'll like it better ;)

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    1. Phyl, I think this is one that would improve when watched with others -- comedies often do. So maybe some day I'll be able to take you up on that :-)

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