Wonder Boys (2000): Curtis Hanson’s Best Film? Starring Michael Douglas

The coming-of-age genre gets a delectably original reworking in Wonder Boys, Curtis Hanson’s eagerly-awaited follow-up to L.A. Confidential, a superbly-mounted screwball comedy about the midlife crisis of a college professor who’s pushed by forces beyond his control into maturity and responsibility.

In his most richly nuanced performance to date, Michael Douglas heads an ensemble film in which every single part is splendidly cast, including Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire. Adapted to the screen by Steven Kloves, Wonder Boys is a witty, sophisticated comedy that will appeal to mature and educated viewers.

Paramount winter release needs strong critical support for its college-set comedy that, while providing a gratifying entertainment of leisurely elegance and delicious nastiness, lacks the more obvious appeal for today’s youth-dominated market.

Effortlessly hoping from genre to genre, Hanson shows that he is a director able to locate through dexterous mise-en-scene the distinctive elements of each film, be it a psychological thriller (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle), a routine actioner (The River Wild), or a sublime noirish crimer (L.A. Confidential). His first foray into comedy, Wonder Boys distinguishes itself as an entirely character-driven comedy in which the astute humor derives directly from the bizarre situations–and endless crises–in which the characters find themselves.

After countless comedies set in high-school, a locale as much determined by an obsession with youth in American culture as by demographics of the moviegoing public, it’s refreshing to see a campus comedy mostly populated by grown-ups. Most coming-of-age sagas are about boys experiencing a traumatic transition between boyhood and manhood. Like them, Wonder Boys is a chronicle of rites of passage, except that here they define the existence of a middle-age writer who still struggles to find his way.

Pushing 50, Grady Tripp (Douglas), an English professor who was once the wonder boy and darling of the literati, is unable to finish his new novel that has grown into humongous proportions. Consumed with fear that it will fail to live up to his earlier masterpiece, published seven years ago, he toys with various endings and the new book just sits in a pile waiting to be rescued.

In the first scene, a writing class, a sensitive student named James Leer (Maguire) reads from his work and the other classmates provide “constructive” criticism. Tripp immediately recognizes Leer’s potential talent–what he fails to realize is the crucial role that the boy play in both his career and emotional life. In a marvelous twist of the heterosexual couples that usually dominate screwball comedies, scripter Steve Kloves centers the narrative on a new type of a romantic (though not gay) duo: a distressed professor and his suicidal student who may be a pathological liar as far as family background is concerned. Indeed, as a comedy-adventure, Wonder Boys follows the logic of a road movie with Grady and James driving their car and encountering one outlandishly bizarre situation after another.

To say that Grady is having a bad day is an understatement. When the story begins, his wife has left him, and soon after, he is informed by his lover, Sara Gaskell (McDormand), the college chancellor who’s married to Walter (Richard Thomas), head of English department and hence Grday’s boss, that she is pregnant and has not decided yet what to do with their baby.

Complicating the situation and increasing Grady’s anxieties is the university’s literary festival, “Wordfest,” which brings the outside commercial world into the insular ivy-tower academic environment. It’s a crisis time, accentuated by the presence of Q (Rip Torn), the older, self-satisfied writer who serves as the symbol of success that Grady once had but has eluded him for years.

Early on, there is a wonderful sequence, a literati party that captures vividly typical college soirees in which chats range from existential philosophy all the way to sleazy gossip. Grady’s flamboyant editor, Terry (a splendid Downey Jr.) arrives with a tall elegant woman, Miss Sloviak (Michael Cavaias) that, as everyone suspects, turns out to be a transvestite. As soon as Terry lays his eyes on Leer, a romantic infatuation begins, leading to some surprising results.

Each of the eccentric characters is marvelously introduced and integrated into the tale. Included among them is Hannah (Katie Holmes), Grady’s beautiful student who rents a room in his house and shows unabashed desire to be part of his life. In this, as in other respects, pic is emotionally true in showing a student with an overwhelming crush on her older teacher.

True to form, Wonder Boys has its share of hilariously rude moments, some of which revolve around Walter’s dog and a jacket that presumably belonged to Marilyn Monroe. Among the subplots that enrich the central thread is one involving Vernon Hardapple (Richard Knox), who mysteriously stalks Grady and his car, and Oola (Happiness’s Jane Adams), his pregnant g.f. who ends up wearing Monroe’s jacket.

Unlike most comedies, fresh observations define Wonder Boys with unpredictable twists that escalate into a series of tragicomic incidents. At the end of the film, Grady’s unbound manuscript (for which he has no backup) flies out of a car in what’s a wonderful spoof of the clichd car chases and shootouts in Hollywood adventures.

Scripter Kloves, who formerly wrote and directed the superbly erotic The Fabulous Baker Boys, is deft at portraying losers: Wonder Boys could be described as a comedy about the gallantry of failure and defeat. His faithful rendition of Michael Chabon’s 1995 novel maintains the author’s wicked, sharp-tongued and devious humor. Boasting a crazy kind of sweetness, pic exudes tremendous charm, a cumulative result of impeccable timing, right tone, and flawless performances. What comes through in each role is an improbable, almost romantic affection for the character that sets the mood for the whole movie.

Under Hanson’s guidance, Douglas shows a real comedic flair seldom tapped before. Miraculously, he digs deeply into the nuttiness without ever camping it up or winking at the audience. As his romantic partner, McDormand excels in a quiet, understated perf. that differs from former parts. Rest of the large cast, particularly Downey Jr., is equally accomplished.

Collaborating again with L.A. Confidential lenser Dante Spinotti, Hanson gives his film, which was shot in wintry Philadelphia, a deliberately unpolished and deceptively casual look that recalls Hollywood’s 70s chestnuts in the way it serves comic energy. Dede Allen’s masterly editing underlines the rich characterization and brings snap to the storytelling.

Cast

Grady Tripp…….Michael Douglas
James Leer……….Tobey Maguire
Sara Gaskell….Frances McDormand
Terry Grabtree…Robert Downey Jr.
Hannah Green………Katie Holmes
Walter Gaskell…..Richard Thomas
Q……………………Rip Torn
Hank Winters………Philip Bosco
Oola……………….Jane Adams
Vernon Hardapple…..Richard Knox
Miss Sloviak/Tony..Michael Cavaias

Credits

MPAA Rating: R.
Running time: 112 minutes

A Paramount Pictures release of a Paramount and Mutual Film Company presentation of a Scott Rudin/Curtis Hanson production. Produced by Scott Rudin and Curtis Hanson. Executive producers, Adam Schroeder, Ned Dowd. Directed by Curtis Hanson. Screenplay, Steve Kloves. Camera (DeLuxe, wide screen), Dante Spinotti; editor, Dede Allen; music, Christopher Young; music supervisor, Carol Fenelon; production design, Jeannine Oppewall; costume design, Beatrix Aruna Pasztor; casting, Mali Finn.

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88