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Elizabethtown (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

A movie directed by Cameron Crowe

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It all depends on your state of mind..."I'm Fine"

  • Feb 10, 2006
Even before hitting the screens, the PR machine was wild with rumors about re-writes, cuts, revisions, and doom so that when ELIZABETHTOWN finally entered the theaters it was a short gasp before it was gone. Didn't see it in the theaters, but watching this little film on DVD makes this viewer wonder just why the movie was so poorly received. Yes, it is lengthy (over two hours) for a story that is fairly slight, and yes, it is a bit self indulgent even for writer director Cameron Crowe, and it is true the script is odd and patchy and contains big dollops of mushy philosophy. But given all that, if you take your time and relax your expectations, this is a nice little film with many good things going for it.

Drew (Orlando Bloom) is a bright and successful designer who has spent the last eight years of his life designing the Spasmodic show for a big Oregon firm led by Alec Baldwin. But the shoe is a bust, costs the company nearly a billion dollars, and costs Drew his job. Simultaneously his girlfriend dumps him and Drew finds himself on a machine design for suicide - when the phone rings and his sister informs him his father just died while he was in his hometown of Elizabethtoen, Kentucky. As the eldest Drew must go make the arrangements.

Drew books a flight on an empty airline with only the stewardess as companion - the kooky but funny and very sweet Claire (Kirsten Dunst) who begins a long conversation about names, Drew's life, her life, etc. When Drew lands in Louisville he thinks he is saying goodbye ("I'm good at remembering goodbye looks") to Claire, but in reality Claire follows Drew through his time in Elizabethtown and eventually assists him in rethinking and rediscovering the true meaning of success and happiness in a road trip that follows the funeral. The townsfolk of Elizabethtown are a warm and oddball crew who awaken in Drew an appreciation for his father, memories dormant and set aside for the sake of his own misbegotten success. The town loved his father and it is only after Drew convinces his sister (Judy Greer) and mother (Susan Sarandon) to come to Elizabethtown for the memorial service to end all memorial services that Drew can begin his own Claire-designed road trip with father's ashes that the whole story takes on some meaning.

With some judicious pruning of a script constipated by verbiage or lazy phrases and with a bit of editing and fleshing out of some of the characters, this little non-pretentious story might have just become that - unpretentious. But Cameron Crowe is Cameron Crowe for all that, and accepting his style is necessary to sit back and have a nice little evening with these nice folks. Grady Harp, February 06

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More Elizabethtown (2005) reviews
review by . June 02, 2009
The headline for this review is actually a direct quote from Cameron Crowe's screenplay for Elizabethtown. It was this line that made me buy the screenplay and give the movie a second chance. My first viewing of Elizabethtown left me feeling kind of flat.    E-town is about those dark nights of the soul, where things just don't seem as if they're going to get any better. And then you realize that you're right – they don't. They get worse. In Crowe's world this is prime time for …
review by . March 30, 2009
Elizabethtown (Screenplay)
(3.5 rating) Drew Baylor learns the hard way that success is the only measure of a man, at least in the corporate world. And he has just proved himself a colossal failure, his athletic shoe design, touted as revolutionary, the embarrassment of The Mercury Shoe Corporation. After eight years spent working on the design, all of the orders have been returned, the company humiliated. Drew bravely falls on his sword to protect the company from further financial distress. Leaving his job, his whole world …
review by . November 01, 2008
This long and winding film   That was hard to endure   It just wasn't that great   I've seen better before   It'll make you shed a tear   It may make you snore     The hyped but ugly shoe   That the world laughed away   That left Drew unemployed   Wasting all those years   And then his father died   Left him with no tears     Many times he'd sketched alone   The …
review by . March 19, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Cameron Crowe has a talent. Well, he really has many talents -- putting together a good story with great music, pulling unexpected performances out of actors we thought we knew well, telling charmingly witty tales about people we already know, just to name a few. All of these talents are evident in 'Elizabethtown,' but the one that stands out most here is his talent for showing normal people in normal situations, and still making us feel good, even exuberant about it by the end.    This …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Elizabethtownhas all of the elements of a great Cameron Crowe movie, but none of the Cameron Crowe vision that madeAlmost Famouswork. It's mostly a series of sweet moments, each capped with the right song at the right time; in fact, the soundtrack is the real star of the movie, and the right song is all there is to piece together a film that is much less than the sum of its parts.

From the start of Elizabethtown, big contrasts are evoked: death and life, success and failure are side by side, so we're told. When the movie starts, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is experiencing failure and death in spades: the shoe he spent eight years designing for Mercury (a thinly-veiled copy of Nike) has been recalled, costing his company $972 million dollars. On the verge of a suicide attempt, he learns his father has died, and Drew flies to Kentucky to retrieve the body to Oregon for cremation. On the red-eye to Louisville he meets Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst), a perky flight att'ndant with a charming flair for cute lines ("I'm impossible to forget, but I’m hard to remember," she chirps). Once in Elizabethtown, Drew tries to plan a memorial while dealing with relatives who have their own agenda in addition to his manic family back in Oregon, all while facing the reality that in a few days he'll be known nationally as one of his industry's most legendary failures. Yet still he manages to connect with Claire on an all-night cell phone ...

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Director: Cameron Crowe
Screen Writer: Cameron Crowe
DVD Release Date: February 7, 2006
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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