Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bana Ban

I like Eric Bana, and I was recently watching him on TV in one of his flops, Lucky You.  I like the concept--a great poker player with all sorts of personal problems.  But it doesn't work, and not just because it's handled poorly. The basic idea is wrong. He's got daddy issues, which is one thing.  But his dad is played by Robert Duvall, and they face each other in the big tournament at the end.

This just doesn't work.  Issues are one thing, but we want to see a film about a guy dealing with his life, not actually betting against his father.  Our hero should have moved beyond that by now.  (And--spoiler alert--having him throw the tournament is just not satisfying after it's been built up so much, whether or not it works "psychologically." Even in the old days when people could lose, look at The Hustler--Paul Newman comes back, beats Minnesota Fats, and only then gives it all up.  And for all I know, Newman had daddy issues, but he ends up facing Fats, not his actual father.)

Watching the film I felt Bana had made this mistake before (or at least appeared in a film with the same mistake).  Then I remembered--his first big film, Hulk, another disappointment. Director Ang Lee wanted to do something different, so instead of having this Marvel mainstay fight a classic villain, he ends up fighting...his father (played by Nick Nolte). This is no fun. It's feel incestuous, if anything.  And if the son hasn't already surpassed his father, why are we watching his story to begin with?

So Eric, remember, in the future, it's okay to have daddy issues, even fight against father figures, but not so on the nose, okay?

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