RATING: 1/2 (0.5/4)
Quite frankly, the Forum should temporarily revoke my movie-reviewing privileges, as deciding to see this film was a completely bonehead decision on my part. In addition to my well-deserved probation, the fact that I am actually getting paid to review this film is an ethical conundrum that would even give philosophy majors a headache. Yes, the film was that bad. Honestly one of the most distasteful, utterly repugnant pieces of garbage I have ever seen in a movie theater.
Perhaps I am being a little dramatic. However, the fact remains that The Monuments Men possessed all the telltales signs of a box office dud, and I should have known better. First, the film’s release date was pushed back until after the holiday season, which almost always means the film wasn’t good enough to compete (which is why January/February is typically a slow time for movies). Second, the movie possessed an ensemble cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, and Jean Dujardin, among others. These types of celebrity-studded casts rarely yield anything more than a convoluted mess, with the Ocean’s movies being one of the few exceptions. Finally, as much as I deplore the pretentious nature of the film critic business, Rotten Tomatoes is usually a reliable site that aggregates reviews from critics and audiences across the country. So when a film has a 33% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it is probably wise not to see the movie, but then again I am a complete sucker for films based on true stories such as this one.
I could go into how the film’s plot was choppy and convoluted or how the acting was superficial and corny, but what I want to talk about first is the music. That’s right. From the onset, the movie’s score (or background music) was downright bizarre, and cast an uncomfortable, childish shadow that was at times overwhelming and offensive to the serious nature of the film’s plot. Literally, as a soldier is slowly dying from a bullet wound to the chest, the audience is being serenaded with a rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The musical score from Toy Story probably has a more serious tone.
The film chronicles a group of artists who are sent into occupied Germany during WWII to salvage famous pieces of art. What surely was a serious, no-nonsense mission in real life was unfortunately portrayed in the film as a last hurrah for a group of old farts who were more preoccupied with making jokes and living it up. I can forgive some of the movie’s actors such as Bill Murray and John Goodman for their lackluster performances, since after all they made their careers being cinematic buffoons. However, Matt Damon (who played in Saving Private Ryan) and George Clooney (who played in The Thin Red Line) certainly should have exercised better judgment.
Normally, at this point in my review I post a link to the film’s trailer. However, it would be morally repugnant for me to promote this film in any way whatsoever. So if you are dying to watch the trailer you’ll have to try someplace else. And if for some unknown reason you still want to see the film after watching the trailer, at least see the discounted matinee showing, as there is no need to provide financial incentives to perpetuate the production of cinematic trash.