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Plot: Grady Tripp is a professor/writer living in Pittsburgh who is struggling with writer's block. Whilst doing this, he also manages to get the chancellor pregnant. In the meantime, he and a college student, James Leer are trying to find a rare jacket once owned by Marilyn Monroe, and a college girl, Hannah Green boarding with Grady has a bit of a crush on him. Runtime: 107 mins Release Date: 24 Feb 2000
I am usually annoyed by films based on novels about novelists. Really, it's like the author couldn't think of anything else to write about. `Write what you know.' That's what the writing instructors tell you. But a novel about a writer makes it seem like writing is all you know. Who, except other writers, would want to read it? The opening scenes of Wonder Boys, however, buried whatever hang-ups I had. This story is less about writing than it is about the tortured souls that produce it.This film is a departure from anything I've seen before. Really, has there ever been <more>
another major studio movie set in Pittsburgh? It's about time. Here's another departure: Wonder Boys triumphs as a character study. How many comedies can claim this? And a great comedy it is. Who can't appreciate the fact that one of the most important characters driving the story is a blind dog that's locked in a car trunk for most of the movie? Not to be upstaged by said dog, Michael Douglas turns in his best performance since Wall Street. Douglas plays the ultimate tortured soul, Grady Tripp, a much-respected, award-winning, and soon-to-be divorced University of Pittsburgh writing prof, wrestling as many artists do with a novel that refuses to end. One of his students, James Leer Tobey Maguire in his best performance ever , is trying his hardest to be a poor, struggling artist and is looking to be inspired. James all but cons his way into Grady's life and the scenes between these two crackle with life. James has his own novel he's finished, and Grady's editor, Terry Crabtree Robert Downey, Jr. , believes he's found a true `wonder boy,' the next big thing. The film then dangles these questions in front of us: How will Grady find a balance between helping James, fulfilling James' expectations of his hero, and dealing with the fact that this kid is On The Verge while he himself is on page 1163 and counting? Always poignant and dazzling, the film's writer never strays from his characters in favor of overdramatization. Many opportunities exist and Mr. Kloves always wisely passes.Grady's relationship problems are also piling up. The story takes place over the course of one weekend, and Grady is faced with one dilemma after another involving his married girlfriend, Sara Frances MacDormand , the school's chancellor, his boarder and student Hannah Katie Holmes, who will shine once she finds that good, meaty starring role , and of course his estranged wife played by no one at all .There's a lot to love about Wonder Boys and I assure you I've merely grazed the surface. The real reason I went to see it, though it looked interesting enough from the trailers, was Curtis Hanson. I liked parts of L.A. Confidential enough to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve. I must say that his work here is much more accomplished than Confidential, despite the fact that most critics thought it deserved to beat Titanic a couple of years back. I hope this gives you an idea of just how good I think Wonder Boys is. Unfortunately, this is an early-year, low-budget comedy about scholarly people, and Mr. Hanson will most likely be recognized for the mystery thriller that came before it.I want to be wrong, so don't miss Wonder Boys.Grade: A
I really love this film. Based on a novel by Michael Chabron, the film is set in a university over the course of a week-end long writing festival. The story concerns Professor Grady Tripp Michael Douglas who's first novel was a huge success and has been struggling with the follow-up novel for years. When the film begins, Grady's young wife has just left him and his lover who is married to the head of the English Department is pregnant. Also, Grady's editor Robert Downey Jr. has arrived to see his still unfinished novel. To add to Grady's woes he has to cope with a <more>
brilliant, but deeply odd, student Tobey Maguire .The film has some very strong and witty dialogue, and benefits from great performances all around. Probably writers and aspiring writers will like this film for it's portrayal of the literary life. Anyone though will enjoy the humour, heart and fun of this inspirational movie.
The best college movie since 'Animal House'. (by mhasheider)
Funny and enjoyable drama about a self-centered English professor Michael Douglas who encounters several little dilemmas during a weekend festival on the college campus where he works.The performance that Douglas delivers here got to be one of his finest in recent memory. Perhaps his best. Besides Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Katie Holmes, Frances McDormand, Rip Torn, and Robert Downey, Jr. make one of the best supporting casts that I've seen in quite some time. Downey and Maguire who portray the curious editor and the prized pupil both turn in super performances that should have earned <more>
the pair Best Supporting Actor nominations. Torn's character shares the same name as the man who gave James Bond those cute and exciting gadgets, which is "Q"."Wonder Boys" is the first film directed by Curtis Hanson, who hit gold with "L.A. Confidential" a few years ago. Screenwriter Steve Kloves writes a smart and intelligent story here and places the funny moments with some perfect timing. Photographer Dante Spinotti "Heat", "L.A. Confidential", "The Insider" provides the movie with great views of the campus during the fall and winter seasons. The movie's theme song, "Things Have Changed", written and sung by the legendary Bob Dylan, is great to listen to and deserves an Oscar for it.Overall, this film is the best college movie made since John Landis' classic comedy spoof/satire, "Animal House". This movie is "Animal House" with much better morals and doesn't have the common clichés.
Not many people have heard of this film. It's not what the masses want, they yearn for Men In Black II, Legally Blonde, Die Another Day and so on. This minor gem is strange, unconventional, rich and moving. It is a classically written character study with unexpected comic twists and turns from every angle. You feel warmer for having watched this movie, and it is a shame that films like these only occur once or twice a year.Grady Tripp Michael Douglas is a middle-aged professor of English, and is writing his second novel, `The Wonder Boys'. However, this character is not a <more>
stereotypical teacher but a fantastically original creation emphasized by Douglas' winning performance. He smokes weed and lives with a student of his Katie Holmes , he is in the midst of his third divorce and is in love with his married boss, Sara Gaskell Frances McDormand , and that second novel is forever incomplete, and has been for seven years. One of his pupils is James Leer, played to perfection by Tobey Maguire, who writes amazingly obtuse stories and is obsessed with the death of film stars. James and Grady become partners in crime when they shoot Sara's blind dog and steal the coat Marilyn Monroe was married in. From here on in we are absorbed into the life of Grady and those around him, from his publisher terry Crabtree Downey jr to his writer rival, Q. we see lives slowly fall apart, relationships blossom, a novel disappear into the wind and a black dude who refuses to be called Vernon Hardapple, all in one weekend.Wonder Boys never disappoints. It's dry humour and bizarre imagination never stops for a second, and we are glued with a grin on our faces. Hardly realistic, the audience can still feel for the characters as their lives spiral into a comic frenzy. Grady and his off-beat world crumbling around him as he searches for happiness; Terry, the flamboyant homosexual who puts on a brave face, believing in others as he searches for a comeback novel which he will not get from Grady ; James, the loner who needs to release the genius within himself. These are the wonder boys. Frances McDormand and Katie Holmes gladly take a back seat in the story as this film refuses to be weighed down by sap.The acting is flawless, with at least two superb supporting roles. Robert Downey jr sparkles in his greatest role since Chaplin, but it is Tobey Maguire who makes us feel he has always been that awkward, deadpan student that is James Leer. For those who have seen Pleasantville and The Cider House Rules will recognise Maguire for the talant he is it almost makes one feel he sold out when taking the Spider-Man role , and here he has been sadly overlooked for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Douglas is in fine form as he always is in these strange and demanding roles, the last one being Falling Down. He can play a suicidal maniac and a stoned teacher and both roles will seem tailor made. The direction is impeccable as Hanson allows the characters to shine and the story flow, and it is almost unbelievable that this man directed the gritty, deadly serious L.A. Confidential. He packs Kloves screenplay with comic beauty and I sincerely hope he continues to direct these understated movies.The big money-makers over the past few years have been either remakes, sequels or by-the-number churned out garbage and all these have one objective: to earn copious amounts of cash. Many of these film are successful in this aim but fail to capture one's imagination as Wonder Boys does so well. It is a shame to see the public throw there money at `Rocky and Bullwinkle' when it really should go to those who deserve it, those who still care about the art of motion picture. Anyone that will sit down to watch this will agree that it is a treasure to behold. A hidden treasure
small, oddball little film with a definite, quirky, dark sense of humour and a cast of eccentric characters that are never colourful for the sake of it. (by dr. gonzo)
I have to admit that when i first saw the trailer for this film, I thought, "Sweet Jesus, this looks a lot like Rushmore!" complete with a dishelved Michael Douglas doing the Bill Murray/Mr. Blume thing and Tobey Maguire as a rambunctious, upstart kid a la Max Fischer. Man, was I wrong. Wonder Boys is the kind of small, oddball little film with a definite, quirky, dark sense of humour and a cast of eccentric characters that are never colourful for the sake of it. Michael Douglas disappears completely into the role of Grady Tripp, a burnt out English professor, who once wrote a much <more>
celebrated novel but has since been having a hard time with his follow-up. He just keeps writing and writing with no end in sight current page count sits around 2100 pages! . the film starts at the beginning of a truly hellish day for Tripp as his wife leaves him, his girlfriend tells him she's pregnant and he almost gets killed by her husband's blind dog. throw in an eccentric writing protege Tobey Maguire , Tripp's bi-sexual literary agent Robert Downey, Jr. and his transvestite date, and you've got quite an interesting mix of characters. in some ways, Douglas' character is a pot-smoking burn-out like the Dude from THE BIG LEBOWSKI. he is content to live outside of society, putt around, write his novel, teaching his classes but when he crosses paths with Maguire's character, he realizes that he's got to change. Douglas is more than up for this role. i'm not a huge fan of the man's work WALL STREET and THE GAME excepted but he's perfectly cast in this film. he hits just the right note of world-weary cynicism but with a romantic streak buried underneath. you can tell that he's got the capacity to do something about his miserable lot in life and during the course of the film his character undergoes a fascinating arc. the real stand out of this film, though, is Tobey Maguire. i've only seen him in a few things, here and there and i never really noticed him all that much before although, he was great in PLEASANTVILLE. everyone in the film keeps harping on what a genius writer Douglas' character is, but it quickly becomes apparent that Maguire's character is the true genius. he writes pages and pages of beautiful prose in minutes. and like any true talent, it just comes pouring out of him effortlessly. Maguire nails that kind of visionary talent perfectly. his character is so different from his peers and you are never sure what makes him tick, until 3/4 of the way through when another side of his intriguing personality is revealed. at first, you think his character is pretty one-dimensional -- the oddball genius -- but Maguire provides all sorts of layers and subtle nuances to his character that are great to watch. it doesn't hurt that Steve Kloves' script is a solid piece of writing. clever, insightful dialogue that tells you volumes about these characters. the dialogue is humourous and offbeat in one scene, touching and thoughtful in the next. Kloves also wisely avoids the usual cliches... ie. the romance between the older man and younger woman. just when you think it's going to go there, the film veers off to something different and better. every character has their moment to really define themselves with the possible exception of Katie Holmes who seems to be sorely underused. which is too bad, really, because the scenes she does have are good. it's nice to see that she can do more than just DAWSON'S CREEK. and lastly, the mood and atmosphere of this movie is so magical. to me, the best films are ones that you lose yourself in completely. the characters and the world they inhabit are so real, so three-dimensional that you can't help but get sucked in. WONDER BOYS does that so well. the attention to detail -- a snowy winter in Pittsburgh -- is beautiful realized. esp. the night time scenes, like one in which Douglas and Maguire talk outside in a backyard while the snow falls gently around them... are so well done, i felt like i was right there. and isn't that what a good film should do? make it able for you to escape for a couple of hours? hard to believe that the guy who made L.A. CONFIDENTIAL did this one. a complete change of pace and mood and... everything. amazing stuff. anyways, i reallly dug WONDER BOYS. it's the first film i've seen this year that has really affected me in a profoundly personal way. a film that as soon as it was over, i wanted to go right back in and watch it again.
Sometimes, movie makers manage to create a world that one cannot resist being pulled into. In this world one lingers for a couple of hours, waiting for the next minute with a smile on one's lips. "Wonder Boys" is one of the best movies of recent years in that it successfully drags the viewer along on it's whimsical and sometimes really strange journey.The characters are believable despite their alien behaviors - the only normal person around might just be Hannah Green Holmes , skirting around the main characters like an observing ghost. Douglas is pulling off what must be <more>
his best performance ever, portraying a decaying, once-famous addict writer with a severe case of reversed writer's block: he can't finish his novel and he can't stop writing... Tobey Maguire is very well cast with his innocent yet troubled look, and Frances McDormand is just as she always is: fantastic.I'm very impressed with this film, which took me off-guard. Not many I know went to see it. I'm glad I did.
In commemoration of the late Curtis Hanson, who passed away in September at the age of 71, an all-around director, writer and producer, WONDER BOYS came after his career-pinnacle crime-noir L.A. CONFIDENTIAL 1997 , and was dead on arrival in its domestic release after being bizarrely dumped into a languish February, yet, almost one-year later after a not-so-successful re-release during the Oscar season , it was nominated for 3 Oscars and won Bob Dylan his only Oscar to date, for its pensive theme song THINGS HAVE CHANGED.Who are the titular wonder boys? The obvious one is James Leer <more>
Maguire , a young writer whose withdrawn temperament is yoked with his impromptu falsehoods, who remembers all the suicidal cases of Hollywood stars but his unpublished first novel is definitely a gem-in-the-can. Taking into account the plural form of "boys", the other wonder boy must be referred to our protagonist, James' middle-aged university professor Grady Tripp Douglas , whose life has been squarely stuck in a pickle, his wife left him and he is in an extramarital affair with the university chancellor Sara Gaskell McDormand , who just informs him that she is pregnant with his baby, so that's the ultimatum. Also, he is unable to finish his second novel, a typical sophomore syndrome if the first one is too good to excel, plus his pansexual editor Terry Crabtree Downey Jr. arrives in Pittsburgh to check up on him about his stalling creativity progress. A tentative bond builds between Grady and James during their madcap experience at Sara's place one night, which involves a loaded cap gun, a jacket Marilyn Monroe once wore in her wedding day, a dead blind dog names Poe and a stolen car. Hanson's film credibly captures a tangible veneer of intelligentsia's ambiguity between sophistication and naïvety, often under the influence of booze or drugs, and the narrative is trenchantly driven by subtext rather than over-blunt dialogues, without being facilely condescending. WONDER BOYS is replete with dry humors too, and not always bank on the face value, the story may dredges up Grady's scrape to the fore, but there is never a dull moment in his marijuana-addled, gimping journey before he can finally make a right choice in the right moment. Michael Douglas gives an astonishingly engrossing impersonation of Prof. Tripp, certainly a high point in his résumé, carrying an air of bookishness, but substantially sympathetic in his man-child mode, makes a great couple with a comfortably relaxed McDormand. In the era before Marvel's enrollment, it is so refreshing to watch the bromance pair of a puppy-eyed Maguire and a rejoinders-shooting Downey Jr. who is a jolly scene-stealer , play lovey-dovey here, the placement of homosexual element including a transvestite character played by real-life drag queen Cavadias is subsidiary to the main plot, but is massively conducive to set an early mark of normalizing its existence in a mainstream product's storyline, especially in such a nonchalant attitude. Last but not the least, WONDER BOYS' eclectically reminiscent soundtrack is a slam-bang antidote catering to any nostalgia-stricken individual.
A unique comedy with likable characters and a great plot. (by sonumania123)
Wonder Boys is a unique comedy that lets you see what the characters are going through. The movie presents itself a pleasant and strange characters and see what is about to occur in every little bit. Wonder Boys achieves to be both a delightful character study and also a stunning success directed into a nice joint piece. It is fairly uplifting to see characters cooperate, contrast,connect, laugh, and mostly do things that appear in full honesty. While it's not a flawless movie, Wonder Boys is applauded for its sharp and smart script and bountiful of great acting. Grady is having a bumpy <more>
day. His wife left him, his girlfriend is pregnant, he has an attractive looking student whom rents a room from him, and his editor shows up at his city with a transvestite, and one of his students shows up at a party with a gun. As the viewers, we're in for one hell of entertaining ride.When a flick like Wonder Boys works in nearly all sizes, the greatest attention is rewarded to the actors and actresses. Michael Douglas was pleasant to watch in this movie. Frances McDormand modestly glosses. Katie Holmes was all-out excellent in her character. She's relaxed and smart, and a harsh one as well. As continuously, Robert Downey Jr. is funny and hazardous. He accepts much jeopardy as an actor. The one who mounted out the most for me is Tobey Maguire, smart, shy, weird, and funny was the type of character he played. The kind of guy you stay away from if you were to encounter one in school.Wonder Boys prepares what any upright film would do: It provides characters to like and a script that expresses a charming story.
This movie ''smells'' like the book... (by mejason2005)
Probably one of the most accurate book-to-movie adaptations..Just like the book it drives your mind to a more spiritual less materialized world when words still meant something. Black humor wit and weird situations come along very nicely. Chabon's words live greatly through the script and the narrator thing through the eyes of Michael Douglas is superb. Not to forget the amazing Tobey Maguire whose awkwardness fit perfectly to James Leer. You will have this feeling of warm loneliness after the end titles. Probably a feel to do some reading. Movies that gonna make you dust off some book <more>
and dig into? Not that many.Even if you already have read the book it won't disappoint.9/10