Collateral Beauty (David Frankel, 2016)

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flyonthewall2983
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Collateral Beauty (David Frankel, 2016)

#1 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:26 pm

The early word on Collateral Beauty and (to my surprise) Passengers is especially brutal.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Films of 2016

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:55 am

I thought the trailer for Collateral Beauty looked unbelievably bad and then I read the brief plot description and it sounds so bonkers that I've gone back to being mildly interested

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hearthesilence
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Re: The Films of 2016

#3 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:33 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:The early word on Collateral Beauty and (to my surprise) Passengers is especially brutal.
I hated the incredibly dumb The Imitation Game, an especially dubious feat given the real-life story they had to work with, so I can't say I'm surprised.

The trailer seemed to confirm my worst expectations but Collateral Beauty sounded so bad on paper, I wondered how it got such a top flight cast.

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Re: The Films of 2016

#4 Post by dda1996a » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:19 pm

Headhunters was great, Imitation Game wasn't so anything was possible.
Regarding Collateral Beauty, the trailer made it seem like the characters Smith meets are in his imagination, like a Scrooge and Christmas Spirits. But nope they're hired actors. I honestly don't know why everyone signed up. It's wasn't even shot outside the U. S

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Re: The Films of 2016

#5 Post by cdnchris » Thu May 25, 2017 3:11 pm

So, when it comes to newer films I usually only end up watching whatever my wife picks out. Some of it's good/great (like Get Out, which I wanted to see anyways), objectively terrible but still fun (Unforgettable, which is what you would get if you got a bunch of Hollywood professionals together to make an above average Lifetime movie--and honestly I recommend it despite knowing most people here will hate it) or so mediocre I can't be bothered to recall the title (...) But then there's the occasional, just stupifyingly awful film, and in this case that would be Collateral Beauty.

If you've seen the trailer for it then you more than likely are already thinking about how awful that film looks. But you really have no idea.

If you haven't watched the trailer it sells it like this: Will Smith is grieving over the death of his daughter and in an act of defiance that would only happen in the movies he writes letters to Love, Death, and Time, chewing them out for taking away his daughter. Much to his surprise, though, the three show up in the physical forms of (respectively) Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, and Helen Mirren. They then work to teach him that life is worth living, help him through his grief, and blah blah blah. There is also dominos. Merry Christmas!

That movie looks schmaltzy and terrible, so of course it totally appealed to my wife. But we were both surprised to learn just how awful this film really is. I'm not going to bother with spoiler tags but I will warn its spoiler city from here on out.

So, as the trailer promised, Will Smith's daughter has passed away. The trauma was just too much that he either separated or divorced from his wife (I can't recall which). As one would expect this is all too much for him and his mourning has consumed his life. He can't focus on anything and has no concern about his business. He has a majority share in it while the rest is owned by his business partners played by the impressive cast of Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, and Michael Pena. Though these three do feel for him they're going through their own personal issues (ranging from divorce to cancer) and are worried about the business going under because of Smith's lack of concern. So, what do they do!? Well, in the spirit of Christmas (I'm pretty sure the makers are hoping this will be a Christmas classic) the three come up with a scheme, probably one of the most ridiculous and convoluted schemes to ever exist, to STEAL the company out from under him.

As the trailer also promises Smith writes those letters to Love, Time, and Death and his three partners catch wind of this. After Norton meets Knightley, who is auditioning for an acting gig for commercial, he comes up with the plan to have her and two of her friends (Latimore and Mirren) role-play as Love, Time, and Death and show up randomly to Smith, addressing his letters and appearing to help him deal with his grief. To complete the illusion that they are supernatural beings they also have people around these encounters pretend they don't see them so that Smith thinks he is the only one who can see them.

(As an aside, Smith is actually pretty funny in these scenes, but he and the other actors can't save this film.)

The plot is stupid and incredibly mean but it might almost be forgivable if the reason they were doing this was to help him move on. But no, that's not why they are doing this. As I mentioned they are trying to steal his share of the business so what they have done is hired a private investigator to follow him around and record these encounters. They are then going to edit out Mirren, Latimore, and Knightley so they can complain about his mental competence and sue him for his share of the company. This of course leads to a legal setting where these edited videos are shown and Smith (who I have to say is actually fairly heartbreaking as a grieving father) gets to come to think he might be crazy as well. Merry Christmas!

But this film gets SO much worse. There is a subplot where Smith is going to a counseling group headed by Naomie Harris, who has also lost her daughter and is separated from her husband. The two begin to form a bond and she, who has moved on as best as she can, tries to help him, but he is of course afraid of confronting his loss. Some of this isn't well written but there are some genuine and good moments in these scenes. Smith is actually good in this film (he just has this thing for picking shitty movies) and as a father myself I did feel myself getting a bit upset during some of these scenes. I hope it's nothing I ever have to confront but Smith felt real to me.

Unfortunately, any good will I handed to this film during a handful of these Harris/Smith scenes were completely thrown out after the movie reveals its first "twist" (of course this film has a fucking twist!) Harris offers to show a video of her daughter, thinking (I guess) it might help him in some way, and Smith begrudgingly agrees to watch. So she throws the video on... And... Holy shit, Will Smith is in that video with her daughter! Wait! That means...! Will Smith and Naomie Harris were/are married and that they lost their one and only daughter. She was able to move on (again, as best she could) but he couldn't! The grief was so much that they had to pretend they didn't know each other AT ALL. Or something. I don't know. But what little goodwill I was willing to give it died here. It's the cheapest thing this movie did.

But wait! There's another twist! So those actors playing Love, Time, and Death? Well guess what! They're not really actors, they are actually Love, Time, and Death! That's right, everyone in this movie is just fucking around with everyone else and these three (I guess) showed up to teach life lessons to Norton, Winslet, and Pena because they are absolutely horrible shit heels. Merry Christmas!

Seriously, fuck this movie.

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Re: The Films of 2016

#6 Post by kidc85 » Fri May 26, 2017 4:57 pm

I'm very happy you suffered through this Chris, that was great.

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Re: The Films of 2016

#7 Post by hearthesilence » Fri May 26, 2017 5:01 pm

I wonder if anyone at any point during the making of this film thought "this is a piece of shit, we should NOT be making this." I guess everyone involved either had no taste, really needed the money, or for some reason were too scared to say anything.

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Re: The Films of 2016

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Fri May 26, 2017 5:28 pm

That sounds like a film that makes Two of a Kind look down to earth! I also agree on Chris's comments about Will Smith being great in unfortunately blunderingly silly dramatic films. Seven Pounds is almost the same mix of heartfelt performance surrounded by hideous contrivances, albeit without the whole thing with people embodying metaphors. It all makes me pine for when he was in a really good dramatic film like Six Degrees of Separation.

I'm never going to watch Collateral Beauty (at least until it turns up on TV some time for a guilty giggle) but I assume that the evil business partners never get their comeuppance for forcing Smith out of his job, albeit 'for his own good'?

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#9 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 26, 2017 5:40 pm

Chris, unless a Mexican boxer has ascended to starring roles in Hollywood, I think you mean Michael Pena, not Chris Pena!

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Re: The Films of 2016

#10 Post by cdnchris » Fri May 26, 2017 5:43 pm

Ugh, now we have a thread.
colinr0380 wrote: I'm never going to watch Collateral Beauty (at least until it turns up on TV some time for a guilty giggle) but I assume that the evil business partners never get their comeuppance for forcing Smith out of his job, albeit 'for his own good'?
Nope, I think the idea is they learn some sort of lesson or something.
hearthesilence wrote:I wonder if anyone at any point during the making of this film thought "this is a piece of shit, we should NOT be making this." I guess everyone involved either had no taste, really needed the money, or for some reason were too scared to say anything.
I have no idea. Though everyone in the cast has done some really bad films (I like Smith but he really can pick lousy movies) I can't really see how anyone would have thought this would work. I can see why the trailer changes the storyline because I would rather watch that piece of shit than the piece of shit I actually watched.
kidc85 wrote:I'm very happy you suffered through this Chris, that was great.
You're welcome, but I honestly didn't capture just how toxic the film really is.

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#11 Post by cdnchris » Fri May 26, 2017 5:44 pm

domino harvey wrote:Chris, unless a Mexican boxer has ascended to starring roles in Hollywood, I think you mean Michael Pena, not Chris Pena!
Whoops! Fixed.

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Re: cdnchris Presents: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#12 Post by swo17 » Fri May 26, 2017 5:45 pm

cdnchris wrote:Ugh, now we have a thread.
Is that a better thread title? If not, you can change it.

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Re: cdnchris Presents: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#13 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 26, 2017 5:49 pm

We already know who's going to change it

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#14 Post by swo17 » Fri May 26, 2017 5:54 pm

The twist you did not see coming: A couple spirits just convinced me to change it back myself.

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#15 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 26, 2017 5:55 pm

Wait til you guys find out I've actually been Kiera Knightley this whole time

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#16 Post by CSM126 » Fri May 26, 2017 9:21 pm

I never expected this piece of shit to get a thread here, but since it has I will echo what Chris had to say. Rarely have I had a more stupefying and infuriating movie-going experience than this bizarre, feel-good Gaslight remake. It's absolutely vile and disgusting and, unlike Chris, I can't give the actors all that much credit. These people should've known better. The material is irredeemably repugnant to its very core. Also, they're freaking awful, especially Kate Winslet and Ed Norton who just mug, and aren't any good at mugging.
Last edited by CSM126 on Fri May 26, 2017 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#17 Post by hearthesilence » Fri May 26, 2017 9:22 pm

Mighty strong criticism from someone who appears to have seen The Room.

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#18 Post by CSM126 » Fri May 26, 2017 9:23 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Mighty strong criticism from someone who appears to have seen The Room.
The Room is entertainingly bad. Collateral Bullshit is nasty and mean-spirited.

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#19 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 26, 2017 9:23 pm

Maybe the film is like Mad Dog Time, where all the big stars were involved solely to clear their gambling debt chits

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#20 Post by Rayon Vert » Sat May 27, 2017 12:42 am


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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#21 Post by cdnchris » Sun May 28, 2017 12:14 pm

That shock and puzzlement on their faces seems accurate. My wife and I both had that face after we watched it.

They point out one thing I forgot to mention: that Smith isn't the main focus of the film. The main focus are the three dipshits that concoct this stupid scheme and I think we're supposed to like them. I don't mind films where characters are reprehensible but this film seems to still think they're likeable and really wants to push us to empathize with them. And all I could think was these were easily the most awful, vile people in New York, even with the Trumps there.

And describing the dialogue as "trailer lines" is accurate: every third line feels highlighted and punctuated like there is a deeper meaning, at least on their own without much context. So perfect for a trailer.
unlike Chris, I can't give the actors all that much credit. These people should've known better.
Oh I totally agree. I still thought Smith was fine and that video reminded me that Mirren was fine as well. But they could have both cleaned up the award circuits (not saying they would have of course) and it would still be inexcusable that they signed onto this.

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Re: Collateral Beauty (Who Cares, 2016)

#22 Post by colinr0380 » Mon May 29, 2017 5:42 am

To put that video into a little bit of context, that guy and his friends over the last few years has gone above and beyond the call of duty to watch and report back on almost all of the new wave of disturbingly straight-faced 'Christian' films: War Room, Heaven Is For Real, God's Not Dead 1 and 2, God's Club ("They fought for the school's bible club and won"!), I'm Not Ashamed (a biopic of the first victim of the Columbine massacre), the hilarious (until you realise that they mean it) Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas, Voiceless and *shudder* Old Fashioned. As well as Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party. And Collateral Beauty is apparently only just under that company!

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