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Aug 16, 2008

Fletch's Film Review: Henry Poole Is Here

By the time you read this, Mrs. Fletch and I will have long since forgotten what it was about. We saw the film in early April after we obtained tickets to a focus group screening. If you haven't attended one, it's basically the same as any other old screening, except that you are asked to fill out a questionnaire at the end ("Please, be brutally honest") and a few folks get to stick around to be part of the intense focus groups as part of a Q & A session.

We weren't part of that lucky group (unlucky?), but I've been there before. Years ago, I got to be a part of that group for The Fifth Element (I told them that it was too slapsticky, amongst other things; they obviously didn't listen), and not too long ago, Mrs. Fletch and I were a part of one for Spanglish (ugh). For Henry Poole though, we just watched, wrote and left, and as it stated on the ticket prior to entry, anyone "involved with" movie news and/or reviews was not welcome. Since Movie Reviewing and I are casually dating, I had to lie and say that I wasn't, and to keep up my part of the bargain, I've held this post as a draft for the past four months.

Well, the film has now been released to the general public, so I've kept my end of the deal. In fitting with the theme of the screening, in which I had to fill out a questionnaire afterwards that was essentially a review at the USA Today reading level, I figure I might as well try to re-create it here (pardon me if my memory fails me).

1. Based on the scale below, how would you rate Henry Poole Is Here?
□ Excellent
□ Very Good
□ Good
■ Fair
□ Bad

2. Would you recommend this film to a friend?
□ Definitely!
□ Yeah, probably
■ Probably not
□ No way!

3. Which of the following films have you seen in the theater?
The Family Stone
Lars and the Real Girl
Death at a Funeral
Definitely, Maybe
(you get the picture)

4. How many films have you seen in the theater in the last two months?

(memory fading...)

5. Name three things you liked about the movie:
* The beginning
* The scene with Luke Wilson and Cheryl Hines
* George Lopez

6. Name three things you didn't like about the movie:
* The way the ending tied everything up into a neat little bow
* The song that played during the final scenes
* How obvious some of the "twists" were, even for this reviewer that is terrible at such things.


Unfortunately, what you see above is all that I wrote about Henry Poole just days after seeing it. Now, here it is four months later, and I can't recall much else to say. Time is a cruel bitch to this reviewer's memory, especially when it comes to movies that I'm mostly ambivalent about. Let's just say that looking back on what I said above, my overall rating might be a tad harsh - it probably should fall somewhere between "Fair" and "Good." I guess I placed it in the "Fair" category thinking that putting "Good" would contradict the answer to the second question.

If you like indie dramadies with messages of hope (and Luke Wilson), check it out. If none of that sounds appealing, then be a jerk and go give George Lucas your money.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."

9 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Henry Poole Is Here"

John said...

Wonderful wonderful person

Accept my sincere thanks and appreciation



Dead Pan said...

I would rather not give lucas or this film my money. I would, and have, rather give my money to Ben Stiller for Tropic Thunder. =)

Fletch said...

Probably a wise choice...

Anonymous said...

How do they pick people for these screenings? Did you sign up for it or something? I've always wanted to go to one of those, even if it was a bad movie.

Fletch said...

The few times I've been to a test screening, it's been due to dumb luck more than anything else - being in the right place at the right time.

You'll be walking out of a theater and there someone will be looking for people to sign up. I think for Henry Poole, we were actually in a theater (before the film started) when a few folks went around looking for volunteers.

Pat said...

I went to a test screening about 10-12 years ago for this Godawful movie that starred Charlie Sheen and Thomas Hayden Church as these guys who married twin sisters - the brides' father was (I swear to God) played by Marlon Brando, who must have needed the paycheck real bad.

I couldn't bear to let them know how bad it really was, so on my questionnaire I wrote in sarcastic comments like "This is Brando's finest performance since "On the Waterfront" and "I love sophisticated comedy, and that moment when Brando lands head first in the toilet is a classic example."

I don't know that they have any way of keeping track of who attends these - but I haven't been asked to one since.

Fletch said...

Pat, that cracked me up. Should I ever go to another test screening (and I'm sure I will) and it turns out to be bad (and I'm sure it will), I'm definitely using that technique.

"Rob Schneider's best performance! Not since the days of Olivier have I seen such mastery of the craft!"

WaywardJam said...

I'd love to be part of a test screening. All I ever get is the comment cards at sneak previews. Ever since I put things like so and so's performance "sucked the big one" the moderators seem more inclined to give the cards to my wife.

It could also be that they struggle to get women's opinions on goofball comedies and action flicks while young white males opinions are a dime a dozen...I think I just made myself insignificant. I'll go sulk now and wait for the day Luke Wilson makes a movie worth remembering again.

nick plowman said...

I would love to go to a test screening some day too. This film opens in SA next weekend, and I might see it. I don't know.