MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I am a writer. I have been a writer for most of my life. I discovered my talent when I was still in grade school, and one of the greatest moments of my life as a kid was when my parents purchased our first word-processor. I now make my living writing, and I have had few jobs that did not rely on this talent.
However, I try not to be pretentious about it. In fact, the start of that previous paragraph is probably the first time in years I have actually identified myself that way. The reason for this stems from hearing so many people (including real writers and wannabe writers) brag about being a writer and look down on everyone else because of it.
It is my distaste for those people that helped make me dislike “Being Flynn.” It’s based on a true story, about a writer named Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) whose father Jonathan (Robert De Niro) fancies himself one of the great American writers. Of course, his father is also an ass, having abandoned his family when he kid was just a child. After losing his job and being evicted from his apartment, Jonathan ends up in the homeless shelter where Nick works. This leads to a rocky road of the two reconnecting and finding a mutual respect.
The big draw for a film like this is the performances. De Niro gives a solid take on Jonathan Flynn, and Paul Dano holds his own against the seasoned actor. But all the great performances in the world can’t save this movie from its own melodrama.
Like many films dealing with estranged families, “Being Flynn” revels in its own negative feelings. Featuring several obvious “Oscar moments” (that will never be seen in an actual Oscar broadcast), the film swirls around the toilet drain with Nick and Jonathan engaging in self-destructive behavior.
Eventually, the movie warps in on itself and becomes its own parody, which emerges from the script written by director Paul Weitz, who is not a great writer at all. In the end, it becomes an overly pretentious movie about an overly pretentious writer, which is not very well written at all.
The Blu-ray runs very thin, which doesn’t give much added value to a film that’s already weak. “The Heart of Being Flynn” is the only special feature on this disc, and it profiles the real people behind the movie and how it was made.