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Review Wanted: Happiness (1998)

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Review Wanted: Happiness (1998)

Old 02-19-00, 05:59 PM
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I heard that this is a weird movie, could someone please give us some review of this movie? Thanks!
Old 02-19-00, 06:27 PM
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This movie is dark, very very dark. It is quite disturbing and deals with very serious issues such as child molestation. With that said it is one of the best films of 1998 that I saw. A lot of people will be truley offended by this film. I suggest reading Ebert's very good review of this film here:

Please excuse my spelling. A childhood spent watching film and TV has left my grammar skills permanently crippled.
Old 02-19-00, 06:30 PM
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Weird is not the right word. Try disturbing. the critics loved this movie and so did many other people. Personally, I list it as one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I couldn't even finish watching it. Its basically about 3 (i think?) sisters, and the men that are involved in their life.

Its supposed to be a black comedy, although I found it TOO dark to be even remotely funny.. and I don't consider myself a prude. There are scenes that made me feel uncomfortable - like one of the men is a pedophile and makes suggestive comments to his son. Another is obsessed with violent dreams where he mows down innocent people with an automatic assault rifle. If any of this sounds remotely interesting -- i'd still say RENT IT FIRST. This movie is definately not for everyone.

Old 02-19-00, 08:56 PM
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Definitely disturbing and very hard to watch. I still have not seen the film all the way through.

BTW, the pedophile character is the same one with the dreams of mowing people down with an assault rifle.

[This message has been edited by wrinkleintime (edited February 19, 2000).]
Old 02-20-00, 02:12 AM
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I think this was a very good movie and definitely worth watching...definitely rent it be4 purchasing though cuz the material is pretty extreme like the previous people have said.
Old 02-20-00, 02:52 AM
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I, also, thought that this was one of the best films of 1998. "Happiness" is what the three sisters (and everybody else in the film for that matter) is striving for. Although the subject matter in some parts is rough, I found it to be tastefully done. I wouldn't put this film in the comedy (yuk-yuk) category--it definitely had a dramatic arc for the characters and the director treated them all sympathetically in the film. If you found "American Beauty" to your liking, you might also like "Happiness."
Old 02-20-00, 03:38 AM
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Great film. I watch it every Wednesday with Dr. Pepper in my hand.
Old 02-20-00, 06:39 AM
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I thought the movie was just bad. I do not get offended over anything, and it did not really disturb me at all - there's a lot sicker crap in the real world than in this movie. It just really wasn't very entertaining. It was interesting for a single watching I guess, but there isn't anything in it that I would ever want to watch again.

Basically there are 4 plots going on during the movie, involving members of a family. The husband/wife have one plot, and each sister has a separate plot. Each deals with their efforts to find 'happiness' in life. They are all fairly believable and things I could see happening in real life.

The husband/wife plot was just flat out boring. Coming to terms with being attracted to someone other than your wife, etc, etc. Nothing positive to say about it. The least interesting of the three.

Then you have the one sister whose husband is a pedophile. Basically its how he comes to grip with his illness. This is probably the most interesting plot but the one people say is so disturbing. You don't see anything really, just allusions to what he does. I think they mainly are going after shock value here.

The third is the shy/withdrawn sister that is looking for someone to love. This one was ok I guess. Not really all that interesting but not too bad.

The fourth was the sister that is very outgoing and in command. This plot has all known actors in it. The sister is played by Lara Flynn Boyle. Her apartment neighbor is some lonely guy that is obsessed with her and fantasizes about raping her (played by the guy that was in Boogie Nights (gay guy) and Magnolia). Meanwhile this other attention deprived lady on the floor (played by the larger woman on the Practice) likes the guy (figures thats all she can get) and keeps hitting on him, but he is busy thinking he can get with the sister. I dunno, I didn't really find that one too interesting either.

As I said, I wasn't at all offended/disturbed by the movie. I just found it very dull overall. I really didn't get much of a message out of the movie. I definitely would not suggest purchasing it. Its a probably interesting rental, just to see what all the 'shock' of it is. Thats the only reason I rented it and was very disappointed.
Old 02-20-00, 12:28 PM
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I thought that this movie was good but I have no desire to see it again. There was a lot of good material in it but there were times when I thought I could sense Todd Solondz (the writer / director) saying "look at how dark I can make this!" Other films have approached dark, subversive subject amtter without drawing attention to themselves in that way. He's a good filmmaker, but he's still learning.
Old 02-22-00, 08:09 PM
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If you like Luis Bunuel's later films, you will probably like "Happiness," although Solondz does not even approach Bunuel in skill. I though "Happiness" felt very similar in tone to films like "The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeousie."
Old 02-26-00, 08:01 PM
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Definitely one of the best films I've seen in a long time. A must-have for any serious movie lover.


Old 02-27-00, 05:58 PM
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I thought this was a very funny movie...though it wasn't the type of humor that would make for repeat viewings...wouldn't buy it
Old 05-17-00, 09:18 PM
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i thought that this movie had some very hilarious parts but it was too slow moving & should have had about 30 minutes cut at least. be warned....it is very very dark.

the father/son talks, in my opinion, will just crack you up, not to mention various "hot shots." definitely not a dvd i would buy & dont really care if i see it again but it is worth checking about by anyone who likes DARK comedy.
Old 05-17-00, 11:38 PM
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quote:<HR>Originally posted by dskolnick:
A must-have for any serious movie lover.

I consider myself a serious movie lover, but did not care for this movie. I did not hate it either, it's about 2 stars out of 4. If anyone wants to buy a viewed once copy of it I will happily sell it for $13 shipped. Contact me at [email protected]
Old 05-18-00, 12:14 AM
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I saw Happiness in a theater last year & I loved it. And I'd like to see it again. But I don't know if I want it in my home. Very funny & very disturbing. I saw this in a theater in a museum with a pretty mixed crowd - lots of older people with membership discounts - & still most people enjoyed it.

I foolishly saw American Beauty a week later & it couldn't compare at all.
Old 05-18-00, 12:48 AM
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"It was the feel good movie of 1998!"

I'll never look behind a postcard to see what's holding on the wall... Ewww...

I think the word for this movie is "ponderous."

Frankly, I can't really see what any "true" filmlover would see in this movie.

I guess if you make a film about disturbing issues, at least have a point to the film that isn't just pedantic.

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Old 05-18-00, 05:06 AM
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I also hated this movie (although I loved Welcome to the Dollhouse). Everything in it is just for shock value, there's no real point. It's basically an exercise in how far Solondz can push the envelope.
Old 05-18-00, 05:23 AM
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This(and A Simple Plan) were my top two films of 1998. It was also one of the first DVDs I bought(definitely the first bare bones I bought). It was disturbing and dark, yet I was amazed walking out of the theater how many times I had laughed out loud. Despite(or sometimes because of) the many cringeworthy moments I laughed a lot. This film also fascinated me with the complexity of the characters. You don't see a lot of films create a pedophilic character with the amount of depth Dylan Baker created. Solondz assumed that his audience knew pedophilia was wrong, so why not explore other facets. Of course, if the pedophile likes 16 year old girls instead of 10 year old boys, that's different. This is just one of the many ways that American Beauty(a very good film) is a more palatable presentation of many of the themes presented here. Anyhoo, I just can't say enough good things about this film and yet my advice, as always, remains the same. If you haven't seen it, rent it first.

P.S. And Jeraden, the actors' names you are looking for are Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Camryn Manheim and they're both brilliant in the film, which reminds me, DON'T watch the trailer before the movie. There are spoilers.

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