Stranger Than Fiction: The Good Kind of Strange

I watched a really terrific movie last weekend, STRANGER THAN FICTION. Yes, I know this was a movie that came out in 2006. But with two short people running around my living room, I now see movies when: (a) they show up on HBO or the free weekends on the other cable channels; (b) when I can stay awake long enough; and (c) I can remember from the title what the movie was supposed to have been about.

So this movie was about a man, Harold Crick (played by Will Farrell), who suddenly hears his life as he is living it in real-time being narrated by this disembodied voice (Emma Thompson, who could recite a user manual for vacuums and have me hanging on every word). Events take on a titch more urgency when Harold hears this narrator forecast his imminent death. It’s a very meta- movie, and great for book readers, with its references to all the different fiction genres.

The movie was penned by a relatively new writer, Zach Helm. Helm is moving on up in the world, having written and directed tbe new film MR. MAGORIUM’S WONDER EMPORIUM, just being released this weekend, if I’m not mistaken. This of course means that I won’t see this movie until 2009 or so. Alas.

But the guy can write. Here’s a brief snippet from STRANGER THAN FICTION, one of the narratives that Harold hears being said by the voice who turns out to be a writer, Kay Eiffel (Thompson):

This is a story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold Crick was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words. And his wristwatch said even less. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would brush each of his thirty-two teeth seventy-six times. Thirty-eight times back and forth, thirty-eight times up and down. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would tie his tie in a single Windsor knot instead of the double, thereby saving up to forty-three seconds. His wristwatch thought the single Windsor made his neck look fat, but said nothing.

Impressive, yes? So the writing, combined with a great cast — Will Farrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson — and terrific, understated direction by Mark Forster, makes for a most enjoyable movie experience. So if you missed it in the theaters, see if you can find it now. It’s well worth watching.

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3 Responses to “Stranger Than Fiction: The Good Kind of Strange”

  1. aditive Says:

    oh, I love this movie. great black humor, great love story and some really nice but subtle effects!

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    It was such a nice surprise to me. I also really liked the funky tech graphics going on in the opening credits and at odd points during the movie. It was a nice touch. I remember having wanted to see it when it came out, and then when I didn’t, it became a situation of “out of sight, out of mind.” So getting to see it now was like opening an unexpected Christmas present.

  3. hboseries Says:

    Knock yourself out fellas:

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