Film North Discussion

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04:27:40 PM Oct 8th 2010
edited by DocStrange
  • Archive of material removed from main page for being too review-y. If anyone wants to make a review from it that 1) Makes sense and 2) fits the 400-character limit, the raw material's waiting here even if it's fallen off the edit history.***

North is a 1994 "comedy" film directed by Rob Reiner, and starring Elijah Wood, Bruce Willis, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jon Lovitz, Dan Aykroyd, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Abe Vigoda, Alan Arkin, John Ritter, Graham Greene and even a young Scarlett Johansson in a minor role. The story is based on the novel North by Alan Zweibel, who also wrote the screenplay and has a minor role in the film.

An 11-year-old boy named North (Wood) tires of his parents (Alexander and Dreyfus), who never pay any attention to him even though he's a model student, athlete, and even actor. He legally emancipates himself from them, and wanders around the world seeking a new family with a deadline of Labor Day; if he doesn't find a new family by then, he will be placed in an orphanage. Along the way, he encounters parents that are Texan, Alaskan, Hawaiian, Amish, etc, and tries to blend in with each group of parents (well, not the Amish). He finally decides that his own parents are the best with the help of a guardian angel (Willis) who uses several guises throughout the film. However a conniving kid friend of his, Winchell, used the publicity North's escapades garnered to rally kids everywhere to make their parents more subservient to them. Knowing that North reconciling with his parents would undermine this, he plots to have him killed...

Response to the film was overwhelmingly negative. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both named North as the worst film of 1994 and as of June 2009, it is Reiner's only film that is not available on DVD (mostly due to copyright issues). Today, the film is most remembered for Ebert's infamously brutal review (a published collection of his negative reviews was even titled I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie) and for permanently ending Rob Reiner's winning streak which had included such late 80's/early 90's film classics as Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally..., Misery and This Is Spın̈al Tap. Reiner would never make anything nearly as good again.

Strangely, the book of the film was much better-received. It also deviates from the movie at nearly every point, which might explain that.

Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The over-the-top musical number sung by Ma and Pa Tex, set to the tune of the Bonanza Title Theme Tune.
  • Broken Aesop: The film's message is ostensibly about the value of family and accepting one's parents. It does nothing to convince the audience that North had any logic in going back to them.
  • Crapsack World: Everyone in the movie aside from (arguably) North, his mentor figure, and the whitebread family he's with are boorish, insensitive, loud, selfish, ethnocentric, and incapable of showing sincerity towards their own deceased family members.
    • And arguably, none of them are really that much better.
  • Creator Killer: After this film, Reiner's directorial career plummeted. While Your Mileage May Vary on Academy Award-nominated Ghosts of Mississippi and The American President, the rest just stunk.
    • Ironically, one of the final lines in Ebert's review is "But it is not by a bad filmmaker, and must represent some sort of lapse from which Reiner will recover".
(under Gary Stu:*** Not to mention that the lesson was "your parents aren't evil just because they aren't your goddamn cheerleaders".
Unfortunate Implications: What half the attempts at humor are - but what really takes the cake is the fact that the only nice, normal family North visits is an American, white, upper/middle-class, suburban nuclear family. The movie seems to realize what it's doing at this point, since he rejects them as well.
  • Dethroning Moment of Suck: Critical Research Failure aside, the depiction of Eskimo families being so indolent towards murdering their parents that there is a theme park-like business for it is so shockingly tasteless and sadistic that even fans of the movie try to forget about it.
  • Did Not Do The Research: The parents in the places that North visits do not act like the people from those places.
    • Particularly, Eskimos sent off the old and weak on ice floes only during times of famine and only as a last resort, nor have they done this for centuries — the Nostalgia Critic was mighty upset about this. Also, igloos have never been used as places of permanent residence.
    • "Here, loosen his pants!"
  • So Bad It's Horrible: According to the quoted reviewers, and heavily skewered at Reiner's Friar's Club roast. In fact, at one point, Reiner was forced to read the very same Ebert quote as listed above, and after doing so, said "You know, if you read between the lines, I don't think it's that bad."
  • So Bad It's Good: A few people see the film as this as well.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: When this troper heard the joke "The defense rests," I laughed my ass off. Not because it was funny, but because I thought it was hilarious that someone actually thought that was a decent joke, since it includes a beat to give the audience time to laugh.
    • "The only barren place on the island is... Mrs. Ho". I'm a horrible person. It was so wrong, I had to laugh.

"I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

"Damn. That is harsh."
The Nostalgia Critic, after hearing the above rant.

This is not talking about the direction North, by the way. Actually, if the above quotes are any indication, things will be going south if related to this movie.
  • Wall Banger: Among many items, if North is so smart, how come he can't see through the "We don't want Hugh" video?
04:30:18 PM Oct 8th 2010
Put it on a subjectives page.
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