I lived in Montana for two whole years before getting around to seeing either Legends of the Fall or A River Runs Through It, both of which feature Montana (hence this post) and Brad Pitt (weird coincidence, not sure why). A River Runs Through It is good, but not in a way that I want to make fun of. Legends of the Fall, however... Many, many people love the absolute crap out of this film, and though I didn't hate it, I also didn't really like it, so now I'mma tell you why.
The premise of the movie, based on Jim Harrison's novella, is that there's this family of dudes that live in BFE* Montana. Youngest Brother, who has been off in college at Haaavaaahhd, brings home Lovely Fiancé, who is all Lovely and Britishy and Fancy and Stuff and for whom older brothers (pre-politician brother, and Brad Pitt of the Smoldering Glances and Glorious Locks) develop immediate crushes for.
|You can tell it's Montana because of the mountains that I drew.|
It's clear, at this point, where this movie is going: bro-fight, love quadrangle, family tussle, lots of heavy breathing, eventual reconciliation, yada yada, OPA!! Wedding.
Cool. I can hang. I read the romancey novels. I like the romancey movies. This should be interesting and fun to watch in a Twilight-meets-Big-Sky kind of way.
This is where books-turned-film so often go so very wrong: they try to fit in everything, all those little page-long plot twists and intricate character developments that leave the reader feeling happily sated and the movie version viewer feeling a little like punching someone. Because there's no way you can fit it all in (Harry Potter. I think I've made my point) and you shouldn't try, because it is tedious. And ridiculous.
Case in point: Legends goes from a romance with aforementioned brothers and Main Love Interest to...
... this whole other series of movie subplots. Everyone plays some badminton and then there's a war and Youngest Brother is all YEAH LET'S DO THIS SHIT and then for some reason all the brothers are enlisting in the next scene, leaving Main Love Interest back in BFE on the farm with her future father-in-law (because that's not awkward) and Brad Pitt isn't forced to cut his Glorious Locks off in the army (um.) and then Youngest Brother gets seriously effing killed like a LOT and then Brad Pitt goes all Inglorious Basterds on the Germans and comes back with a damn pack of scalps (um?) and Youngest Brother's (literal) heart (ew) and he's all guilty about said brother's death even though YB was the one who convinced everyone to sign up in the first place and WE'RE STILL IN THE FIRST 48 MINUTES OF THE MOVIE HERE.
And then everyone goes home and Other Brother proposes to Main Love Interest who's all: umm, srsly? NO. But at least she says it with a fancy accent, and then it's Brad's turn to go all googly over her but apparently he's a commitment-phobe and still all hopped up on GUILTOMAX about Youngest Brother being dead and all, so he just leads her on and then goes bonkers again and smokes some opium on a boat. And then Anthony Hopkins has a stroke. And then everyone marries someone else.
And then everyone dies and Brad Pitt wrestles a damn bear.
The weirdest part of that last (bear wrestling) scene is the voiceover describing it as a good death, accompanied by a super epic flute/violin combo and all I can think (through the hilarity, because srsly– death by grizzly is good? What, pray tell, would a bad death be?) is that if I was trying to fight off a fricking grizzly and someone was playing a flute nearby that I'd probably request that they please desist because it's very distracting.
After 2 plus hours I've sat through the movie feeling more and more like I'm watching a soap, thinking how it's going to be really hard to pull this whole train wreck of a film together to make it satisfying by the end, and I think the director realized the same thing and that's why he's all: let's kill Brad Pitt with a bear.
All in all, it's pretty. So is Montana. Brad Pitt is glorious. Also, he dies. Death by bear. The end.
Movie: fail. Moving on.
*BFE: The middle of nowhere. Aka Montana. Where I live!! Yay.