This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Company (2003)

"Thinking about the movement is not becoming the movement."
-Alberto Antonelli.

Movies that are termed 'passion projects' often carry a greater risk of landing with a thud than being embraced as a timeless classic. For instance, Battlefield Earth (2000) is rightfully regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. Yet, I do feel a bit of sympathy for that film's star John Travolta because he fought & fought for years to get the film (based on the book of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard) green-lit. Perhaps it was this obsession to bring this film to the screen which blinded him to the fact that its focus on Scientology may not have given the story the across-the-board appeal that Star Wars (1977) generated.
But one passion project which turned out better is The Company, which focuses on the members of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet.
This movie was a long-time passion project for its star Neve Campbell, who plays company member Loretta "Ry" Ryan. Campbell, who began her career as a ballet dancer before making her mark as an actress, also co-produced and co-wrote this movie with Barbara Turner. Her success in the Scream films and Wild Things (1998) gave Campbell the clout needed to bring this story to the screen. She then achieved quite the coup by convincing the late, great Robert Altman to direct the film.
The movie itself is really a collection of scenes involving the company's various players (many of whom are appropriately played by real-life company members), including Ry, as they prepare for their show, under the guidance of company director Alberto Antonelli (Malcolm McDowell).
Ry later begins a romance with Josh Williams (James Franco), who is not a dancer himself but is supportive of Ry, especially when an injury forces her to back out of a performance. Franco also gets the film's sweetest moment at the end, when he brings flowers to Ry backstage while quickly going to his knees as the dancers onstage bow to the applause of the audience.
I've heard many people say that people who have never been waiters will gain a whole new level of appreciation for them if they spent just one day in that field. It didn't take me long to agree with that sentiment because I worked a few years in the restaurant industry myself.
On that same note, I'd like to think that this film will show people that ballet dancing is certainly more complex than it may appear to some. This film's Wikipedia page probably said it best when it says that this movie shows how ballet dancers put hardship and dedication into their art, even though doing so may not necessarily make them rich and famous.

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