The Millbrooker Towers film appreciation quintet met again last night for a viewing of Hal Ashby's 1979 Oscar winner "Being There".
It's a film I'd often heard people rave about, and it seems to have something of a cult following on the internet with a site devoted to quotations from the film (thanks to Frankenkeith for the tip on that one), and many film sites praising it to the skies.
Well, it was a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours, but overall I found it rather lacking in any real depth. It's almost as if Ashby couldn't really decide whether to let Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine off the comedic leash and play it for laughs or to keep the whole thing tight and go for the underplayed social satire angle.
In the end, the film ends up as neither and consequently becomes unsatisfying on both counts, although I did get a few decent giggles. The script and the performances have some of the elements of greatness, but somehow just seem to fall short of the mark. Sellers was nominated for Best Actor in the academy awards for his portrayal of Chance the gardener; Melvyn Douglas as Ben Rand a billionaire political "player" who takes Chance to be a philosophical guru won the best supporting actor award - so it impressed the people who matter in the film industry; perhaps I just missed something.
The highlight of the evening for those of a Millbrookian persuasion probably came as Shazzerooneypoos received her award for supplying bed and board for Lizzie when we had visitors. It was one of those "saw this and thought of you" awards.